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Q&A: How to get your textbook rights back from your publisher

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Q: "My publisher has decided to drop my books. How can I tell from my contract whether this means I could get another publisher to pick them up for a new edition, vs. writing a totally new work?" A: Steve Gillen, Attorney, Wood, Herron & Evans: "Most publishing contracts have a 'reversion' or 'out-of-print"'clause that requires the publisher to return the rights to a work to the author if and when the publisher takes the work out-of-print. Sometimes this right of reversion is triggered automatically. More frequently, however, the author must request the publisher to execute a copyright assignment. The more problematic issue is likely to be at what point does the right mature -- i.e., when is the work "out-of-print." Look to the language in your contract for the answer to that question."

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