SFWA Contracts Committee
Back at Work

Science Fiction Writers of America’s Contracts Committee, reinstated last fall, is already reporting progress.

The organization has addressed contract terms in use by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. As a result of discussions with F&SF publisher Gordon Van Gelder, the contract has been revised in respect to the length of exclusivity requested and the registration of copyright.

The Committee has also reviewed legal work performed for a member who hired a voice actor to produce her audio book.  The actor was a member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA,) but even the Union did not have a model contract for the situation.  SFWA’s Legal Fund made a grant to the member so she could obtain legal advice.

The contract and letter of agreement were worked out by her lawyer with the actor and SAG-AFTRA.  The SFWA Contracts Committee has posted both the contract and the letter of agreement with SAG-AFTRA to the Contract Committee’s page on the SFWA website as a guide for fellow members.

Current members of the Contracts Committee are Michael Armstrong, Chair, Michael Capobianco, Jim Fiscus, Ken Liu, Michael Stackpole, and Victoria Strauss.

The full press release follows the jump.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For additional information contact:

Jaym Gates, SFWA Communications Director

communications@sfwa.org

SFWA’s Contracts Committee Starts 2015 Strong

January 5, 2015

One of SFWA’s most valuable resources, the SFWA Contracts Committee, was reinstated in the fall of 2014, chaired by Grievance Committee veteran Michael Armstrong.

As directed by the SFWA Board, the purpose of the Contracts Committee is to 1) update and maintain the existing SFWA contract templates, 2) work to develop and maintain a repository of sample contracts and contract-related information, 3) work to educate members about contract language and recommendations, and 4) work to help SFWA and its members answer contract-related questions and concerns. The members of the committee are Michael Armstrong, Chair, Michael Capobianco, Jim Fiscus, Ken Liu, Michael Stackpole, and Victoria Strauss.

Since its reinstatement, the Committee has been focused on two main projects: a review of existing model contracts with the intent of revising them as needed, and a response to member concerns with the contract used by the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Committee Chairman Michael Armstrong said in regard to the F&SF contract, “We are happy to report a resolution with publisher Gordon Van Gelder, and thank him for his professionalism and willingness to work with the committee.”

Statement from the Committee Regarding the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Several months ago, a number of the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) raised questions with the SFWA Contracts Committee about the contract then in use by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF.)   The SFWA Contracts Committee and Gordon Van Gelder, publisher of F&SF, have worked together over the past months to resolve the concerns. As a result of the discussions, the contract has been revised to address issues involving the length of exclusivity requested and the registration of copyright.  The Committee will continue to follow implementation of the new contract. The result of this discussion is beneficial to the authors and the publisher alike, and we want to thank Gordon for his assistance in improving the contract.

Note from the Committee Regarding SAG-AFTRA Voice Actor Contracts

In addition to the work on the F&SF contract, the Committee has reviewed legal work performed for a member. Last year, a SFWA member hired a voice actor to produce her audio book, but could not find contracting advice.  The actor was a member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA,) but even the Union did not have a model contract for the situation.  SFWA’s Legal Fund made a grant to the member so she could obtain legal advice.

The contract and letter of agreement were worked out by her lawyer with the actor and SAG-AFTRA.  The SFWA Contracts Committee has posted both the contract and the letter of agreement with SAG-AFTRA to the Contract Committee’s page on the SFWA website as a guide for fellow members.

The Future of the Contracts Committee

SFWA’s Contracts Committee has a great deal of work ahead as the publishing industry acclimates to the new hybrid world of digital rights, self-publishing, and new predators seeking uninformed writers. We are always interested in receiving sample contracts for our records. We are also available to assist SFWA members with contract concerns of any sort. Please direct any questions or issues to Michael Armstrong at wordfolk@gmail.com.

Founded in 1965 by Damon Knight, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America  informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members. For information on its programs and eligibility requirements, please visit sfwa.org.