Some (advanced) Questions/Answers about the
ReLIRE opt out system
:: Clean Edit::
- Can’t we opt-out our whole body of work in one time / one move / once and for all (because we’ll never want any of our books to fall into the hands of their société de gestion collective?
At the beginning, it was not possible at all.
But the Author’s Rights Societies battling this new Law made of this point one of their chief demands, along with the reverse of the core of the system: i.e. transform the opt-out into an opt-in.
The first demand, at the least, received a mild “we will think about it” from the representatives of ‘the other side’. Very recently, a new line appeared on the website’s FAQ:
« Il est possible de joindre à ce formulaire une liste complémentaire de livres sur lesquels vous souhaitez faire opposition, et de transmettre le formulaire et la liste complémentaire, accompagnés des pièces justificatives requises, » = “You may join to the form you send to THEM (step 2, the “folder” with proofs) a complementary list of Books that you wish to opt-out” BUT you will have to provide the “proofs” for each one of these Books, mind! (« accompagnés des pièces justificatives requises »). So please take heed that « a list of all your books » will not be enough.
Commentary on this point: This new precision of the ReLIRE FAQ may mean that you’re free to add to your opt-out file relating to Works included in their database a list of Works of yours which are not included in the database yet, but are (because those Works were published in France prior to 2001) subjected to the framework of the ReLIRE Law, and will probably appear in the annual lists they intend to spawn. Though the sentence is not so clear on this point, it does not specifically state otherwise, and so represents an “open door” to an anticipated action ( = opting-out your books before they bring them into the List).
Should you do it? Should you take this step before they target the Works concerned? Could be worth a try. They don’t ask here for a “complete” list, so it won’t bar you from opting-out, later, a Work that you forgot to mention. But it’s a “beginning of proof”, according to the French Law = if they ignore your “anticipated opt-out” and add those Works to their database later. So… yes, you certainly should use this possibility to protect all the Works that were published in French prior to 2001.
BUT as you’ll have to provide all the annoying “proofs” they ask for each opt-out, it will also give you extra paperwork to do, and will probably slow down the process.
It could make sense, then, to opt-out the endangered books (the ones currently on the List) while the countdown is running, and to send them a separate letter, later, when the emergency is dealt with, and before the next annual List pops-up. Up to you to make up your mind!
- They are allowed to judge and reject our request. Though they didn’t ask for copy of the Contracts, shouldn’t we join a copy of the Contracts, if we still have them in store?
They don’t ask for such documents, that’s true, but nothing forbids you to do so. They will have to give a verdict about our Rights, and the Publishing Contracts certainly are good proofs. Moreover when these Contracts state that you didn’t transfer the Digital Rights, isn’t it? Considering that we have a limited time to opt-out, and that nothing is said of our means to “oppose their rejection”, I think that “extra-proof” could be useful.
You should, when you send your final opt-out Folder (including the Proofs) join a list of all the proofs and documents you included. If they don’t contest specifically this List, it equals to admittance, under French Law, that they did receive the listed-by-you papers.
You should, also, request/demand an answer by means similar to the mean they asked from you: official letter with a Return Receipt. They owe you, according to French regulations, this politeness, as they asked the same thing from you.
- Should we ask for help from the French Publisher who issued the book?
Yes! if your relationship with him/her is still good (if you didn’t break up in some nasty disagreement, as it happens quite often in our field). The publisher should help you through this, and be aware that this Law displeases you. If the Publishers understand that this Law could deprive them of any future collaboration with you, even the most (paste here your favorite word for “bad publishers good to be send to Hell”)… publisher will see that it’s in his best interest to stand up and fight for you. It’s, at the least, a good test to see if your French Publisher is worthy, or not.
- What about my readers / fans / street teams? Should I enlist them for this fight?
Yes. The best way to stop this Machine is to show ReLire that this “good idea” will cost more money than it will bring in. Lately, some readers here issued a petition including a “promise to boycott the books published without the Right-Holders consent, and all the books, as a whole, of any Publishing House taking part in this violation”. If this action is followed, it could make a HUGE difference. This Law establishes a concept of “the public’s welfare” versus “the followed, it could make a HUGE difference. This Law establishes a concept of “the public’s welfare” versus “the Author’s Right” (oh oh… Where is John Galt? ). If the PUBLIC protests strongly against this concept… we win. My opinion.
- Here is the link to this Petition – English translation available below the text in French:
- You can also sign the petition against this Law, launched by one of the most active Societies, if you wish - You can sign the petition against this Law, launched by Le Droit du Serf one of the most active Societies, if you wish - Here, online:
http://www.petitionpublique.fr/PeticaoListaSignatarios.aspx?page=4&pi=P2012N21047 (I asked the staff for an English version online, and they’re giving it a good thought, but it’s not done yet. )
- What about Foreign « Author’s Society »? Couldn’t they address the problem in the behalf of all their members, and with the weight that the number of their members gives them?
Yes. Could be a good idea and several Societies are taking measures, already. Many aspects in this system make the process moreover difficult for foreigners. Beginning with the unfairness of an opt-out system impracticable for people who do not speak French. This aspect of the situation is completely unacceptable. It represents a supplementary mortgage on the Rights of the « Translated authors ». As Foreigners, they should be treated with more politeness and benefit of more time, and help. Instead, authors, Societies, or volunteers like us must do the BnF’s work in its stead, once more, in order to cope with the emergency level of the situation. This is a fool’s game. We’ll list up the Societies aware of the problem here : http://nitchevo.net/Agency/Actions.html
TO BE CONTINUED…
Here we are for now.
The situation, of course, is in a state of constant evolution. The writers are vehemently opposing it. The Press begins to talk about it, but the echoes are surprisingly rare, and many actors of this scene (artists, publishers, bookshops, but also lawyers) are still completely unaware of what’s taking place in this area of shadows, imprecision, and misconduct. Though the Paris Book Fair kept the Adversary busy for a large part of March, they are very probably monitoring right now the flood of reactions, and answering it especially in the area of the « Foreign problem », by trying to hide their mistake by pushing the most prominent of the blunders under the carpet: i.e. by erasing books that appeared on the base until these books were spotted by the opposition, and commentated online. A childlike reaction, well assorted to the Parade they’re giving us to behold and bear with. Send in the Clowns! It may surprise you a bit, but the inception of the online List was hurried in order to be highlighted during the Paris Book Fair. They wanted to do a good comm’ job about their « so good idea » and expected… to be praised. The reaction they received from the writers (at point blank range!) was… quite different, of course. But, whatever… the situation changes everyday or such (not for the good, right now). They will probably try to amend details in the system in order to calm down the protest and in the hope that, if they throw us a few crumbs, we will relent. They are mistaken here.
You should stay tuned, and monitor the evolution of the problem, for we can’t know, by now, how this horror can evolve, and to which limits it might well be able to spread.
Look for UPDATES here