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Old 01-12-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
anurag
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How Not To Negotiate for Digital Rights (Scholarly Kitchen)

A good post arguing where publishers are going wrong when they claim ownership of digital rights of backlist titles, posted partly in response to the much discussed NYT op-ed by Jonathan Galassi.

http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2...igital-rights/

Excerpt:

Quote:

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And this is what Galassi misses. He correctly notes that a publisher (in this case, Random House) will, among other things, introduce an author’s work to magazines and newspapers for publicity and rights sales, but doesn’t see the parallel universe that authors hope to participate in and e-books are ideally suited for. This is the online world, where not all of a publishers’ connections are the cozy ones around a midtown Manhattan lunch table. In an essay about digital editions of Styron’s work, there is not a single reference to Google or Twitter, though there is a plea that print will not die. An author or an estate may justly ask whether the publisher that worked so hard to bring a book into the world is the right entity to steward a book through cyberspace.

And so in the end Galassi’s argument rests on the high holy ground of moral rights, whereas authors and their heirs occupy the low ground of economic interest. We should not be surprised to see such an argument in the opinion pages of the New York Times, which increasingly has only its moral authority to rely on.

Or Galassi—and Random House—could change the story. Instead of talking about editorial prowess, the argument could be about online marketing, the building of an online community, the monetization opportunities of the author’s specially prepared Web site, the ability to monitor Web traffic and user activity through private administrative accounts, and the inventive management of the emerging online value chain. I hope Galassi is successful in winning the hearts of authors and their agents, but I would put more effort into appealing to their sense of themselves.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:46 PM   #2
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I disagree with both articles. Galassi's position is the publishers are entitled to produce or to a cut of the profits of ebooks, and Esposito's position is that the publisher has a moral claim but not a legal claim. I don't believe publishers have either a moral claim or a legal claim on the authors work in regards to ebooks.

Bloomsbury was the original publisher of J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, but that doesn’t entitle them to Rowlings’ profits from the Harry Potter movies — legally or morally. Likewise, publishers have no legal or moral claim on ebooks, which didn’t even exist when authors contracted with the publishers in the first place.
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