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RE: Interesting analysis of Google/publisher/author settlement

Publishing contracts typically define what "out of print" means, 
and though definitions may differ from one contract to another, 
they all provide a process for reversion, so that if an author 
takes the affirmative step of requesting the publisher to do a 
new printing and the publisher does not do so within a time 
period defined by the contract, then the publisher is obliged to 
revert the rights to the author. The situation the bookseller was 
describing is, in the industry, usually called temporarily or 
indefinitely out of stock. It may be that some publishers use 
this as a ruse for making it appear that a decision has not been 
made to declare the book out of print, but publishing contracts 
provide procedures for authors to call the publisher's bluff, if 
that is what it is.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>I remember many years ago talking with the owner of a local (now
>gone) Little Professor bookstore. He recounted the story of one
>of the major book suppliers putting in an order for all of the
>"in print" books available - and was subsequently astounded that
>less than 1/4 of the space he had allotted was filled.  "out of
>print" does not mean released - many publishers never declare a
>publication out-of-print, just not currently available.  If they
>say otherwise, they may have to settle up - at least that was the
>implication by the owner.
>Patricia J Erwin aka "Pat"
>Head Reference Librarian
>Assistant Professor of Medical Education
>Mayo Clinic Libraries
>From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu on behalf of Sandy Thatcher
>Sent: Fri 11/14/2008 5:03 PM
>To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
>Subject: Re: Interesting analysis of Google/publisher/author settlement
>Sherman makes two incorrect assumptions: 1) that once a publisher
>declares a book out of print, the rights automatically revert to
>the author; and 2) that registration is required to protect a
>copyright in a work. Neither is true. Many, probably most,
>publishing contracts require an affirmative action on the part of
>the author to acquire rights back; the process is by no means
>automatic. Thus it is quite possible for many publishers to
>retain copyright in books that have gone OP. And ever since the
>1976 Copyright Act did away with formalities like registration as
>a requirement to protect copyright (as opposed to being entitled
>to certain additional remedies), books that have gone out of
>print that had never been registered are still entitled to the
>basic copyright protect the 1976 law provides.
>Let's hope that such commentary on the Google settlement will not
>muddy the waters further by being ill informed.
>Sandy Thatcher
>Penn State University Press
>P.S. For librarians, this is a more reliable guide:
>>Sherman, Eric. Google Wades into E-Mud with E-Books; Settlement
>>with Publishers May Not Be Valid. http://tinyurl.com/5ztxeh
> >
> >Bernie Sloan
> >Sora Associates
> >Bloomington, IN