Book or music publishing agreement

This is a straight forward but comprehensive publishing agreement for use by either an author/composer or a publisher. It is a flexible agreement, providing an ideal framework for publishing any created work.
Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this document

This agreement grants a licence to a publisher to reproduce and sell a written work, and provides a means for the author or composer to exploit commercially the created intellectual property in the work.

The work could be of any size, complexity and for any purpose. For example, it could be a book, memoirs, a short story, a music score, a song, a script, or a book to be converted into a script. It could also be a series of works, such as poems or articles or an album of music.

This contract preserves the originator’s rights to sell the same material in different markets, to other publishers, in other media and territories, and for other uses. It preserves moral rights as the author.

The template could be edited by either side. As is, it provides legal protection for both sides in reasonable balance.

For example, it covers subsidiary rights in detail so that the author may receive different levels of royalty for different areas of marketing. Payment terms are also covered in great detail, so as to make clear exactly what will be paid to the author, how and when.

There is also protection for the publisher in several important areas.

Alternatives to this agreement

This agreement contains provisions that are special to the book and music publishing industry. If your created work is not directly in either of those sectors, you may decide instead to consider a more general copyright licence agreement.

For a comprehensive version of the sale agreement consider an IP rights sale agreement, which deals with rights for multiple forms of republication.


The subjects covered in this agreement include:

  • Definitions and interpretation
  • Warranties and understandings
  • Author’s warranties and representations
  • Publishers control of publication and requirement for bibliography
  • The licence
  • The royalties and payment provisions - in detail
  • Subsidiary rights
  • Protection of author’s rights
  • Dealing with third party infringement of copyright
  • Confidentiality
  • Indemnities
  • Other matters relating to enforcement and other legal issues

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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