Richard Curtis wrote on E-reads that HarperCollins contracts now include a “morals clause” allowing the publisher to terminate the agreement if an “Author’s conduct evidences a lack of due regard for public conventions and morals, or if Author commits a crime or any other act that will tend to bring Author into serious contempt, and such behavior would materially damage the Work’s reputation or sales.”
Immediately upon reading Curtis’ post, HarperCollins author Ursula K. Le Guin felt an overwhelming urge to confess to everything. (Scroll down to “A Riff on the Harper Contract”):
Dear Mr Rupert Murdoch,
Forgive me, for I have sinned.
Because I did not read my contract with your wonderful publishing house HarperCollins carefully, I did not realise my moral obligations.
There is nothing for it now but to confess everything. Before I wrote my book Emily Brontë and the Vampires of Lustbaden, which you published this fall and which has been on the Times Best Seller List for five straight months, I committed bad behavior and said bad words in public that brought me into serious contempt in my home town of Blitzen, Oregon. In fact the people there found me so seriously contemptible that I am now living in Maine under the name of Trespassers W…
And it gets better.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter and David Klaus for the links. David Klaus had part via Ansible Links.]