Several authors writing for the industry’s largest romance publisher, Harlequin Enterprises have sued the giant for royalties on their eBooks. The class action suit contends that: “some authors eBook royalties from contracts signed between 1990 and 2004. During those years, these authors “entered agreements” with a Swiss corporation created by the romance publisher.”
It also states: “Harlequin, before and after the signing of these agreements, performed all the publishing functions related to the agreements, including exercising, selling, licensing, or sublicensing the e-book rights granted by the authors. Instead of paying the authors a royalty of 50% of its net receipts as required by the agreements, an intercompany license was created by Harlequin with its Swiss entity resulting in authors receiving 3% to 4% of the e-books’ cover price as their 50% share instead of 50% of Harlequin Enterprises’ receipts.”
There has been no monetary compensation numbers stated at this point. The suit is expected to go before a jury.
Harlequin publisher Donna Hayes stated: “Our authors have been recompensed fairly and properly for their work, and we will be defending ourselves vigorously.” The company added that “this is the first it has heard of the proceedings and that a complaint has not yet been served.”
Harlequin authors are advised: “If you signed a contract with Harlequin Enterprises B.V. or Harlequin Books S.A. between the years 1990-2004, you might be a member of the class. You would need to examine your contracts from that time period and determine whether the contracts mention a specific royalty for electronic or digital rights. This can be found under the “Royalty” section of the contract and will be listed as either 6% or 8% of cover price. If your contract does not contain a specific percentage for electronic or digital sales, then chances are you qualify as a member of the class.”
Additional information for Harlequin authors can be found here.