SOLICITING MATERIAL FOR BOOKS
One frequently used technique for creating a book is to solicit contributions from the public. The author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series encourages his readers to submit stories for future books. Lisa Scottoline, a writer of crime novels, recently posted chapters of her new book on her website and invited readers to submit revisions.
Authors and publishers who use solicitations to get material for their books should keep the following in mind:
- The creator of the material submitted will be the owner of the copyright in that material. Therefore, it is imperative that the author or publisher obtain a written grant of rights to use the material. The rights granted should be broad enough to cover all anticipated uses, including foreign translations, electronic publishing, and film and other dramatic uses. Ideally, the author or publisher should obtain an assignment of the copyright and all other rights in the material.
- The author or publisher will be liable if the material defames any person or infringes on any copyright, right of privacy or other right. Accordingly, the author or publisher should carefully review the material before publication, and should obtain appropriate representations and warranties from the person submitting the material.
- In some cases, it may be desirable to use the name or other information relating to the person who submitted the material in the book or in the advertising for the book. Alternatively, the author or publisher may not want to be required to credit the submitter. In order to cover both of these bases, the contract with the person submitting the material should grant the author or publisher the right, but not the obligation, to use the submitter's name and relevant personal information.