Whether you’re an author creating original works, or a publisher making these works accessible to the public, you have legal rights that you’ll want to protect.

One of the main ways to do this is by having a Publishing Agreement in place.

A Publishing Agreement is a contract between a publisher and the artist or author. It sets out things like intellectual property ownership, where and when the work can be published, payment terms, liability protections, confidentiality and royalties.

Why Do I Need A Publishing Agreement?

If you are the artist or author releasing the work, a Publishing Agreement can protect the soul of your business, your intellectual property. A Publishing Agreement is a form of licensing agreement, which states how your work is used, for how much money, and for how long. It’s important to have these terms in a formal agreement, as an artist’s work can often be licensed out for years, so the financial repercussions are lengthy. 

It’s equally important to have a Publishing Agreement in place if you are the publisher, as often a publisher will put money up front as an advance, in return for a certain amount of works to be released over time. Publishers also need to ensure they are not breaching intellectual property rights, by being clear on what the scope of the arrangement is.

For instance, a publisher may want to use an artists full album or just one of their songs, or one book or an entire series. 

Another really important reason for both the publisher and artist to have an agreement in writing is to avoid costly disputes, and to know what is expected of each party well in advance.

To sum it up, this contract sets out the arrangement that both parties agree on. That’s why it’s a good idea to have one in place, no matter which side of the arrangement you are on.

What’s Included In A Publishing Agreement?

The specific details of what’s included in a Publishing Agreement will depend on the work being published, the publishing company and the purpose of publishing. 

Some things that are generally covered include clauses about:

  • Timing: When will the work be published?
  • Medium: How the work will be published (e.g. will it be in a hardcopy book or is it for an online publication)?
  • Quantity: How many copies will be made available?
  • Payment and Royalties: Will the author be entitled to royalties? How will they be shared between the author and the publisher?
  • Liability protections: Who is responsible if things go wrong?
  • Intellectual property ownership: Who owns the intellectual property in the final deliverable? And who owns all the IP used before and after the project?
  • Confidentiality: Is there anything that needs to be kept confidential between the parties?
  • Term and termination: How long does the contract go for? How do you get out of it?

Need Help?

Here at Sprintlaw, our intellectual property and contract lawyers have helped many creative businesses with the contracts that are integral to their business. We focus on simple, modern and easy to understand drafting so that both sides understand the contract.

You can reach out to us at team@sprintlaw.com.au or contact us on 1800 730 617 for free, no obligation chat.

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