RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,213
Posts: 5,404,807
Members: 24,760
Currently online: 678
Newest member: R.Data

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Time’s Orphan
By: Michelle on Aug 30

September-October Trek Conventions And Appearances
By: T'Bonz on Aug 29

Lee Passes
By: T'Bonz on Aug 29

Trek Merchandise Sale
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Star Trek #39 Villain Revealed
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Trek Big Bang Figures
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Star Trek Seekers Cover Art
By: T'Bonz on Aug 27

Fan Film Axanar Kickstarter Success
By: T'Bonz on Aug 27

Two New Starship Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26

Trek Actor Wins Emmy
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 24 2011, 04:27 AM   #1
garoo1980
Lieutenant Commander
 
garoo1980's Avatar
 
Legal stuff

Hey guys,

I've always wondered with the books who owns the rights? Its some kind of blend right? Because as the authors you guys must own the rights to your own work, but its part of the ST world so Paramount owns that right?

What happens if years later the book is reprinted? Is that something you're consulted on? Could you stop it? (Not that I can see why you would)

Just wondering, thanks!
garoo1980 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 04:31 AM   #2
BillJ
Admiral
 
BillJ's Avatar
 
Location: Covington, Ky.
View BillJ's Twitter Profile
Re: Legal stuff

CBS owns it all.
__________________
"I tell you what you all need, you need to take a thirteenth step, down off your high horse." - Hank Hill, King of the Hill
BillJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 04:38 AM   #3
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Legal stuff

garoo1980 wrote: View Post
I've always wondered with the books who owns the rights? Its some kind of blend right? Because as the authors you guys must own the rights to your own work, but its part of the ST world so Paramount owns that right?
No. We own none of it. We're contracted under a work-for-hire arrangement, so that every single word we write is the property of CBS (which now owns ST after a corporate restructuring a few years back).


What happens if years later the book is reprinted? Is that something you're consulted on? Could you stop it? (Not that I can see why you would)
Once we meet our contractual obligation and deliver the manuscript, Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster can do whatever they want with it. Which includes not publishing it at all, as we learned last year with the Abrams-movie sequel novels.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 01:43 PM   #4
MvComedy
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: Legal stuff

I have a sorta related question. When a book is reprinted years after it's initial publishing (like that TNG book that was reprinted to fill a gap in the schedule recently), is the author paid additional royalties for the reprints? Does a new contract need to be drawn up?
MvComedy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 02:41 PM   #5
Daddy Todd
Captain
 
Daddy Todd's Avatar
 
Re: Legal stuff

MvComedy wrote: View Post
I have a sorta related question. When a book is reprinted years after it's initial publishing (like that TNG book that was reprinted to fill a gap in the schedule recently), is the author paid additional royalties for the reprints? Does a new contract need to be drawn up?
I'm sure an actual writer will correct me if I get this wrong, but I understand the process like this: The writer is paid an "advance against royalties" on the book. Royalties are calculated as a percentage of the list price of the book. If the book sells sufficient copies so that the royalties owed equal the advance, the advance is said to have "earned out," at which point the publisher begins paying the writer additional royalties for every copy sold. Royalties are calculated periodically, and the writer gets a statement from the publisher. If any royalties are owed, a check is cut.

I assume that CBS, as the owner of the property, is also paid an advance and royalties on each Star Trek title.

So, assuming the original publication window of that book "earned out" it's advance, Laurell K. Hamilton had some royalties paid to her after last year's reprint. There was no need to write a new contract; the original contract is still in place. Royalties may trickle in for another couple of years as the publisher's accountants determine how many copies were sold, and what is owed to the writer.
Daddy Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 02:52 PM   #6
BrotherBenny
Rear Admiral
 
BrotherBenny's Avatar
 
Location: BrotherBenny
View BrotherBenny's Twitter Profile Send a message via Windows Live Messenger to BrotherBenny Send a message via Yahoo to BrotherBenny
Re: Legal stuff

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
I assume that CBS, as the owner of the property, is also paid an advance and royalties on each Star Trek title.
CBS itself didn't write the book and therefore gets nada. They just own the TV rights and the publishing company that sells the books. S&S/Pocket Books is a subsidiary of CBS. Only the writer gets money if the advance is earned out.
__________________
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

My blog / My crime stories
BrotherBenny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 02:54 PM   #7
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Legal stuff

The contract just says we get royalties for each copy of a published edition of our work, so it covers originals and reprints alike.

And BrotherBenny, I'm pretty sure you're wrong about CBS not getting royalties. The profit from the sale of a book is divided among the publisher, the copyright owner, and the author. Authors get a lower percentage of the profits from a tie-in book than they do from an original book, because the pie is divided more ways. I'm not sure if the money that CBS gets is called "royalties," but naturally they do get money from the sale of the books -- otherwise why would they license the publishing rights in the first place?
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 03:12 PM   #8
Daddy Todd
Captain
 
Daddy Todd's Avatar
 
Re: Legal stuff

Christopher, I understand that the Trek writers are doing "work for hire." Who are you "hired" by -- CBS or Pocket Books? As CBS owns the copyright on the book, it seems reasonable to assume you "work" for CBS.

