Morningstar Law Group – Raleigh Law Firm – Durham NC Attorneys

Insights - Licensing and Business Transactions

The attorneys at Morningstar Law Group are leaders who are frequently asked to share their legal insights and expertise. Here is a sampling of the wisdom our attorneys are sharing at industry conferences, in published articles, and at continuing legal education events.


For World IP Day, Partner Richard Caira Shares Thoughts on IP Challenges & Developments

April 26, 2023

What are the main challenges in the field of intellectual property law in the current global landscape? As the metaverse expands and becomes more prevalent in our society, it is important to approach the concept of it as being “real” from a legal standpoint. While the metaverse may exist in the virtual world and whether […]


"See Ya', Bye": Termination Provisions in Publishing Agreements

May 13, 2022

Try this for a paradox: “All provisions of this agreement shall survive its termination.”  For real: this was shown to me without a glimmer of irony during a contract review. A publishing agreement either expires at the end of its term or is earlier terminated, generally by action of one or both parties.  Expiration aside, […]


How Not to Become a Banker: As an Author, Protect Your Revenue

May 13, 2022

A publishing agreement may call for royalties to be paid monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.  The longer royalties accrue unpaid in an author’s account, the more that author steps into the shoes of the publisher’s banker.  While royalties accrue unpaid, the publisher is earning interest; the author is earning bupkis.  An author’s job is to […]


"Dibs on Your Next Book": Advice to Authors Publishing Their Second Works

May 13, 2022

Naturally, a publisher who has gambled on an author’s early work wants to reap the rewards of their shared success. Accordingly, publishers call, “Dibs on your next book.” Words to that effect appear frequently in publishing agreements and go on to reassure the author: “If we are not interested, you can take it elsewhere.”  Even […]


Reps and Warranties in Publishing Agreements

August 27, 2021

In the 1970 comedy Brand X Taylor Mead, playing the president, is asked by a journalist, “Sir, what will you do when the inevitable happens?” “I’m an optimist,” he responds, “I don’t think the inevitable will happen.”  But inevitably it does. In publishing and other agreements each party seeks to shift liability to the other […]


World Rights in Book Publishing Agreements

August 18, 2021

A publisher typically tries to negotiate for “world rights”, asking an author to authorize an exclusive, worldwide license to exercise all of the author’s rights under copyright and the ability to authorize sublicensees to exercise one or more of those rights (e.g., foreign language translation) throughout the duration and territory of the publishing agreement. While […]


Book Publishing Agreements: Copyright Ownership & Licenses

July 19, 2021

Who Owns the Copyright in a Book? The nature of most trade book publishing agreements is not a transfer of copyright ownership from the author to the publisher but a license granted by the author to the publisher to exercise some or all of the author’s rights for a reasonable length of time in a […]


Understanding Book Publishing Agreements: Territory

July 2, 2021

What Are Martians Reading This Season? Does your publisher sell books on Mars or license rights on Venus?  If not, then “throughout the universe,” which we see from time to time as the defined territory in publishing agreements, is not appropriate.  Perhaps the publisher simply does not want to risk being left without a toehold […]


How Long Should a Book Publishing Agreement Endure?

June 23, 2021

This is the 2nd article in a series intended to introduce readers to publishing agreements. Click HERE for Mitch’s 1st installment. Authors don’t live to see their copyrights expire.  By law those rights endure 70 years postmortem and frequently pass unheralded through their owners’ estates to uninformed or indifferent heirs.  Yet every day publishers negotiate […]


New to Publishing Agreements? What You Need to Know.

June 18, 2021

In a world before self-publishing—and still today—authors with the ability to write but not the wherewithal to print and sell books in commercial quantities engaged publishers to do so.  Publishers in turn undertook to manufacture and distribute books—and maybe sublicense rights to create derivative works—looking to the resulting revenues to compensate themselves for their risks […]

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