The French Digital Comics Deal – The End Of The Set-In-Stone Contract


The details of the deal fought for by authors unions and publishers over three years, including a large contingent of comic book creators, over digital copyright has been published in full. The new legal framework pushed by Minister of Culture and Communication makes for a separate digital agreement to be made rather than being lumped in with any print agreements, with separate clauses for all the issues digital publication throws up. That author’s are to get a digital proof copy before publication.

One of the interesting points is that the publisher is required to actively promote the digital publication. If digital sales stay flat for over two years or so, the contract may be revised. It’s not enough to just put it out on the web and forget about it. The publisher must make it available across platforms and not exclusively in proprietary forms of distribution. No exclusive deals with the Kindle, for example. And also, there is a “sunset” deal, when the author and publisher can request a contractual review between four and six years after initial publication, with a conciliation service if any disagreements between the two arise. Which means the publication contract is officialy no longer set in stone.

And now, it’s time for the French Parliament to vote on it.

As ever, they do things differently in France.

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