I know that a publisher usually demands exclusive publishing rights for a period of time. However, if that author creates an online course based on the book, would that typically be restricted by the publisher contract?
Context: I run a platform for creating online courses. These courses have text and images like books, but the experience is interactive, like a game or choose-your-own-adventure. I want to approach writers with the offer of creating courses derived from their published books. However, I don't know if their publisher contracts would typically allow this.
I found the Model Trade Book Contract by The Authors Guild. In Section 21 on "Competitive Works", I read:
During the first year after publication, Author shall not Publish or authorize to be Published, without the written permission of the Publisher, any full-length work specifically intended to supplant the Work in the marketplace, and which would clearly and directly harm the sale of the Work.
The online course would never be "specifically intended to supplant" the book. I doubt it would harm book sales (it may even help). And the one-year expiry would not hinder me. However:
- Could the publisher successfully argue that a course is "specifically intended to supplant" the book? What would it take to successfully argue this?
- Is the Model Trade Book Contract actually typical here? Or are real-world contracts typically more onerous?
- Are there other sections/clauses of the contract that I should be looking at? Or is this "competitive works" section the only relevant one?