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Publishing: Morals clause

4 replies

MondayYogurt · 02/09/2022 18:22

Just heard about this and think it’s related to JKR.

www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/why-we-oppose-morals-clauses-in-book-contracts/

The Authors Guild objects to publishers’ new and increasing use of so-called “morals clauses.” These contract provisions allow publishers to terminate a book contract, and in many cases even require the author to repay portions of the advance already received, if the author is accused of immoral, illegal, or publicly condemned behavior. Publishers insist they need the clauses to protect themselves in the event an author’s reputation becomes so tarnished after the book contract is signed that it will hurt sales. But most of these clauses are too broad and allow a publisher to terminate based on individual accusations or the vague notion of “public condemnation”—which can occur all too easily in these days of viral social media.

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ChampagneCommunist · 09/09/2022 14:34

Oh, I think we all know what "publicly condemned behaviour" they are talking about.

Except that the publisher's moral don't extend to dropping JKR, as she earns them too much money.

Picking and choosing when to have morals isn't very moral

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Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:27

Obviously they don't mean sleazy male authors. That's just art. Only female authors that stick up for women's rights

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Thelnebriati · 11/09/2022 13:36

Hopefully someone will challenge this because I can't see how its enforceable.

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NumberTheory · 12/09/2022 00:58

To be fair, in the article quoted the publishers seem to be quite clear that the whole point is to ensure they aren’t committed sticking to authors who are going to affect their bottom line. They aren’t pretending it’s a moral issue. They’re concerned about the bottom line and they do need to be. Publishing is a precarious business.

But I’m glad the Author’s Guild is standing up against them. The way publishing houses have caved to this pressure has, I think, made them more vulnerable to it and hurt them, authors, and readers. If they’d held the line in the beginning and told people that free speech and debate was important and necessary if you wanted to be tolerant, non-fascist, and open to better ideas, then I don’t think we’d see nearly as much of an attempt to cancel authors now.

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