Copyright Issues in a Digital World Continue to Cause Book Publishers Angst
INSIDER: With all of the new issues presented by the digital content realm, do you see the struggle between publishers and authors getting worse before it gets better?
KENNEALLY: I’m an author and was a freelance journalist for many years, and I know quite a few people who are likewise, so I have a rule-of-thumb: scratch an author, and you find someone who has a problem with his or her publisher. That’s human nature; I don’t think it’s a struggle necessarily, just a fact. The rise of independent publishing services and online bookselling certainly point to more authors going their own ways, but there’s a strong case to make that authors and publishers will need to strengthen their relationships and not strain them. In a recent “Beyond the Book” podcast, Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah described to me her vision of the next evolutionary step for authors and publishers as a business partnership that is meant to be long-term. That sounds right to me.
INSIDER: What else do you anticipate covering during your two sessions at PBC?
KENNEALLY: For “Rethinking Author Contracts for the Digital World,” Melville House Publisher Dennis Johnson and Sara Pearl and John Silbersack, who are both with Trident Media Group, are going to come with the very latest thinking on a subject that is still a developing story, nearly 15 years into this “digital revolution.” It’s an exciting time and just about the only safe prediction is that our discussion will tie directly to breaking news in the publishing industry. My session on “Rethinking Copyright for the Digital World” should help everyone view “copyright” and “digital” as compatible and co-existing, not contradictory.
As director of author relations for the nonprofit Copyright Clearance Center, Christopher Kenneally is responsible for programs that address the business needs of authors and independent publishers. He is also host for CCC’s own podcast series “Beyond the Book” (www.beyondthebook.com). Complete program details are at www.facebook.com/BeyondTheBook.”