“Enhanced” E-Books Raise New Concerns

April 30, 2013


Eric S. Brown

Issues arise in author-publisher agreements.

With tablet computers growing in popularity, literary publishers now are seeking the right to include graphics and videos in “enhanced” electronic editions in publishing agreements with authors. This raises new issues for authors and their representatives to consider when negotiating a publishing agreement. One concerns the right of approval. Will the author have the right to approve new material that the author doesn’t supply? Liability is another issue: the author won’t want responsibility for claims that may arise from materials supplied by the publisher. An author also needs to avoid granting rights to the publisher that might interfere with the author’s ability to exercise reserved rights such as motion picture rights. For example, the publisher’s standard agreement might give it the unrestricted right to create and include audiovisual materials for an electronic book. So broad a grant likely would conflict with exclusive rights that a motion picture producer would require when obtaining motion picture rights. Ultimately, an author and his or her representatives will want to review carefully all rights agreements to ensure that no conflicting grants are made and that a grant of rights to one entity will not compromise other potential deals for the book. Please contact Eric Brown (ebrown@fwrv.com) for more information.