Gigalillion, An Imprint of The London Press

Contract and Author Rights

What are distribution rights and who owns them?

Distribution rights represent an agreement between publisher and Author (and/or sometimes a distributor as well) as to the geographical area and period of time the publisher has the right to publish and fulfil orders for an Authors book. Generally speaking, distribution rights can be exclusive or non-exclusive. Our precise terms are spelt out in our publishing contract - however, we only require non-exclusive distribution rights for the time our agreement is in force, (though normally for a worldwide geographical area - or at least the UK and US). You continue to retain important copyrights as well as the right to terminate any agreements with us as per terms and conditions detailed in our standard agreement.

Do you have a publishing contract?

Yes we do. We have a very comprehensive set of terms and conditions in which all details of our service are clearly described and elaborated. Gigalillion considers that when it comes to the complex world of publishing that all matters should be clearly and concisely laid out.

Your specific publishing contract will be available for review, and acceptance, in your Author control panel, after you have completed all relevant book title forms that gather information to be entered into your contract (and we have accepted your title for publication). Up until that point in time, if you would like to view a sample contact, please see the help/resource section after you are logged into your control panel. However, the sample contract should be read in conjunction with the various package variables enumerated on the publishing packages page, as specific information related to the particular publishing package chosen is entered into each Authors contract.

Why is your contract so detailed?

We believe it is right to cover every aspect of our service in detail so that you know exactly where you stand at all stages of publishing your book. Publishing by nature a complex endeavour. We hope that our contract actually assists you with appreciating all the different areas in which we will be working together.

What do I need to do to secure copyright in the UK

We are not able to offer legal advice on this topic. However, some commentators would say that if you really want to be secure in this regard, that you should submit your work to one of the specialist copyright services available in the UK. Please contact us for details of such a service.

However, for your interest here is a section that makes interesting reading from the Wikipedia page:

Qualification for [copyright] protection:

The 1911 Act provides that an individual's work is automatically under copyright, by operation of law, as soon as it leaves his mind and is embodied in some physical form: be it a novel, a painting, a musical work written in manuscript, or an architectural schematic. This remains the legal position under the 1956 Act and the 1988 Act.

Once reduced to physical form, provided it is an original work (in the sense of not having been copied from an existing work), then copyright in it vests automatically in (i.e. is owned by) the author: the person who put the concept into material form. There are exceptions to this rule, depending upon the nature of the work, if it was created in the course of employment.

The question of who is the "author" of a work, and what rights attach to the author, is further discussed below.

In order to grant copyright protection to computer databases, UK copyright law recognises the element of labour and skill used in compiling them, even though they are not in truth original works (being entirely derived from existing records), applying a principle sometimes called the 'Sweat of the Brow' doctrine; they are also protected by Database Right.

The term 'Unfair Use' is sometimes applied in that context, to refer to the use of a work into which someone has invested a lot of skill and labour, but where little or no originality is present. This is mainly in the case of reproduction photography, or the retouching of artistic works that are out of copyright, or for simple computer databases, such works not being original.

A work, other than a broadcast, can qualify for copyright protection in either of two ways: by the nationality of the author, or by the country of first publication.

A work qualifies for copyright protection, if made after 1st June 1957 (the date on which the Copyright Act 1956 came into force), if its author is:

1.a British citizen, a British dependent territories citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British subject, or a British protected person, or individual resident or domiciled in the United Kingdom, or in another country to which the qualification clause extends, or

3.a body incorporated under the law of a part of the United Kingdom, or another country to which the qualification clause extends.

Alternatively, a work can qualify for copyright protection if its first publication took place: the United Kingdom, or another country to which the qualification clause extends.

However, a work made before 1st June 1957 can only qualify for copyright protection by its country of first publication; not by the author's nationality.

A broadcast, if made after 1st June 1957, qualifies for protection if: is made from the United Kingdom, or is made from another country to which the qualification clause extends.

Lists of the countries which trigger qualification are published in Statutory Instruments periodically. They are, in point of fact, those countries which have acceded to the Berne Copyright Convention.

First publication:

First publication is defined as the first occasion that a work is published anywhere. But if a work is simultaneously published in several countries, all within a 30 day period, each of those countries is treated as the country of first publication.

For example, if a work is first published in the United Kingdom, but is published in Canada, Australia and New Zealand within the following 30 days, all those countries are treated under UK law as being the country where the work was first published.

This used to be of importance, prior to 1957, for in those days first publication was the only possible way to obtain copyright. It became much less important due to the Copyright Act 1956, which grants copyright in the United Kingdom to any work if the author is a British citizen or is resident in Britain, or is a citizen of (or resident in) a Berne Convention country.

Is submitting my manuscript to you safe?

Though as a company, we will not use your manuscript in any manner that isnít regulated by our publishing agreement with you, we canít offer security for your manuscript and/or any ideas/concepts/storylines contained in it. You will instead need to rely on copyright claims that you have to your manuscript and as the Author, you are the person who needs to enforce and defend those rights. The nature of publishing is that manuscripts need to be sent around to various third parties (e.g. editors, typesetters and/or proofreaders) for quotation and other work purposes.

It is a very common and understandable feeling for an author to feel concerned about another third party stealing their work and ideas. If this is something that you are particularly concerned about, then first off please contact us about copyrighting services.

Itís important to remember that ideas/concepts are not copyrightable Ė only the expression of those ideas and concepts. Please see the faq above on copyright.