Intellectual Property – an Indie minefield

Something to remember…

Meeka's Mind

I am in no danger of having my intellectual property [IP] diddled away by some corporation waving a contract, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch* is, and her latest post was scary to say the least. Here’s a short quote:

‘Those companies can all acquire IP from stupid writers for less than $10,000 per property forever. Just say the word “movie” or “TV” and most stupid writers give away their IP for free, in the hopes of having a movie or TV show made from their property. The property they no longer own, by the way.’

But the most terrifying part was this:

It doesn’t matter if your copyright is registered, the expert said. They’ll register anyway, even before they’ve started production on anything. The strategy is to create confusion over who owns the copyright, and it’ll take litigation to straighten that confusion out.

The bold emphasis is…

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10 thoughts on “Intellectual Property – an Indie minefield

  1. Thanks for sharing – this is an important article. And yeah, IP of any kind is a valuable commodity authors should NOT let go. Even standard industry publishing contracts actually license an astonishing quantity of IP rights to a single publisher: not just reissue but also comic adaptation, abridgement (‘Readers Digest’), audio, serialisation, etc, often with industry terms such as ‘one-shot’ which a novice author won’t necessarily understand) – and who may not wish to cancel the contract after the book’s gone out of print, thus preventing the author using the IP again. I was lucky; when I decided to pull out of further dealing with Penguin Random House they kindly agreed to cancel each contract I asked for. By this time they had 33 of my titles and I really didn’t want to lose control of my IP to that scale. And yeah, I know that some authors DREAM of publishing with PRH, and here I was cancelling every contract I had with them. I had my reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Matthew. The more I learn from successful authors like you and Kristine Katherine Rusch, the more grateful I am that I chose to go Indie. The traditional publishing industry is NOT what we all imagine it to be. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • The issue is to do with corporate scale; the larger the parent company, the less likely they are to value the business relationship with an individual author, particularly ‘mid-list’ or beginning writers. I’ve had an excellent – and ongoing – good association with the traditional industry at its smaller-scale end.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmm…I think that may be true of a lot of industries. There is a great difference between building something for yourself and building something for shareholders’ dividends.
          I’ve read good things about Baen but that’s the only company so far.

          Liked by 2 people


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