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Negotiating Author-Friendly Publication Agreements

Copyright transfer

This section can also be called "assignment of rights." It lists the specific rights to be transferred from the author to the publisher. This can include:

  • the right to some or all of the bundle of rights included in copyright
  • the right to use the author's name, picture, biographical information, etc.
  • a lack of restrictions on the publisher's rights to use the work, including for language, format and geography
  • the publisher's right to use or authorize others to use those copyrights
  • the exclusivity or lack of exclusivity of the transfer of these rights
  • whether the work is subject to any prior rights or contracts from other parties
  • the publisher's right to enforce copyright against other parties 
  • specifics about what is included in the right being transferred

This section also outlines any rights the publisher grants back to the author - essentially any uses the author will be able to legally make of the work outside of Fair Use stipulations.

Representations/warranties and indemnification

This section lists the promises ("representations" or "warranties" in legal terms) that the author makes to the publisher regarding the work. For example:

  • that the work is original
  • that the work has not been published elsewhere
  • that excerpts from other works are used legally
  • that nothing libelous is contained in the work
  • that there is no conflict of interest involved
  • that the author speaks for any co-authors
  • wording that the author indemifies or holds the publisher harmless in case of problems