LeLivro—the Next Great Thing? Not If Their Contract Scares Writers and Authors

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I just read a strong recommendation for a new website called LeLivro—a website that wants to change the way ebooks are vended—and I felt like I should be onboard. I browsed the site, did some research, and wrote to them asking for an interview. I love their idea: Writers and authors list their ebooks on the site, in their own personal store, set a price, sell books, and get paid immediately via Paypal.

Royalty is 85%. Actually, it’s not a royalty. The author collects through Paypal and then has to pay the site a 15% fee—like a consignment fee. Sounds like a terrific deal.

There is a separate portal for readers to log on and get to know the writers, browse the books, and even request an autographed book. This sounds so good, and puts much more money per book in the author’s hands, or bank account, than almost any other site does. I couldn’t find hidden fees or add-on costs. Fantastic!

But I did find a huge boulder in the road.

LeLivro’s contract says the following:

You grant to us a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute your user content [in any existing or future media / on or in relation to our website and any successor or related website or web-based application]. You also grant to us the right to sub-license these rights, and the right to bring an action for infringement of these rights.

Emphasis is mine. What I understand that to say is that you are assigning LeLivro some really strong rights to your work. Forever. AND you give them the right to hand the same rights to YOUR WORK to anyone they freaking care to pass it to now or later. Now why, in the name of heaven, would an author or writer do that? Because we fail to read these online agreements, that’s why.

The founder of LeLivro, Ilan Klein, says he created the site because there was a need for authors to get a better deal. I like and admire that, and I’d be the last person to complain about anyone trying to make a profit with a skill or an idea. However, whosoever advised him to add that paragraph to his contract and compel authors to give him such control and use of their intellectual proeprty should find another way to set up websites. This contract allows them to take your book(s) and use, change, rewrite, set to music, or vend them on a street corner for the rest of the existance of this planet. What? Oh, and they can also hand off the same rights to anyone they select without your knowledge or permission. Um, it doesn;t work for me.

Unless I misunderstand the ramifications of this, it just isn’t right. Why should LeLivro have such rights? No reason I can think of.

Now, I’m not saying LeLivro is a bad place. I am saying that until I clarify this or Mr. Klein rethinks it, I will not be putting my books up there. A shame, really. I liked the idea. I’ll let you know if I get a response from them.

 

 

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8 Responses to “LeLivro—the Next Great Thing? Not If Their Contract Scares Writers and Authors”

  1. I agree that the paragraph in the contract is VERY troublesome. Hard to look away from that great percentage for writers of each purchase though – oh the issues of self-publishing!

  2. As an author I agree that I can see no upside to what sounds like giving hem the full and permanent rights to our work!

  3. Thank you for sharing this information. You are so right when you mentioned that writers don’t always read the contracts we sign, or we don’t always understand or question the contracts as you have here. I am just starting out as a writer, and I am glad I read your post about contracts. I will be more careful in the future.

    Diana

  4. Nice of you to visit us. Subscribe an dnever miss an up-date. We value your comments and yes, we all need to be careful before we sign or agree to anything.
    –mkp

  5. I can’t argue with you, but the comapny changed their contract as a result, in part, of our remarks. It pays to read and it pays to share ideas. Thanks for your input.
    ===mkp

  6. Christy, we may not have to look away from it. I’m inclined to sign up, in fact, will be uploading my latest book, Awesome Woman: Inventing Your Own Future, in the next couple of days. See the 9-10-2013 post on OnText blog for an update about authors’ rights at LeLivro.com. Thanks for coming by.
    –mkp

  7. Hi

    I am from the lelivro.com team, and this has changed. All the rights will stay with the writer. all of them.

    The only thing we ask at lelivro is that you, the writer, have the worldwide rights to sell the books, if you dont lelivro may be infringing copyright laws.

    So, in spite of trying to do everything and more for writers, we would not like to get into troubles and that is normal.´

    This is our policy: lelivro.com will strive to give you all the tools to sell and be paid for your work.

    Should you see any other things that are against this policy please contact us and we WILL change it.

    We will soon be starting kickstarter campaign so stay tuned.

    Thanks for your comments.

  8. Thanks for the update, I think we did a post re explaing your changes. —mkp