Indian publisher looking to print books

Thread Starter

tony_kuphaldt

Joined Nov 28, 2008
6
Hello Everyone,

A publisher in India is looking to print and sell all 6 volumes of the "Lessons In Electric Circuits" textbook series. As the legal copyright holder, they have sent me a contract to consider and sign (see attached). Out of courtesy and respect for those who have contributed to this collective work (Dennis Crunkliton, Bill Mardsen, David Zitzelberger, and others) I wanted to present this contract to you for your mutual consideration. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Feel free to reply to my email address rather than this forum if you wish:

socratic.electronics@gmail.com

- Tony Kuphaldt


Email: socratic.electronics@gmail.com

 

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sbombs

Joined Feb 26, 2010
33
Hi there,

Please consider consulting an attorney. I would hate to see anything shady happen to this terrific project! I'll make some amateur, armchair quarterback comments which are probably all rubbish but I will make them anyway.

First, is it even necessary for you to be involved or sign any contract? Haven't you already given them permission to print via the Design Science License? Make sure that you are not giving up any rights, or exposing yourself/the project to any liability or any future legal ambushes from publishers that want to throw rocks (pretend that other publishers don't like your book). Could this be used to someone else's advantage?

3. The Proprietors shall be responsible for obtaining permission wherever necessary for the use in
the Licensed Edition of copyright material included in the Work belonging to third parties. The
costs of obtaining the permission will be borne by the proprietors.
Sounds scary. I'd prefer to see some mention of the actual Design Science License terms. (note, I saw sec 12) Does any of this conflict with the DSL?

5. The Publishers undertake to ensure that, wherever possible, the printing, paper and binding of
the Licensed Edition shall be of the highest quality.
Who cares? Not your problem etc.

6. The name of the Author shall appear prominently displayed on the cover, jacket (if any) and
title page of every copy of the Licensed Edition issued. It is also important that the information
should be mentioned on each and every Licensed edition that copy right is with the authors. The
acknowledgment should also be published on the title page that “This edition is published with
permission from the author”.
Good.

7. The publishers shall send one copy free of the Licensed Edition to the Proprietors on
publication.
Nonsense! Why don't you ask for SOME pre-print proof copies, and retain the right to refuse if errors/omissions aren't addressed to your satisfaction? Isn't this one of your pet peeves with traditional printed texts? I think I remember reading that somewhere. If they're going to involve/trouble you at all, you may as well have some benefit for your trouble. Also, give copies out to folks willing/able to proofread them (unless you have lots of spare time and no hobbies), and specify a reasonable time limit for that to occur.

11. All rights in the Work, other than those specifically granted to the Publishers herein, are
reserved by the Proprietor.
Add a bad-faith revocation clause?

What is this contract's applicability? What venues does it cover? Would you ever have to travel at your own expense to appear in court? Add some language that makes it clear who is to be responsible for legal costs, travel costs, etc, resultant of their printing.

Remember that you aren't a lawyer (unless you are) and consider the notion that you shouldn't trust yourself (or this post) with contracts any more than you'd trust a lawyer's electronic designs.

Also has there been any court/legal test of the DSL? I haven't found any, but if so, how did it fare?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Hi there,

Please consider consulting an attorney. I would hate to see anything shady happen to this terrific project! I'll make some amateur, armchair quarterback comments which are probably all rubbish but I will make them anyway.
Agree completely.

First, is it even necessary for you to be involved or sign any contract? Haven't you already given them permission to print via the Design Science License? Make sure that you are not giving up any rights, or exposing yourself/the project to any liability or any future legal ambushes from publishers that want to throw rocks (pretend that other publishers don't like your book). Could this be used to someone else's advantage?
I believe the key point here is that since the ebook was written by many individuals under the DSL, is copyright yours to give/sell away?

John
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Opps, I may have insulted you unintentionally. I was agreeing with the advice to consult an attorney, not the business about being amateur rubbish. I was just a victim of the narrow screen and didn't catch the double-entendre like you point out. My apologies.

John
 

sbombs

Joined Feb 26, 2010
33
Opps, I may have insulted you unintentionally. I was agreeing with the advice to consult an attorney, not the business about being amateur rubbish. I was just a victim of the narrow screen and didn't catch the double-entendre like you point out. My apologies.

John
Not at all. This is the internet. You shouldn't take life too seriously on the internet.

Cheers,

-sbombs

PS. Many thanks and congratulations to the authors and contributors, yourself included.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,582
As long as the site license is still valid, and the publisher does not acquire full rights and copyright (ie, ownership) I have no problems. I'm still writing, and I suspect there will be some significant changes in the future.

