Friday, April 15, 2011

Where “In Perpetuity” Might Come Back…

STATUS: It’s Friday! This would be more exciting if I didn’t have plans to work all weekend. Need to catch up from being away the week prior.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? JEALOUS OF THE MOON by Nickel Creek

And bite you in the a**.

Not to be a downer on the Friday but a lot of authors are super excited about getting their rights reverted and then being able to digitally publish those titles themselves.

By all means, I’m certainly not opposed but you might want to check that agency agreement you signed before you run out and do that.

For the record, Nelson Literary Agency does not hold author rights into perpetuity but I know of a lot of agencies that do.

At NLA, our client agreement clearly states that if we sell the author’s book, it’s for the full term of the publishing agreement. When the book is out of print, publishing contract ends, all rights revert to the author with no further obligation to us.

But we are the minority. I know a lot of agencies that have “in perpetuity” language that they will be the agency of record for life of the property—regardless of whether that title is currently under a publication contract or not.

In short, what this means is that even if all rights to a title has reverted to you from the publisher, and even if you are no longer with that agent or agency, if you signed an agency agreement separate from the publication contract that has an “in perpetuity” clause and that agreement is still in force, you owe the agency of record monies for your self-pubbed digital sales.

Yep, that would suck. So, review any and all agency agreements you signed and if necessary, consult an attorney if it is in question before posting to digital distribution sites.