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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Why you should listen to Neil:

Because he's smart, that's why.

If you are a creative artist of any sort, Neil wants you to do something. Which you should probably do. Because it would be smart, and save a lot of people a lot of grief if you got hit by a bus or something.


mmm, need to update mine, yes.

And Neil is very smart, and this is very important.

Need to do the Will thing anyway, once I buy the new flat. Need also to figure out how to say "if the trustees fail to maintain the works in print for a period of five years, the trust is deemed to have lapsed and the works are hereby donated to Project Gutenberg and fall within the public domain" ... and how to do it in Scottish legalese, which is like unto nothing else on Earth.

(As long as my heirs are actively keeping the stuff in print I'm happy for them to keep the profits, but if they can't be arsed, I don't want my work to be condemned to obscurity for 70 years due to their laziness.)
You know, that's not a bad amendment to the language. Would that be any work, or all the works?
All the works, except for collaborations, which I'd be willing to leave with the collaborator.

My thinking is, if they can't get even one item into print every five years, then they aren't using the rights.

Yeah, I know that 95% of writers go out of print within five years of their death and stay that way for good. I guess that'll probably happen to me, too. I just don't want "out of print" to mean "unavailable" to anyone who cares.

The classic example of a rights nightmare I heard about was Eric Flint's tale of trying to dig the rights to a short story by Cyril Kornbluth out of a literary agency who'd inherited his rights from another agency who'd acquired them when his own agent died ... it took him about four letters, a phone call, and a personal visit to convince the agency that they ought to check the dusty files in the basement and confirm that yes, they did indeed represent Mornbluth's estate! Is it any wonder we haven't seen any editions of his work in print lately?

I need to figure out where I stand on availability via print-on-demand or similar, though. And whether re-selling anthology rights to short stories counts, or whether it needs to be a whole book, minimum. But I think my acid test is: is the stuff available to the general public? If the trust is keeping it in print, even intermittently, all's well and good. But if not, they're in the way.
Excellent good.

Publication schedules being what they are, you should also consider whether pending deals count or not. I.E., if the contract is signed, etc.

I've heard some interesting stories about trying to publish a Leiber story or two, as well....
Does this mean that clutching at the lapels of an EMT and coughing out "Guns..for...Zapa-TEE-stahs..." just before expiring would not be legally binding?
Thanks for the link. I suppose, as a visual artist I have to pay attention to this, too.
But what if I want that sort of beastly treatment after I go? Considering how much pain my writing caused me and others when I was alive, I'd kvell to know that some ignorant relative let it fade away after I was gone.
Thanks for the link! I'm reposting it to a few other places!
I agree with you both whole-heartedly. Good keeping of wills has made the clearing up after two (elderly, thankfully) deaths in my family over recent years. Both could have been complicated, but fortunately were made simpler. Honestly, it's a cliche, but things are difficult enough in the aftermath of a death so it's worth thinking of your bit in helping the family in their grief! Odd, but y'know...

Hey, probably see you some time this week, I fly to Austin in the morning!
Just having finished Our Mutual Friend, which has wills as a major plot and thematic element, I want to add that you should tell people where your will is, and [SPOILER FOR OUR MUTUAL FRIEND AHEAD!] if you have any previous incarnations of your will lying around, you should destroy them.
Not just writers and other creative folk, but just about everyone who is a legal adult should have a valid current will. The exceptions might be a truly homeless street person or a married person without children who lives in a state where the default provisions for those who die without a will reflect their own personal preferences. Everyone else needs a will but this is especially true of anyone who is in a long-term committed domestic partnership but not legally married.

You might also think about medical power-of-attorney stuff and organ donation forms, etc.

(None of this applies, of course, to those of us who will never die and who will also never become very ill or seriously injured.)