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iPublish - Time Warner Contract Alert
by Lee Masterson

***Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from a warning that was sent out from the SFWA!***

Contract Alert

The Authors Guild has issued a warning regarding the contracts offered by iPublish, a division of Time Warner's publishing arm. iPublish is a creator of e-books, and has tilted its advertising toward aspiring, unpublished writers. The terms of its contract, however, seem designed to exploit those aspirants' inexperience. Troublesome elements of its contract include:

1. The claim that submission of a manuscript constitutes agreement to all terms of the standard contract in advance.

2. No advance paid, and royalties pegged at 25% of net sales (an amount considered quite low for e-books) in virtually all cases.

3. The claim of exclusive rights to all means of delivering digital content for the work, including audio books, print-on-demand, and any digital media invented in the future.

4. An exclusive option on a print version of the book, with advance capped at $5000 and the right to match any other publisher's offer, even after in-house negotiations fail.

5. First claim on the author's next work, including in print form even if the first work never came out on paper, with advance capped at the amount of royalties of the first e-book, or $5000 for a paper release.

6. Time Warner's right to settle any legal claims (such as libel) brought against the work, and to bill the author for the cost of settlement plus legal fees.

Anyone remotely interested in dealing with iPublish is strongly urged to study the entirety of the contract (available at iPublish's website) before submitting anything. Of course, we professionals are generally on guard against such contracts: it is unpublished hopefuls at greatest risk, and a few cautionary words to one's writing-minded friends may be in order.


Of course, this alone was enough to pique my curiousity. A fellow Shark-hunter, Natalie, stumbled across the news that publishing company, LittleBrown, had rejected one hopeful writer.

This news in itself is not amazing, I know. However, their rejection letter included a referral to iPublish-Time Warner. A simple "search" on a popular search engine shows us that LittleBrown's site is a division of the publishing giant Time Warner.

This smells a little fishy to this writer. Please be wary where you send your manuscripts, and be sure to read all terms, conditions and contracts VERY carefully.

As always, this article will be updated as soon as we have more information.

And remember...
Money Flows TO the Author - Never the Other Way Around!

Copyright 2001 Lee Masterson.


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