New language in the termination provision of the Harper’s boilerplate gives them the right to cancel a contract if “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.” The consequences? Harper can terminate your book deal. Not only that, you’ll have to repay your advance. Harper may also avail itself of “other legal remedies” against you.
From a blog by Richard Curtis.
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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. This has nothing to do with the fact that some parts of my book come from books by Newt Gingrich and other people, in fact quite a lot of them, but everybody borrows from great novelists, because information wants to be free. It was nothing really materially damaging, only just the money and i.d. I stole from the old man with the walker and some things I said about some schoolgirls with big tits back in stupid Blitzen. I have really suffered for my art. I hope maybe you will forgive me and not terminate me and make me pay back the money because I can’t because I already had to give most of it to some stupid lawyer who said I had defaulted on a loan and was behind in my child support which is just a lie. That stupid brat never was mine. I am sure you will understand better than anybody else could that the only actual crime I have committed was writing my book. And I believe you will see that it was expiated by your giving me the contract for it and publishing it and making a lot of money out of it. So it is all right, I hope. I really hope so because I have nearly finished the sequel Alfred Lord Tennyson and the Zombies of Sex-Coburg and my agent says it is going to be a blockbuster as soon as it comes back from the person who is rewriting it. You would not want to miss it I am sure! And here in Maine I am paying strict regard to public conventions and morals just like you do. I would not go to a Democrat Convention if they paid me and crime is the farthest thing from my mind. I would feel so terrible if I damaged the reputation or sales of my Work, or your reputation. You are my Role Model.
Please believe me your loyal and obedient author,
King Dog: A Movie for the Mind’s Eye is now available at the Book View Cafe eBookstore.