View Full Version : Who owns the electronic rights?

03-06-2007, 01:03 PM
Since there has been talk here of scanning pbooks that 1) have already been published, but 2) are not available as ebooks, I have been wondering who owns what rights. Is it the author or publisher? For instance, if I were to scan in a book published in paper format by publisher XYZ that was written by author ABC, could I legally scan the pbook, send the scanned version of the book to the author, and that author then legally sell the ebook?

Enquiring (sic) minds want to know! :uhoh2:

03-06-2007, 01:16 PM
It should be the copyright holder (which can be difficult to determine), and it will depend on what agreements or contracts have been applied to the whole mess: i.e. whether those contracts might be exclusive, specifically mention e-books, etc. I think the boilerplate copyright notice would cover e-versions too, you know "may not be reproduced, in part or in whole, without ...."

03-06-2007, 01:37 PM
A contract I just signed for a (non-fiction) book states that I retain copyright, which is fairly typical, but then I license my work to the publisher. As it happens, I have a non-exclusive contract. This isn't always the case. So even if the author holds copyright, they may have licensed all production exclusively to a particular publisher (or multiple publishers in different countries).

03-06-2007, 02:42 PM
As both NatCh and nekokami have said, it is all in the agreement between the author (or their agent) and the publisher. Sometimes it is restricted to only a pbook in a single country, sometimes it is all rights. Film rights are sometimes given, sometimes not. Many of the older contracts did not envision ebooks and their status is the domain of lawyers. ("If you have a problem, get a lawyer. You still have the problem; but, at leat now you've got a lawyer." -- Groucho Marx)

03-06-2007, 02:53 PM
And a bill, don't forget the bill. :wink: