Thursday, March 19, 2009

Digital Rights

Publishers Weekly recently had an article about agent Robert Gottlieb who has been one of the leaders advocating for authors to retain digital and multimedia rights. He’s been fighting for that since the mid 1990s.
Gottlieb, as head of one of the most powerful New York agencies, used his leverage to make it clear that authors (and, by extension, their agents) weren't going to miss the boat.
Now, many years later and many changes in publishing later, Gottlieb seems to be still waging the fight.
When asked about the recent scuffle authors waged against Amazon regarding the text-to-speech option on the new Kindle 2, Gottlieb takes a familiar stance: “Companies can't eviscerate copyright.... They can't incorporate rights they don't have; if those things are allowed to happen, it only serves to deteriorate the industry as a whole.”
Gottlieb also believes, as many agents do, that renegotiation on e-book royalties is inevitable. Because it's cheaper for publishers to produce e-books—with the physical production and distribution removed from transactions—the “cost of doing business,” as Gottlieb puts it, is lower for publishers. This means “authors should share in that additional profit.”
Gottlieb dismisses the idea that publishing is dying.
The challenges ahead excite him—“I don't see [any of] this as the end; I see it as an ever-evolving adventure.”
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  1. God bless, Gottlieb. I've been complaining about this very subject in blog articles and writer's forums. It's wasteful and unnecessary for publishers to retain author's subsidiary rights when they're not going to use them. I recently turned down a contract for this very reason, along with the demand to own my mystery series for the life of the copyright. Bah humbug!

  2. It is refreshing to know that there are people like Gottlieb advocating for authors' rights.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  3. That brings many questions to mind regarding the new 'versions and formats' of books! Hope he keeps fighting!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  4. I like this guy! Love his positive "can-do" attitude.

  5. The world needs more people out there fighting for this kind of thing!! I definitely think that with all that's changing right now thanks to the internet, a reevaluation of former laws pertaining to copyright is necessary!

    Jenny Bean

  6. Totally digging what Gottlieb is saying!

  7. Lynnette Labelle "likes this". Okay, only Facebookers will get that, but still. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle

  8. I definitely agree. Without the authors, what would they be selling?

    Morgan Mandel

  9. And Gottlieb is a heavy hitter. And he's hitting for authors. I like that.

  10. Helen

    I'm having a blog party. Stop by if you get a chance.

  11. Hi Brooke. I heard about your blog party on another blog. It sounds exciting!


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