A Few Quick Tips about Literary Contracts

by Lori Branch, Esq
Randall & Sonnier, LLC

First…
It is ALWAYS important to make sure you read any contract that you are given. NEVER sign a contract without reading what you are signing. You should never feel pressured or forced to sign a contract immediately because more than likely there is something in the contract that is contrary to your interests in the long run. Remember, contract terms can ALWAYS be negotiated. As an author you can use negotiation to your advantage.

Second…
Once you have read the contract, write down on a separate sheet of paper, everything that you don’t understand, for example what rights will you actually keep as the author if you sign a publishing contract with a major publishing company? What rights are you giving up? What does copyright actually mean? These are all important questions that you must know before you sign away your money and rights to someone else. As a rule of thumb, contracts usually specify which rights the publisher is purchasing not the rights of the author!

Third…
It is up to you to find out and understand how all of your rights can and might be exploited. It is also up to you to understand the implications of what is written, not just the wording of each paragraph by itself. And finally, it is just as important to notice things that are not in your contract as it is for you to understand the terms which have been specified. The best way to do this is to consult with a lawyer. Take your sheet of paper with all of your questions to your lawyer. Lawyers write contracts, lawyers interpret contracts, and lawyers are the ones that advise you on how to protect your interests in a contract. Lawyers are a part of the investment that you are making with your literary work. Don’t let all of your hard work be taken by someone else because you didn’t contact a lawyer to protect yourself. Lawyers are an invaluable and crucial part of the literary world, use them!

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Change in Divorce Law

Effective October 1, 2011, parties who are separated continuously for 12 months can file for Absolute Divorce, even if the initial separation wasn’t voluntary.

Prior to October 1, if the ground for divorce wasn’t voluntary separation, desertion, adultery or cruelty then the parties had to wait 24 months prior to filing a complaint with the Court.

We will wait to see how many people will rush to the Courthouse with this new development in the law.

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