French authors castigate publishers over digital rights

French authors castigate publishers over digital rights

<p>French authors have launched a veiled attack against French publishers for saying that digital book rights should remain in their hands. One author characterized the publishers&#39; stance as &quot;gobbledygook&quot;.</p><p>Responding to the open letter posted by the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l&#39;&Eacute;dition) just before the Frankfurt Book Fair and published in <a href="http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1E4cac4d3733a96435.cde" target="_blank" title="http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1E4cac4d3733a96435.cde"><em>The Bookseller Daily</em></a>, the Permanent Writers Council (Conseil Permanent des Ecrivains, CPE) said that authors also had rights under French intellectual property law, including earning a percentage of the earnings from their work. The CPE is the umbrella organisation for writers from 15 creators&rsquo; societies and collection agencies.</p><p>To date 156 publishers have signed the SNE letter, which warns against putting digital rights in the control of &quot;outside parties&quot;, including &quot;agents&quot;, who it said were &quot;liable to endanger the equilibrium within the profession&quot;. The &quot;commercialisation&quot; of electronic rights was &quot;the natural responsibility of the publisher&quot;, the letter adds. Without naming him, publishers were referring to Andrew Wylie, who later gave his assurance that digital and print rights should not be separated in France.</p><p>Author Fran&ccedil;ois Bon said in his blog on the Tiers Livre site that he was furious by the use of the words &quot;natural responsibility&quot;, and wondered how Hachette Livre c.e.o. Arnaud Nourry and other eminent publishers could have signed such &quot;gobbledygook&quot;.</p><p>For the last four years, publishers have been offering authors an optional amendment on digital rights, and within the last few weeks, the SNE has drawn up a new type of contract that includes digital rights, Bon noted. He castigated the level of royalties in France, saying he had torn up a contract offering 6% on both print and digital versions of a book.<br /><br />But the scrap is not likely to last, as the SNE and CPE aim to conclude an agreement over electronic rights before the next Paris Book Fair in March 2011. The pact should &quot;safeguard the equilibrium within the profession&quot;, the CPE said.</p>