Saturday, March 3, 2012

France and Copyrights

Just because this applies to me now and not you doesn't mean it might not apply to you in the future.

Years ago Atheneum made a deal on the rights to my first book, Ride A Proud Horse (yeah I know it's a stupid title, mine was Higher and Wider) and later Charlie (Dream Horse) to a French company, Castor Poche.  Some years ago when both books, and the other 6, were out of print, I asked for the rights to revert back to me and Atheneum was happy to do so.

Now I see Castor Poche is under the impression these are still their books and have made new versions.

Stupid Cover, that never happened

What do I care?  It's France.  It's a long way from here.  Paperbacks.  I have other things to do, they won't sell that much anyway.

Wait.  Now I learn that France has rewritten/restructured their copyright law so that any book not being commercially distributed in France that was once published in France is fair game to be digitized.

Hey, Charlie is digitized in France now.  Yes in English but I don't want them competing against me.  I actually don't want them making money and not paying me, because they didn't pay me for the 2 books you can see.

Can I afford to hire a lawyer and fight this?  Not really.  Can I afford not to?  Not really.  Do I know what the contract with Atheneum said?  No.  Maybe I had to ask Castor Poche for the rights back, too.  And the company in Germany, as well.

We are about to enter a quagmire of international rights where every country has different laws.  If you have no backlist, you won't have a problem with this.  But if you do and you ever had anything published in another country--good luck.

No comments: