Thursday, May 13, 2010

Calling Torvill and Dean

Electronically Read Editions: The right to publish the text of published print editions of the Property via the Internet and in the form of CD-ROM, DVD, videocassette tape or similar electronically read devices individually purchased by the end-user. Such electronically read editions may not contain moving visual images (other than the text) or audio tracks of any kind.

Look at that last sentence. Here it’s clearly stated in the film contract that the ebook cannot have any animation or sound element.

Well, guess what publishers would like to have with an enhanced ebook? Yep. We’ve got a problem, Houston. If publishers dig in on this and this is the studio’s stance, well, granting a publisher a not-clearly-defined enhanced ebook right (which is multimedia) could derail a film deal.

Kristin Nelson talks about problems with enhanced e-books on Pubrants.

As a writer I think this is a bit much.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the vast majority of books don't get film deals; of the handful that do get optioned, most don't get made into films.

One of the great things about e-books is that there's the chance of offering something like a DVD: in addition to the published book, all sorts of ancillary material can be included. All authors could benefit from this. It's silly for all authors to be denied the chance to pursue this to respect the sensibilities of the movie industry.

People in the movie industry love to tie up every right known to man. Stuffed toy rights. Ice show rights. Theme restaurant rights. (Those of you familiar with The Last Samurai may not have spotted the potential in the book for an ice show; well, a visionary lawyer at William Morris saw further than you. The man stood his ground: under no circumstances could Helen DeWitt be deprived of this lucrative source of income.) Whether publishers should be granted enhanced e-book rights I don't know. But they should not be allowed to affect movie deals. If push comes to shove, I'd rather appease the movie people with the stuffed toy, ice show and theme restaurant rights.

No comments: