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Re: Publisher contracts

>The one I received gave the publisher all rights forever in any format and
>assumed no liability for responsibility concerning the original materials
>submitted.  In addition to the expected no payment provided for doing
>their work the contract does not even incorporate a copy of the finished
>work for me!  Needless to say, my revisions were extensive.
>While I know from experience that the typical contract gives all the good
>stuff to the publisher and any potential negatives to the provider of the
>material, I wonder what experiences people have had with such matters.

I am in the process of writing a book review for the GBW Newsletter on
"Business and Legal Forms for Crafts" by Tad Crawford. While there is
nothing specifically that covers this situation, this book will give you a
good idea of the issues involved and the information that should be in a
contract to protect your own interests. In general, artists are often
presented with contracts written by the client's lawyers that gives
unreasonable rights to the publisher, agent, gallery, etc., with the
expectation that the artist will have no knowlege or ability of contracts
and negotiating.  You should know that EVERYTHING is negotiable. It sounds
like this contract gives you no rights or protections at all. You
especially want to negotiate for limited reproduction rights--as limited as
possible. There is no reason to give away future reproduction rights.
Someone should pay dearly for this. Another good resouce for contracts,
pricing and ethical information is the Graphic Artists Guild. They are a
national organization with a number of regional chapters. One of their main
aims is to assist artists in protecting themselves from abusive practices
by providing information on acceptable business practices. They publish
'The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook--Pricing and Ethical Guidelines"--now
in its 9th edition. Check out their web site at: http://www.gag.org/, or
the above book by Tad Crawford. And finally, every negotiation does not
have to end in a deal. If the terms are unacceptable, you always have the
option of taking your work and walking away.

In connection with this review, I am curious to know how many folks have
used contracts (or wish they had), or find them unnecessary. You may reply
to me off- or on-list.

Many thanks,

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