Signing Away Copyright For A Dollar

WCP authors should be aware that the new agreement is not asking for copyright for the term of the contract, but for the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years. One of the most famous cases of signing away copyright was the Superman author in 1938. The publisher paid him $130. This deal was upheld by a court in 1948. There's no need to point out that $130, although not a lot of money, was worth a lot more at that time than it is today. It's certainly not in the same low league as the dollar WCP is offering.

If a contract contains a lifetime copyright clause then good reversion terms are essential. The Start contract does not have those. What it does do is limit the author's ability to regain his rights back based on sales minimums, and leaves it up to the publisher to either agree or refuse. This is inadequate and unacceptable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's unacceptable alright, and it leaves any author who signs it up shit creek without a paddle.

Brampton Lakes said...

Hey, Debra MA and Steven BA have become as notorious as PA.

Anonymous said...

@Brampton

Good one. :-)

Brampton Lakes said...

"It's unacceptable alright, and it leaves any author who signs it up shit creek without a paddle."

You mean up 'Whiskey' Creek, don't ya? lol

Angie Baby said...

If Deb MA doesn't manage to con the authors into signing the new contract, then the sale will be off. It's the contracts that Start is interested in. For its the contracts that will make them money. Oh but wait...I didn't get a single royalty payment or statement ever from Deb MA. Thanks to whoever sent all this stuff to the IRS and the Attorney General. I'm sure we'd all love to see Deb MA held accountable for her actions. I bet she'll impress the other inmates with that MA. (ROFL)

Anonymous said...

How does a publisher get themselves hated this much? They must have been a terrible outfit to work with.

Brampton Lakes said...

"How does a publisher get themselves hated this much?"

It's pretty easy when you treat your authors like dirt and ignore their emails. Seldom send out royalties or royalty statements. Provide the worse editor possible (Marsha Briscoe), have cheap amateurish looking covers, and extort $500 per title, from authors who just want to get out.

Anonymous said...

WCP is sooooooooooo bad, that an author would be better off to leave his story sitting in a closet forever than entrust it to them. All the bad treatment was for a reason. They wanted the authors to be so miserable that they'd cough up 500 big ones, per title, to get their rights back.

John said...

Steve Womack is a wannabe writer, that's why he started WCP. It was the only way he could get his awful book published. It's been on Amazon since 2005, and ranks at the bottom of the heap. The cover is terrible. Reading the first couple of pages is such hard going it put me to sleep.

http://www.amazon.com/Cyclopean-Rescue-Steven-Douglas-Womack-ebook/dp/B00BXHR8BS/ref=la_B00FERJ75S_1_1_title_1_kin/182-8365005-5546033?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403287510&sr=1-1

http://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/15556/

This is from the White Pages:
Steven D Womack II
541 Long Ln
Casper, WY 82609-2405
Age: 60-64
Associated: Debra A Womack, Stefanie Womack

This is the info about their property:
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/540-Long-Ln-Casper-WY-82609/15043275_zpid/

John said...

https://www.facebook.com/steven.d.womack

Anonymous said...

Steve Womack is a sometimes employee of Casper College. I sent a link to this site to them. The Womacks need to be outed.

http://www.caspercollege.edu/contact01.html

Payback Time said...

As we all want our rights back NOW, it's super important to expose the Womacks for what they are by turning the public spotlight on them. With this in mind, I've sent the following message to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Casper, and to the Casper Star Tribune, and Casper Journal. If you can think of anyone else who could help us, send them a link to this forum. If we all work together we WILL overcome.

Please be advised that Whiskey Creek Press, a publishing business operating in your area, has been accused by multiple authors and others of fraudulent activities. These include: ridiculously low royalty payments, no royalty statements, cave-man editing and even worse covers. Debra Womack, the owner, never replies to emails. She simply ignores them. Then when the authors want out they're being hit with a $500 per title 'termination fee.' Now this business is in the process of being sold, and Womack, is trying to con the authors into signing away their copyright forever.

http://reportsonwhiskeycreekpress.blogspot.ca/

Anonymous said...

