ASA calls for fairer contracts in open letter to publishers
Australian Society of Authors (ASA) chair David Day and its new executive director Juliet Rogers have published an open letter to members of the Australian Publishers Association (APA) calling for fairer contract terms for authors.
The letter is part of a global movement in support of the ‘Ten Principles for Fair Contracts’ guidelines announced on 5 January by the International Authors Forum (IAF), which is pushing for publishers to revise their standard contract terms to make them more equitable for authors.
Citing the recent Macquarie University survey that found the average income of authors fell to $12,900 in 2015, Day and Rogers write that ‘unfair terms in publishing agreements contribute significantly to the plight of authors’, and that the full-time professional author will become an endangered species ‘unless publishers treat their authors more equitably’.
Day and Rogers are calling on publishers to revise their standard contract terms to include: defined time limits for contracts; fairer royalty rates and advances for authors, including at least 50% of ebook profits rather than 25% or less; more information on the rights that authors are giving away; easier access to rights that aren’t being used; removal of non-compete and option clauses that ‘make it difficult for [authors] to write and publish new books’; a commitment to produce works in accessible formats; more transparent and comprehensive royalty statements; an assertion of the author’s moral rights; the freedom for authors to develop their careers; clear delivery and acceptance terms; and an equal split of risk.
The ASA will be requesting meetings with publishers in the coming months to discuss these principles.
The IAF represents more than 300,000 authors through 50 author-member organisations. More information about the ‘Ten Principles for Fair Contracts’ can be found here.
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