Payment to Authors, Permissions Costs and Subsidiary Rights

The Promotion and Sale of
Subsidiary Rights
Lynette Owen, Copyright Director,
Pearson Education Ltd, United
Subsidiary rights : what are they?
• Could include right to licence in original
language to other territories, including lowprice reprints to developing countries
• Book club rights
• First & second serial rights to newspapers
and magazines
• Translation rights
• Audio rights, including digital downloads
Subsidiary rights : What are they?
• Reprographic rights (e.g. photocopying,
scanning of extracts)
• Stage, TV and film rights
• Merchandising rights
• Electronic and multimedia rights
• Rights for the visually/reading impaired
Subsidiary rights : Who controls
• Publishers who have copyright in a work through
assignment from the author will control all rights,
although it is wise to be clear in the contract that
this includes electronic exploitation
• Publishers who have a restricted publishing
licence may not control the full range of
subsidiary rights and will need to ensure they
license only those rights clearly granted to them
for their agreed territory
Why sell rights?
• To generate revenue for the author and
the publishing house
• To reach markets you may not be able to
reach with the original edition for reasons
of price or language
• To boost author reputation and maintain
author loyalty
• In some cases, to license works for
exploitation in other forms/media
Subsidiary rights : How does the
author benefit?
• Rights should be handled on their behalf
by specialists (e.g. publishing staff or
literary agent)
• Author will receive agreed contractual
share of licence revenue (could range
from 50% to 90% depending on type of
right and status of author)
• Work will be accessible to larger audience
and author reputation will be enhanced
How are rights sold? (1)
• Potential licensees may approach publisher, or
publisher may actively promote rights
• Need to identify appropriate and reliable
partners; sources of information include
publishing directories, catalogues, websites,
trade press and attendance at international book
• Need to promote titles with rights potential to
named contacts (editors); mail catalogues,
information sheets and use e-mail alerts with link
to website
How are rights sold? (2)
• Maintain regular contact with potential licensees;
publishing editors, book club buyers, newspaper
and magazine editors for purchase of serial
(extract) rights; scouts for film and TV
companies. Face to face meetings at book fairs
or on home territory
• Use appropriate sales material: sample visual
material for illustrated books, sample chapters,
proofs, finished copies, electronic files
• For book rights, decide whether it is appropriate
to offer on exclusive option basis, multiple
submission or full-scale auction (a technique
best reserved for major titles)
Subsidiary rights: payment models
• Same language, book club and translation rights
are normally licensed on an advance and royalty
basis, unless licensed edition is printed as
coedition by original publisher who may then
quote royalty inclusive price per copy
• Serial rights are usually paid for as lump sum in
2 instalments
• Reprographic rights will often be handled by a
national licensing agency on basis of agreed
rates per page or per user (e.g. CLA in UK, CCC
in USA and other IFRRO members)
Subsidiary rights : Payment models
• Stage rights are usually paid as percentage of box office
• Film & TV rights are usually bought on basis of lump
sum with up front option fee; only very prominent authors
receive a percentage of box office receipts
• Merchandising rights are sold as a percentage of net
receipts, but may be bundled in with film & TV rights
• Rights for the visually impaired are usually granted free
of charge
• Permissions (the right to quote FROM the work) are
usually charged at a rate per thousand words for prose,
per line for poetry and per illustration
Subsidiary rights: Payment models
• Electronic rights: payment models are many and
• For single e-book supply author will usually
receive royalty on net receipts to allow for
discount to distributors
• Arrangements with library aggregators usually
on subscription basis for many titles; publisher
receives pro-rata share of subscription and pays
author a share
• Many such arrangements are treated as sales
rather than as licences, e.g. viewed as
alternative platform for supply to print version
What skills do you need to sell
rights? (1)
• Detailed knowledge of your list
• Ability to identify rights potential (may vary
from title to title)
• Knowledge of economic and political
situation in key markets
• Knowledge of customers
• Ability to negotiate appropriate deals and
tie them up in suitable licence contracts
What skills do you need to sell
rights? (2)
• Ability to administer deals – follow up for
decisions, signed contracts, payment,
publication and royalty payments
• Stamina and ability to work under
pressure, perhaps in difficult physical
• Communication skills
• Additional languages may also be an