Passive Guy received a warning about a new British site that makes it easy for indie authors to publish and distribute their work. The name of the site is Autharium.
The warning was about Autharium’s terms of service. Following are some excerpts from the Terms and Conditions:
1.1 By submitting your Work to Autharium and accepting these Terms & Conditions, you grant to Autharium the exclusive right and licence to produce, publish, promote, market and sell your Work in any Digital Form (as defined in paragraph 1.4 below) in all languages throughout the world for the entire legal term of copyright (and any and all extensions, renewals and revivals of the term of copyright).
1.2 You agree that Autharium shall also be entitled to license retailers, distributors, agents, licensees, sub-contractors and other third parties to exercise the rights you have granted to Autharium under this Agreement.
. . . .
13.1 You may remove your Work from sale on the Website and by all our retailers, distributors, agents and other third party sellers by emailing Autharium at firstname.lastname@example.org. Within 90 days of receiving your email, Autharium will remove your Work from sale on the Website and request all our retailers, distributors, agents and other third party sellers to remove your Work from sale. If you wish to re-enable Autharium and our retailers, distributors, agents and other third party sellers to sell your Work you can re-enable sales by emailing Autharium at email@example.com.
13.2 Please note that your removal of your Work from sale in accordance with paragraph 13.1 above will not terminate this Agreement nor cause the exclusive digital publishing rights that you have granted to Autharium pursuant to paragraph 1 above to revert to you. You maintain copyright of the Work at all times.
13.3 If you wish to sell your Work in any Digital Form through any other publisher, distributor or means then you will need to contact Autharium firstname.lastname@example.org to agree transfer of the digital publishing rights to your Work.
Link to the rest at Autharium Publishing terms and Conditions for Authors and thanks to Catherine for the tip.
Yes, the excerpted language does mean what it says.
By distributing your book through Authariam, you are giving Authariam exclusive world-wide ebook rights to your book for the full term of the author’s copyright, which PG is informed is the author’s life plus 70 years under British copyright law. British law governs this contract.
You can remove your book from Authariam, but Authariam still owns world-wide rights.
To make certain there is no mistake, we have Paragraph 13.3 which explicitly says that if you decide you would rather distribute your ebook with Amazon under its KDP program or with Barnes & Noble under Pubit or if a big New York publisher offers you a seven-figure advance for your book, you will have to persuade Authariam to release its contract claim. Undoubtedly, this will require that the author pay Authariam some pounds sterling to gain the release.
PG would appreciate comments from those with knowledge of UK law as to the enforceability of contract provisions PG believes to be unconscionable in the context of an online click-contract (sometimes called “click-through agreements,” “click and accept” or “web-wrap” agreements.
To the best of PG’s knowledge, this is the first online distribution service that includes such nasty contractual traps for the unwary author. Unfortunately, he suspects it will not be the last.