The HarperCollins Lawsuit: Keeping Authors Aboard As Traditional Publishing Sinks

The Misfortune Of Knowing

HarperCollins v. Open Road

In March, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, sitting in Manhattan, handed a victory to HarperCollins in its lawsuit against Open Road Integrated Media over the e-book publishing rights of Jean Craighead George’s award-winning children’s novel, Julie of the Wolves (1972). This “victory” for HarperCollins, however, highlights for authors one of the perils of pursuing the traditionally published route: desperate publishing corporations will stop at nothing to make sure “its” authors go down with the ship.

Let’s start with the facts of the case:

  • In 1971, author Jean Craighead George signed a contract with HarperCollins (then Harper & Row) to publish Julie of the Wolves “in book form” for a $2,000 advance (just over $11,000 in today’s dollars) and royalty payments between 10-15%.
  • Although the grant of publishing rights was in Paragraph 1, the contract also contained a provision (Paragraph 20) that said:…

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2 comments on “The HarperCollins Lawsuit: Keeping Authors Aboard As Traditional Publishing Sinks

  1. Hey Lee, Thanks for the reblog. I’ve forwarded it to Terry to have a look at, being that his area (while in practice) was primarily contracts. I’m one of the lucky underdogs who does have a family member who can read and understand the fine print ambiguities.

    Hope all is well with you down south.

    Love,
    P

  2. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you can be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back down the road.
    I want to encourage you continue your great job,
    have a nice holiday weekend!

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