Authors, Publishers & Moral Rights

March 2011

In the copyright-intensive world of publishing, having appropriate documentation in place is essential. To ensure that both authors and publishers are treated equitably, each step in the life of a literary work should be documented with care.

March 2011 sees the release of an all-new Author’s Commissioning Agreement from Simply-docs. This new contract template is designed for use by publishers who wish to commission an author to write an original literary work. Under the terms of the agreement, the copyright and other rights in the commissioned work are to be licenced to the publisher on an exclusive basis. The licence granted by the agreement can be limited either to a specific territory or can apply throughout the world. Similarly, the term of the licence can be limited to a defined period or can apply for the full period of copyright (author’s life + 70 years).

The comprehensive terms of the Author’s Commissioning Agreement govern each stage of the development of the literary work, setting out milestones from the delivery of the initial outline through the submission of the typescript and editing to the final publishing of the work. Comprehensive provisions are included in order to govern royalties.

Moral Rights

Essential to the creators of many different copyright works is the issue of moral rights. Arising out of Chapter IV of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”), this set of rights exists principally to safeguard the integrity of authors and their work by ensuring that the author of a work is identified and that the work is not subjected to derogatory treatment. These rights are known broadly as the paternity right and the integrity right.

The right to be identified, arising out of Section 77 of the CDPA must be asserted (under Section 78) in order to take effect. A new letter template has been created for this purpose.

Moral rights cannot be assigned. Therefore, if an author does not wish to avail himself of them, they should be waived. Two new letter templates have been created for this purpose. The first is designed to be used by the author; the second is designed for use in situations where the author has died and his or her personal representatives wish to waive moral rights.

Coming Soon

These documents mark the advent of a new suite of templates for Simply-docs specifically designed for authors, publishers and those in other creative sectors. Further documents will be published in the coming months.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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