Good going PT. Letters have also been sent to the Wyoming Attorney General's office, the IRS, and to Casper College where Womack is a temporary worker. If anyone can think of anywhere else please go for it. I have a legitimate publisher really interested in publishing my book, but he won't wait forever. I have to get my rights back from those fraudsters now.

Anonymous said...

WCP is flogging what it views as its 'stable' of authors to the highest bidder. But hey, the horses are rearing up and neighing.

Angie Baby said...

@BL
It's my idea that both these possibilities are true. They set up shop for the termination fees, and some of the books, despite no effort or promotion by the Womacks have sold well. Perhaps the authors worked extra hard on promoting them. That leaves, of course, the lack of royalty payments to the authors. When the Womacks were trying to flog WCP to Start Media they'd be asked to produce the records of sale, and they couldn't have been as bad as our royalty checks would indicate, or Start would not have been interested. I think I'll write a book about this.

Anonymous said...

I can understand a traditional print publisher charging a termination fee because they've invested money in publishing the book. But when it comes to small mom & pop epublishers, like WCP, they've invested absolutely nothing. It doesn't cost anything to upload an ebook to Amazon, Fictionwise, etc. At WCP the editing is atrocious so are the covers, and they don't do any promotion. They don't even send out royalty statements. So what EXACTLY does this whopping big $500 termination fee cover?

Angie Baby said...

WCP started out as a vanity press charging authors 90 bucks to publish. So why is anyone surprised that things have worked out as they have? The Womacks were out to screw authors, and that's what they've done. Just remember this is a very small outfit with no distribution.

Anonymous said...

WCP has never rejected a story, and they have some 400 authors to prove it. That is one helluva big amount for a small epublisher, and it screams 'vanity' and 'in it for the termination fees.'

Greg Gifford said...

" You agree and understand that your agreements as set forth herein are contingent upon your receipt of the signing bonus and other payments as set forth above, which amounts you agree to accept as consideration for the modification of your currently existing agreement with Whiskey Creek Press and in full and final satisfaction of any and all claims to past due/current royalties and/or advances or any other sums owed to you for sales up through and including April 30, 2014."

I hope the authors who signed the new contract realize that by accepting the one buck, they've given up all rights to any royalties WCP may owe them prior to April 30, 2014.

Desperate Housewife said...

HELP! I signed the new contract before I read this blog. I thought the copyright was for the term of the contract only. Is there anyway I can get out?

Anonymous said...

@Desperate Housewife

See a lawyer, pronto.

Steve said...

What I don't understand is why do they want copyright forever when the contract is for three years? Can we get our books published by somebody else, while WCP/Start hold the copyright?

Anonymous said...

@Steve

It's doubtful another publisher would take you on, when you no longer own the copyright. Legally, the book is no longer yours.

Desperate Housewife said...

So you're saying we're totally screwed? OMG this is a nightmare. How about self-publishing on Amazon, could we still do that after the contract expires?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter when the contract expires, once you sign away copyright you no longer have the right to do anything with the book, because it's no longer yours. Amazon, btw, are very strict about contracts and ownership of copyright. There's no doubt that the Womack's tricked you into signing with that deceptively worded letter. You need immediate legal advice.

Danny Boy said...

Be sure and point your lawyer towards this site. It'll give him an excellent crash course into what kind of publisher we're dealing with here.

Anonymous said...

@Desperate Housewife
You're screwed, completely. Since you knowingly and willingly signed that contract, it's doubtful anything can be done. You gave up your rights to the copyright of your book. No one else, even indie publishing, is going to let you publish it if you don't own the copyright.

Danny Boy said...