Yet all your interaction is with Pocket Books. They even pay your royalties, if I'm not mistaken. That seems kind of weird to me.
Daddy Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 03:23 PM   #9
BillJ
Admiral
 
BillJ's Avatar
 
Location: Covington, Ky.
View BillJ's Twitter Profile
Re: Legal stuff

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
Christopher, I understand that the Trek writers are doing "work for hire." Who are you "hired" by -- CBS or Pocket Books? As CBS owns the copyright on the book, it seems reasonable to assume you "work" for CBS.

Yet all your interaction is with Pocket Books. They even pay your royalties, if I'm not mistaken. That seems kind of weird to me.
Pocket Books holds the license to publish Trek fiction.
__________________
"I tell you what you all need, you need to take a thirteenth step, down off your high horse." - Hank Hill, King of the Hill
BillJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 03:53 PM   #10
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Legal stuff

Well, Pocket Books is a division of Simon & Schuster, which is a division of CBS Corporation, which also owns CBS Television Studios, which owns Star Trek. So ultimately it's all under the same corporate umbrella. Though that isn't always the case with tie-ins (for instance, the Marvel novels also from Pocket).

To the question of who hires me, I'm hired by the editor, who works for Pocket Books, which is publishing under license from CBS. So I guess I'm working for Pocket on behalf of CBS?
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 04:38 PM   #11
DonIago
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Burlington, VT, USA
View DonIago's Twitter Profile Send a message via ICQ to DonIago Send a message via AIM to DonIago Send a message via Yahoo to DonIago
Re: Legal stuff

I am shocked and appalled. Cleary the authors are writing for us, the book-consuming public! It is all for the glory of Trekdom!!! (laughs maniacally)

They're working for the people who sign their paychecks, clearly.

Sorry...this thread was running a deficit of levity and I was bored...(blush)
__________________
--DonIago
It was the best of Trek, it was the worst of Trek...
"If I lean over, I leave myself open to wedgies, wet willies, or even the dreaded Rear Admiral!"
DonIago is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 04:51 PM   #12
Greg Cox
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Oxford, PA
Re: Legal stuff

I can't speak for Pocket, but I've edited various tie-ins for Tor, and, yes, the licensor gets an advance and the lion's share of the royalties. Back when I was negotiating these kind of deals, the licensor would typically get, say, an 8% royalty on a paperback and an author would get 2%. (Different rates apply for hardcovers, trade paperbacks, Book Club editions, etc.)

And even when you're all under the same corporate umbrella, you still have to pay the other division. If I wanted to reprint a book that had been previously published by St. Martin's Press or Pan Macmillan or some other subsidiary of Holtzbrinck (which also owns Tor), I would still have to pay SMP for the rights.

That's how it worked with Conan, Farscape, Zorro, Freddy Krueger, Mortal Kombat, and every other franchise I worked on. Star Trek surely works the same way.

If you check the copyright page, you'll see that all tie-in books are copyrighted in the name of the licensor. The writers are just hired guns, like Christopher said. All rights belong to CBS or whomever.
__________________
www.gregcox-author.com

Last edited by Greg Cox; June 24 2011 at 06:37 PM.
Greg Cox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 10:44 PM   #13
hbquikcomjamesl
Commander
 
hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
 
Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Legal stuff

Just be glad that Star Trek books are under their authors' bylines. Compare that with the various Stratemeyer children's novel series, in which every book was under the series pseudonym: Laura Lee Hope for The Bobbsey Twins, Franklin W. Dixon for The Hardy Boys, Carolyn Keene for Nancy Drew, &c, even though they were ghosted by writers ranging from Edward Stratemeyer himself (for surprisingly few), to Howard and Lillian Garis, to Nancy Axelrad, among many others.
hbquikcomjamesl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 11:02 PM   #14
Greg Cox
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Oxford, PA
Re: Legal stuff

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Just be glad that Star Trek books are under their authors' bylines. Compare that with the various Stratemeyer children's novel series, in which every book was under the series pseudonym: Laura Lee Hope for The Bobbsey Twins, Franklin W. Dixon for The Hardy Boys, Carolyn Keene for Nancy Drew, &c, even though they were ghosted by writers ranging from Edward Stratemeyer himself (for surprisingly few), to Howard and Lillian Garis, to Nancy Axelrad, among many others.
Don't forget "Victor Appleton," who has been writing TOM SWIFT for decades now.
__________________
www.gregcox-author.com
Greg Cox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24 2011, 11:56 PM   #15
JD
Admiral
 
JD's Avatar
 
Location: Arizona, USA
Re: Legal stuff

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Just be glad that Star Trek books are under their authors' bylines. Compare that with the various Stratemeyer children's novel series, in which every book was under the series pseudonym: Laura Lee Hope for The Bobbsey Twins, Franklin W. Dixon for The Hardy Boys, Carolyn Keene for Nancy Drew, &c, even though they were ghosted by writers ranging from Edward Stratemeyer himself (for surprisingly few), to Howard and Lillian Garis, to Nancy Axelrad, among many others.
They're doing the same thing for the Eurka books. Even though they have been written by two different authors, all three books have been credited to Cris Ramsay. I can't remember who those authors were, but I know Defcon did mention them in his reviews and interviews on Unreality.
__________________
They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. - Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:38 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.