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Old 04-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #16
Aidan
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Maybe this is really obvious, but can someone please tell me why the author's are all fearing their book rights being tied up in the courts for years. Surely either

a) You are owed money from your contract that hasn't been paid, therefore the terms of the contract have been broken so the rights revert to the author straight away.

b) You're not owed money but your books are out of print due to the company going bust. As the books are out of print the rights revert to the author after the time specified in the contract (normally a couple of months).
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:48 PM   #17
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I wonder why Amazon and their 47North publishing division didn't come in and buy Night Shade.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
Maybe this is really obvious, but can someone please tell me why the author's are all fearing their book rights being tied up in the courts for years. Surely either

a) You are owed money from your contract that hasn't been paid, therefore the terms of the contract have been broken so the rights revert to the author straight away.

b) You're not owed money but your books are out of print due to the company going bust. As the books are out of print the rights revert to the author after the time specified in the contract (normally a couple of months).
The problem is that the rights are considered assets of the company, often the only assets, so the bankruptcy court gets to use them to pay off the creditors.

The company has to come out of bankruptcy before the authors can get anything, because until then, the courts control them.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:06 PM   #19
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I wonder why Amazon and their 47North publishing division didn't come in and buy Night Shade.
They might not've wanted to be seen as an "our business model is to be bought out by a bigger company" company.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:09 AM   #20
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They might not've wanted to be seen as an "our business model is to be bought out by a bigger company" company.
Too late for that. Just ask Ivona, Diapers.com, Zappos, and the dozens of other companies they've bought.
They have already bought at least one bankrupt publisher's catalog, too.
Skyhorse's bid apparently only works with the nastier contracts so maybe an amazon bid wouldn't be high enough to avoid liquidation. In which case they might try later, during the bankruptcy sale of assets.
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:39 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
a) You are owed money from your contract that hasn't been paid, therefore the terms of the contract have been broken so the rights revert to the author straight away.
I'm guessing that some of the authors need the money they are owed badly enough to consider a worse deal for part of it.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:06 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
Maybe this is really obvious, but can someone please tell me why the author's are all fearing their book rights being tied up in the courts for years. Surely either

a) You are owed money from your contract that hasn't been paid, therefore the terms of the contract have been broken so the rights revert to the author straight away.
Breach of contract does not trigger an automatic payment. Also, many authors aren't yet "owed but not paid" in a way that's a breach--they're just owed, and the company's allowed to take some time to pay them. The company has announced it doesn't have the money to pay them next quarter (or whatever), or their books are slated to be published in a few months (at which point, they're due the rest of their advance), but now there's no guarantee they'll be published at all.

The right to publish is an asset worth money. Sometimes, the only asset a bankrupt publisher has. Those assets are divided among creditors. The creditors usually include the authors--but they're probably owed a lot less than other companies, like the printer and distributor.

There is no nice simple legal precedent of "you owe the authors money; you have their rights to publish; how about we swap those."

Quote:
b) You're not owed money but your books are out of print due to the company going bust. As the books are out of print the rights revert to the author after the time specified in the contract (normally a couple of months).
One of the numbers I heard bouncing around for this case was "100 copies/year." If the company doesn't sell 100 copies in a year, the rights can revert (on request) to the author. So it takes a year of very low sales, followed by a request from the author, followed by a reply (some publishers drag their feet on this), to get verification of return of rights.

Reversion of rights depends on the specific contract.There are no industry standards.

The contract they're being offered is at Scribd.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:44 AM   #23
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Reversion of rights depends on the specific contract.There are no industry standards.
Dunno. Looks like there are: always go with worst business practices, and try to abuse authors whenever possible.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:41 AM   #24
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A little more from io9. Night Shade Books' would-be owners on their controversial deal: "We're the good guys".

10% of "net" using "Hollywood" or "Nashville" accounting will leave the authors owing money to the publisher.

Quote:
Hollywood accounting is not limited to movies. An example is the Warner Bros. television series Babylon 5 created by J. Michael Straczynski. Straczynski, who wrote 90% of the episodes in addition to producing the show, would receive a generous cut of profits if not for Hollywood accounting. The series, which was profitable in each of its five seasons from 1993–1998, has garnered more than US$1 billion for Warner Bros., most recently US$500 million in DVD sales alone. But in the last profit statement given to Straczynski, Warner Bros. claimed the property was $80 million in debt. "Basically," says Straczynski, "by the terms of my contract, if a set on a WB movie burns down in Botswana, they can charge it against B5's profits."
bernie

p.s.
I like the comment by Sharon Lee.

Last edited by gbm; 04-06-2013 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #25
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When Amazon bought the Dorchester Publishing books, they gave the authors a choice of the standard Amazon Publishing contract or getting their rights reverted:

http://paidcontent.org/2012/08/30/am...ct-dorchester/
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:00 PM   #26
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Those evil bastards.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #27
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Some comments from the Foglios who note that they can't even write any sequels during any bankruptcy proceedings.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:35 PM   #28
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Some comments from the Foglios who note that they can't even write any sequels during any bankruptcy proceedings.
AAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #29
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Skyhorse has been listening to comments and has altered what they're offering...

http://io9.com/a-better-deal-for-nig...hors-471411560
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:33 PM   #30
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Skyhorse has been listening to comments and has altered what they're offering...

http://io9.com/a-better-deal-for-nig...hors-471411560
Quote:
7 1/2 % of retail for all printing books.

25% of net receipts on all ebooks up to 15,000 copies sold and 30% thereafter
25% of "net" is not what I would call a better deal. "Net" is whatever the accounting dept says is "net".

Now if that was 25% of retail for ebooks then it would be better.

bernie
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