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Grant of Rights in a Book Contract  

When you sign a contract, you are granting certain rights to the publisher and reserving certain rights for yourself. 

One of these rights is copyright. But other rights are potentially even more valuable, such as film and TV, serialization, online, e-book or podcast publication, etc.

If you sign a work-for-hire contract for a book you write, but reserve the electronic rights to the work, you can conceivably publish your work online or in some other electronic format and the publisher of the paper edition has nothing to say about it.

In real life, such an action would certainly tick off the publisher.

If you have a good working relationship with your publisher, it's best to give some notice and get at least tacit agreement before undertaking exploitation of reserved rights.


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Tom Brosnahan