Random House Adjusts Controversial Terms

Random House has announced changes to the controversial contract terms for their digital SF imprint Hydra, and its sister imprints Alibi (crime), Loveswept (romance) and Flirt (YA/New Adult).

The imprints drew criticism for what SFWA called “onerous and unconscionable” contract terms, including acquisition of all rights for the duration of copyright, no payment of advances against royalties, and requiring authors to bear the costs of production and marketing through deductions against sales.

Under the new terms, authors may choose between a no-advance profit-sharing model where net proceeds are split 50/50, with most set-up and marketing costs borne by the publisher, or a more traditional advance-plus-royalty model, with 25% net royalties, and all set-up and marketing costs paid by the publisher.

Under either model, the imprints still require worldwide rights in all languages for the length of copyright, subject to “out of print” clauses “which provides for the author to request reversion of his or her rights three years after publication if the title fails to sell 300 copies in the 12 months immediately preceding the request.” The imprints no longer demand all subsidiary rights.

The complete statement from Random House can be read on the digital imprint website: atrandom.com.