Monday, September 5, 2011

Contract Law for Indie Authors

Ellis Island Boat Seems Right for Indie Authors Inventing New Modes in the New World
copyright © Caroline Gerardo 2011

Contract law for indie authors:

I believe in understanding how things operate from the ground up.
I am working on two book projects that involve writing contracts.  Allow me to chat about each issue in vague terms as the parties have not all come to the table and finished their after dinner drinks, or poison potions - whatever the result may end.

One project is for an interactive poetry book. The publisher wants me to sign two clauses that I have struggled with for more than a month. First they want me to assume any and all legal liability in the event if or when I am sued. Second they want to serve notice to certain person(s) who have borrowed, profited from, stolen, and sold my copyrighted and trademarked work product. In the first stage of this process I attempted to get "model release" forms from some twenty persons in my life whom I may or may not have written fiction,  yes fiction, protected by the First Amendment, or fictional pieces similar to events in my past.

I have in hand eighteen of the nineteen release forms signed and witnessed. This may or may not cover me should I decide when I am a movie starfish to write a memoir. (I'm not writing a memoir - that is a joke.) The one release I do not have in hand is from the most contentious, litigious, and steal some party.

I have little faith in our legal system. No offense intended to my sister and brother who both practice law. My experience with attorneys is more cordial than my memory of dentists.
I looked into bonding around the issue, but the cost is HUGE. Weighing my possible profits of a poetry hardbound against the dollar amount of annual insurance makes the deal impossible.

Secondarily they want me to  sign an agreement to continue to keep the softwear, technical process and mastermind company name silent.  This is fine with me, but I countered for the E and O insurance to be paid by the publisher. No answer back to date.

If I had an agent who comes across agreements every single day, I would be in a better position to make my best practices choice. What did the Cowardly Lion say, "I do believe in agents?"

 I have read a number of Lexis Nexis cases now regarding First Amendment and have a good idea that if I was filed upon I would 99.9% likely win - but - the big bug on the pickle- legal fees are a terrible cost to pay.

There is another legal publishing question I have to pose to any writers who come upon this post. What klout can indie authors hold over the massive new numbers of torrent sites, stolen books of your copyrighted work? I am now on my third letter campaign with a new ( likely the same company owners) as the last one I found. What success have you had in getting the torrent site to 1. take it down 2. pay you for the loss and the profit they made from advertising and farming all those innocent souls who signed up giving private information to well, yes under the radar types.

I have good recommendations on the following attorneys :
I am thinking of setting up a website : We will help you for FREE to stop the book pirates.

Elaine P. English

Michael A. Kahn

Alan J. Kaufman

F. Robert Stein

Daniel N. Steven

David B. Wolf

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