"Since you knowingly and willingly signed that contract, it's doubtful anything can be done. You gave up your rights to the copyright of your book. No one else, even indie publishing, is going to let you publish it if you don't own the copyright."
Absolutely correct. Amazon is very fussy about copyright, as they should be. If you tell them you have all rights to the book, which you don't once you sign away your copyright, then you could be prosecuted. The Superman author went to court to try and get his copyright back, but was unsuccessful. The court ruled in favor of the publisher. Once you sign on the dotted line, I;m afraid you're well and truly f**ked.

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it but I was one of the dummies who signed that 2nd contract. What happens if the deal with Start falls through? Will I still lose my copyright forever?

Angie Baby said...

I just want to say again thanx to the folks who run this blog, you've done the WCP authors and others a great service.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous I would think that if the deal falls through, the contract with Start becomes null and void and would revert to your previous contract with WCP.

Biker said...

I don't agree. Anyone who signed the second contract is now signed up with Start. So even if this shady deal does fall through, the second contract will still be in effect.

Anonymous said...

The deal would be contingent on Womack delivering a certain number of authors to Start, by way of the second -- lose your copyright forever -- contract. Judging by what I've read here, I'd say they were way short of their quota.

Desperate Housewife said...

I agree about WCP not meeting the quota, and it's mainly thanks to this blog for alerting the authors. I'd never have signed that bloody thing if I'd read this site first. Now, unless I want to start a legal action against Start, I've lost my book forever. And I slaved for years over it. It was like a child to me.

Biker said...

I'd advise anyone who signed away their copyright in that 2nd contract to simply forget about their books. They're gone. You don't own them anymore and you never will again. A lawsuit against Start is likely to fail, and cost you a bundle. The smart money is on putting this behind you, and starting to write another book.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know for sure the date of when this deal goes through or falls apart? Is it June 30th?

SP said...

Check this out. It's a site that allows you to ask lawyers questions and get answers for free. I asked about the royalty thing and got some replies. http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/do-i-need-a-contract-lawyer--1774216.html?post_answer_id=4003335&post_id=1023378&utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_content=question_legal&utm_campaign=comment_notify

Anonymous said...

If you signed that contract, the book is gone forever. It doesn't matter if the deal falls through. You signed a valid, binding contract knowingly. Sorry to say, that will stay in effect.

SP said...

I didn't sign a thing! I told Steven, in multiple emails that I want my rights back and that they are in breach of their own contract in multiple ways. Not giving royalties on time, or providing statements, not allowing me access to the sales reports for my title (not the pitiful statements they provide which is nothing but a number and a dollar amount) I also mentioned the fact that their contract states that if they are sold, then the publisher acquiring them is bound to the terms of our contract for the life of the contract.

I'm not signing, I'm not paying these scumbags $500, but I AM getting a lawyer to send them a demand letter. I am setting up an appointment for next week. Let's see how they like it when the lawyers start knocking on their door.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, SP. I admire those who stand up for their rights. So many don't.

Luvbooks said...

I have to laugh, the Womacks shut down the author group so we couldn't keep in touch with each other, and discuss this new letter of agreement, etc. (LOL) They didn't reckon with this site. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

@Luvbooks
I'm glad you feel like laughing because I sure don't. And I suspect none of the authors who signed that thing do.

SP said...

As to the above authors who sent information to the IRS and Attorney General, etc... Here's a nice little clause in the contract that may come in handy. It appears that if the IRS were to suspend operations at WCP for an investigation or other reason, then we get our rights back. At least that's how I understand it.

"If the Publisher suspends operations, other than a temporary suspension for technical difficulties such as a loss
of Web Server, all rights delineated in Section I shall immediately revert to the Author. If the Publisher's operations are ordered suspended by any governmental or police entity, or by Injunction or Restraining Order, all rights shall immediately revert to the author. If the suspension is lifted and operations resume, Author and Publisher may agree in writing to continue this agreement under the same or revised terms."
FINGERS CROSSED!!

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