Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

The Strange Stuff You Have To Watch For In Contracts

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In a rather lengthy comment thread about a new eBook distributor, some elements of their contract came up as ... problematic.  It's the same sorts of things that I've already covered before (and you can join the Digital Publishing G+ group and read the thread and see their responses yourself), but there were some... other parts that I found interesting in section 16 of their Terms of Use.   The part in bold is my response.

NOTE:  The owners of the site said they were taking my comments into consideration, so it may have already changed.  Check here to see for yourself.

[Books distributed on this website must not]

(b)        be obscene or indecent;
I suggest substituting section (l) - which said "be in breach of any legal prohibitions against sale of violent or pornographic material in the United States, the State of New York, or of the country in which the seller is residing or doing business" for this because... well, if someone says "damn", is that obscene?  Is it indecent to breastfeed?

(h)       be in breach of racial or religious hatred or discrimination legislation;

Whose?  Worldwide?  Good luck with that!

(i)        be blasphemous;

According to whom?  Again, see the word "damn" above?  Does that mean Rushdie can't publish there?

(n)        constitute spam;

What is the definition of spam in eBook distribution?

You must not use our website to link to any website or web page consisting of or containing material that would, were it posted on our website, breach the provisions of these terms of use.

What if I link to a website that changes ownership?  Is that my responsibility?

You must not submit to our website any user content that is or has ever been the subject of any threatened or actual legal proceedings or other similar complaint.

This is crap.  You could sue Pope Francis for being Catholic.  I could threaten you with a lawsuit for ANYTHING right now - I'd never win, but it would trigger this clause.
 I understand that booksellers have to CYA as much as anyone else.  But at the same time... this is overreaching and definitely could screw some people over unintentionally (or at least, without malicious intent on their part).

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