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By Lexi Revellian @LexiRevellian
I've had an email from Simon Mayott, co-founder and CEO of Autharium, letting me know about major changes made to the contracts offered to writers who publish with them - and this new contract will also apply to existing Autharium writers.

The main change is that the contract no longer lasts for the life of the copyright of the book (the author's lifetime plus seventy years) but for ten years:

"By submitting your Work to Autharium and accepting these Terms & Conditions, you grant to Autharium the exclusive right and license to produce, publish, promote, market and sell your Work in any Digital Book Form (as defined in paragraph 1.4 below) in all languages throughout the world for ten (10) years. After ten years, this Agreement will continue to roll until you email [email protected] to revert your rights and end this Agreement with 30 days notice."

The rights granted by the author include all digital forms, including those not yet invented, worldwide - but nothing else:

"For avoidance of doubt this does not include physical or audio book forms, videos, film, television, merchandise or game forms."

Provision is made for the site going bust or ceasing to function:

"This Agreement shall automatically terminate if and when:

(a)  a manager, receiver, or other encumbrancer takes possession of, or is appointed over the whole or any substantial part of, Autharium’s assets;

(b)  Autharium enters into any arrangement or composition with or for the benefit of its creditors (including any voluntary arrangement under the Insolvency Act 1986); or

(c)  a petition is presented or a meeting is convened for the purpose of considering a resolution for the making of an administrative order, the winding up or dissolution of Autharium (otherwise than by way of a voluntary liquidation for the purpose of reconstruction)."

This is much, much better than the original deal offered. Simon Mayott says "this is the first UK publisher contract to step outside of the standard terms". But since Autharium is a new type of publisher, digital only and not paying advances, I'm not sure the comparison is valid - nor for that matter would I sign a boilerplate publishing contract.

Also, ten years is quite a long time, and I wouldn't want to hand over my rights for that term without the certain knowledge that the publisher would do a better job than I on my own (or any other publisher I might hope to interest) could. That said, credit to them for responding to criticism in such a positive way. I'm no longer calling them a scam, and hope they sell many books for their authors.

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