This template is designed for use in circumstances where the publisher will benefit from a copyright assignment, and the author will be paid a fee, rather than a royalty. The fee payable to the author under this agreement can be split up, paid in instalments, and made subject to the author meeting particular deadlines.
Assignment vs licence
All author contracts contain either a licence of copyright or an assignment of copyright. Some kinds of book publishers (e.g. trade publishers) usually take a licence of copyright from their authors, while other kinds (e.g. many educational, professional and academic publishers) demand an assignment of copyright. A licence of rights is a permission to do things that would otherwise infringe those rights; whereas an assignment of rights is a transfer of ownership of those rights. Notwithstanding this stark distinction, an exclusive licence of rights can be so broad that its effect is similar to an assignment of rights. Perhaps the key difference between the licences and assignments in our template author contracts is that, upon termination of the agreement, licensed rights will revert to the author, while assigned rights will remain with the publisher.
Our this author contract comes in three sizes: premium, standard and basic. The standard author contracts contain all the provisions of the basic document, with certain additions; similarly, the premium author contracts contain all the provisions of the standard document, with certain additions.
In addition to the provisions in the basic agreement, the standard agreement includes optional provisions providing for:
- joint or multiple authors;
- the preparation of an index;
- more detailed treatment of the parties' responsibilities;
- revisions of the work;
- new editions of the work;
- remainders (where appropriate);
- licences to the Copyright Licensing Agency;
- ownership of IP in titles;
- termination in the event that a work goes out-of-print (in appropriate cases); and
- contractual notices.
In addition to the provisions in the standard agreement, the premium author agreement includes optional provisions providing for:
- rules governing infringement actions where the copyright in the work has been infringed;
- limitations of liability protecting the publishers;
- an option over future works by the author;
- payments to authors' agents;
- termination upon the change of control of the publishers;
- alternative dispute resolution; and
- the marketing of the work.
The premium template also include an index.