I have to agree with the other comments. Why is a contract even necessary, given that they could publish using the existing license allows for such publishing? This sounds like they are trying to own the document, which would not be good. As I read the memorandum this is not the case however. Are they just trying to cover their assets? Are we exposed in some way?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I don't have any problem with that publisher making a printed copy and selling it for a profit, so long as at least one of the following conditions is met:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/dsl.html
(a) The Source Data is included in the same distribution, distributed under the terms of this License; or

(b) A written offer is included with the distribution, valid for at least three years or for as long as the distribution is in print (whichever is longer), with a publicly-accessible address (such as a URL on the Internet) where, for a charge not greater than transportation and media costs, anyone may receive a copy of the Source Data of the Work distributed according to the section above; or

(c) A third party's written offer for obtaining the Source Data at no cost, as described in paragraph (b) above, is included with the distribution. This option is valid only if you are a non-commercial party, and only if you received the Object Form of the Work along with such an offer.

You may copy and distribute the Work either gratis or for a fee, and if desired, you may offer warranty protection for the Work.
I did not see anything about including the source data or a link to it in the proposed contract. That's where an attorney comes in handy.

John
 

Thread Starter

tony_kuphaldt

Joined Nov 28, 2008
6
Hello Everyone,

Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Yes, I am contacting an IP attorney regarding this. Better safe than sorry! I'm a bit puzzled why any contract language would be necessary beyond what the DSL stipulates. Another avenue of advice I'm planning to pursue is Michael Stutz, author of the DSL. He had a book published by No Starch Press several years ago where the source material was DSL'd, and I'd like to hear from him about how the publishing arrangements were made with them.

- Tony
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
Bmorse,was ahead of all of us with his disclaimer,you notice his name
has not been mentioned.Some one may be trying to take alot of work
from this site.maybe some lock outs are in order. The work will moved
to another site,knocking this one down.Less guest,more book sales.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
@loosewire

I am missing your point on this one. The question in this thread, if I am correct, was one of copyright. Specifically, it had to do with the DSL language.

Bmorse's disclaimer seems to deal with liability, as in personal injury.

I don't see the connection.

John
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
Don't be Induced by greedy book offers,they can change a few words
and have your stuff for free. You don't know who these people are and what motives they have,
the site may want to try stop this.The site is the major player here,the admin.
They are on this I'm sure,this is a good site they will protect it and the info.Take the
wikipedia test,does your small amount of work make differents in the scope of work
in the world for free. Would you go wikipedia for your work ,would wikipedia need
your work. Look at the resistance that is being studied on a flat surface that will
reduce heat,looks like a marble cube.The first air conditioning was a marble cube
in the pyimirds. So are we going to advance anything,I don't think so.

What If some one decides he could profits from bits and pieces of
all the work on this site,do we say It free enterprise more power to you.

Maybe I missed the point,are there enough people lined up already for
this project.

Washington,state sound like alot of money from what I've heard.

No comments,I just invented a new word.

I guess I'm not Impotetant enough.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
4,998
At least the publisher has had the decency to contact Tony, that suggests good intent.

I think the issue of copyright may not be about Tony's rights but intended to combat photocopying of printed material by those wishing to avoid purchase?
Presumabaly the publisher seeks some reward for his efforts.

A nice gesture would be a charitable donation, particularly if money is made, if (since) Tony wishes to forego personal reward.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,582
Given the site license I don't see photocopying would be illegal, as with normal printed material. Generally it is a lot more expensive to photocopy than to print anyhow, it would be self limiting. Even with a good laser printer the costs for printing all 6 volumes would be expensive.

I think a large concern is copyright claims, as I see it they would have none.
 

Thread Starter

tony_kuphaldt

Joined Nov 28, 2008
6
I met with an IP attorney today, and after an hour's discussion and reading through the print of both the proposed Agreement and the DSL, we mutually concluded there is no merit in signing this (or any) agreement with a publisher. The DSL does a fine job explaining the terms and conditions any prospective publisher must abide by, and it should be left at that.

Specifically, the attorney was suspicious of the language used in line 1 of the Agreement, where I would presumably grant to the publishers the right to publish that is already granted explicitly in the DSL. This was especially troubling to him since the Agreement does not specify the right to publish as either exclusive or non-exclusive. I found line 3 troubling as well, since it mentions the inclusion of third-part work which seems to me indicative of making this a Derivative work, which seems to contradict line 4 where they say they will not abridge, expand, or otherwise alter the work.

We discussed amending the language of the Agreement to reference the DSL, and to be in unambiguous accord with it, but then we basically asked the question "why sign an agreement at all when the DSL is so clear?" and couldn't come up with a good answer.

What follows is my email reply to the prospective publisher:


(begin_email)

Hello,

After meeting with my attorney, I have decided not to sign the agreement. He and I both agree that the Design Science License provides all the necessary terms and conditions for publishing, and that signing any other agreement (sublicensing) serves no beneficial purpose for myself or those others who have labored to create this work. The permission you seek from me is already granted to you by the Design Science License, particularly Section 3 of that License.

I apologize for the delay in my response, and hope this does not discourage you from publishing the books.

Sincerely,

Tony Kuphaldt

(end_email)


I appreciate the feedback everyone on this forum has given regarding this situation.

- Tony Kuphaldt
 
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