Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

CoAuthor copyright regarding spin-off products

Re: co-author agreement to write a humor book with another

person based on their concept. Call the concept ''MonsterMom.''

Agreement states a 50/50 on proceeds and joint copyright. Other

person also has a business designing and selling cards/t-shirts

etc. some of which may say ''MonsterMom.''Person also ran a

defunct website '''' and was

DBA as ''MonsterMom''. If our

co-authored book - let's call it ''MonsterMom's Guide to

Cookie-Baking'' is published can other co-author

manufacture spin-off items (shirts/cards etc.) referring to or

containing the Specific Title of our book - without my permission? I

have no argument with the other coauthor manufacturing items that

say MonsterMom, just with specific use of the title of the book. Also

- would the co-author be able to write other books of similar title i.e

: ''MonsterMom's Guide to Vacation Travel'' etc. etc. without my

permission? At the end of the coauthor agreement is the statement

''It is the intention of this Agreement that the authors be entitled to

equal proceeds from the sale of the Work. No other direct or

indirect compensation is anticipated by this agreement.'' It's that

last sentence that has me worried.

Asked on 10/29/03, 2:58 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys


Re: CoAuthor copyright regarding spin-off products

I would have to review the agreement and if it does not provide for ownership rights on the name a new agreement may be needed to protect you or a reformation of contract action due to mistake if you believed you retained rights to the name. Call me directly at (619) 222-3504.

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Answered on 10/30/03, 11:53 am

Re: CoAuthor copyright regarding spin-off products

You have to look at the agreement and see how the word "Work" is defined. . . that will control. If they defined it as just the monstermom book you're writing together then that's where your compensation will end. . . There are ways to fight this, but it will most likely require litigation. . .

Good Luck.

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Answered on 10/29/03, 6:56 pm

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