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Fair Contracts

The world of publishing is changing, yet author income in Australia remains perilously low. We know that unfair terms in publishing agreements are a contributing factor.

What should change?

In Australia, authors negotiate for all economic return for their work solely by contract, making the terms of those contracts critically important. In traditional publishing, disparity in bargaining power can make it difficult for authors to optimise their publishing deals. The rise in ‘hybrid’ or contributory publishing, particularly where the contracts are opaque, deficient in detail and involve a substantial payment from authors, represents a new financial risk for authors.

The ASA has joined the International Authors Forum (IAF) in asking publishers to observe the Ten Principles of Fair Contracts which, among other things, calls for publishing contracts to be issued with defined time limits, for reversion of rights to the author if the publisher has been unable to exercise them, and for royalty statements to be transparent and comprehensive.

What has the ASA done so far?

What can you do?

If you’ve been issued with a publishing contract, check it against the Ten Principles of Fair Contracts and consider seeking advice from Authors Legal.

We strongly encourage you not to sign any contract which requires you to pay a substantial sum of money without evaluating your financial risk and obtaining independent advice.

And, if you haven’t already, consider joining the ASA. The ASA’s lobbying efforts with publishers and the APA would not be possible without our members’ support. The more authors we can show we represent, the clearer our voice will be heard by the industry.

Alternatively, if you’re already a member or prefer to contribute without joining the ASA, you can donate to our Endowment Fund. Donations to the Endowment Fund go directly towards supporting the ASA to lobby and campaign for the rights and professional interests of authors and illustrators.