Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
In March 2011 we blogged about a significant legal ruling supporting a claim brought by the producers of rapper recording artist Eminem. The claim was that what Eminem’s record company called “sales” – which paid a low royalty – should actually have been calculated as license revenues, a far higher number. We predicted that the court’s interpretation would one day be applied to book contracts. That day has come in the form of a class action lawsuit against Harlequin on the very same grounds.
To understand the distinction, which in Harlequin’s case is the difference between 3-4% to authors vs. 50%, read our original posting, When is E-Royalty Not a Royalty? When 9th Circuit Court Says It Isn’t.
On October 23rd Publishers Weekly reported that Harlequin’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The Eminem case may have a definite bearing on this one, so romance writers would be wise to keep an eye on this unfolding courtroom drama.
For a cogent analysis of the case and its implications for the book industry, read Copyright Alert: 9th Circuit Holds Digital Downloads are Licenses Not Sales by copyright authority Lloyd J. Jassin, to whom we’re indebted for bringing the case to our attention.