HarperCollins vs. Open Road

In The January 11, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg tells us about HarperCollins and its upcoming battle with the e-publishing company, Open Road Integrated Media. At stake is a crucial question for all publishers: “…whether book contracts written before the digital age granted publishers digital rights, or whether those rights were retained by the author and could be sold to an e-publisher.” He says that as long ago as the mid-nineties, publishers were taking pains to add specific clauses that guarded their right to publish an author’s books as e-books. But what if they didn’t, and took it for granted that the contract automatically covered e-books? Authors who find themselves in this predicament are fighting for their right to some of the lucrative profits from the Great E-Book Revolution by trying to buy back the rights from their old publishers so that they can either self-publish online or sell their newly-acquired rights to an e-book publisher like Open Road. To read more background and details, go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203436904577153142705735660.html.

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