The World's Authors Demand Updated Contract Terms

The Writers’ Union of Canada today published an open letter to Canada's publishers as part of a global effort by author groups to address outdated contract terms in the agreements between authors and publishers. Author organizations in Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, and around the world have joined with the US Authors Guild and the International Authors Forum to draw attention to the way author contracts have not kept pace with the massive changes in publishing and bookselling.

The groups are rallying around a series of new principles for author contracts, addressing new digital realities, disruptive changes to the marketplace, and the work that authors are now contracted to do.

From the open letter:

"There is no question the economic reality for Canadian authors has deteriorated in the years corresponding with massive changes in the publishing industry. TWUC’s 2015 income survey report shows that author incomes have declined 27% since 1998, and that, distressingly, annual writing income is below the poverty line for 80% of Canada’s writers. These findings are mirrored by similar studies in both the US and UK. The reasons for this decline are complex, and contract terms are not solely to blame, but they are part of the mix and need to be addressed."

See TWUC's full open letter here.

See the Authors Guild's Fair Contract Initiative here.

See the UK's Society of Authors open letter here.

See the International Authors Forum's Ten Principles for Fair Contracts here.

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The Writers' Union of Canada is our country's national organization representing professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.

For additional information:

Heather Menzies
Chair, The Writers' Union of Canada

John Degen
Executive Director, The Writers’ Union of Canada
Chair, International Authors Forum
416-703-8982 x 221 or