As Sally Ride once said, “All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.” If you have recently entered the publishing business, possibly as a self-publisher, a key decision you will have to make is in which territories you plan to distribute your works. Questions regarding sales and distribution can be confusing, especially when you add copyright licenses for third party content into the equation.
When securing permission to use the work of another in your book, one factor to consider is the location of your prospective customers and the method of delivery you will use to give them access to your work. Where will interest in your title be great enough to ensure substantial sales? And will your customers prefer print books or ebooks? Or both?
Also, how will you be distributing your book? Will you be shipping print works to customers or allowing them to download your content? Will you be selling an e-book through the Apple Store? Might you be allowing access to students through a system such as Blackboard (a web-based learning management system)? Will this access only occur in a classroom in the US? The answers to these questions will influence choices on the type of territorial rights to third party content you will seek. Territorial rights are based on the geographic area in which distribution occurs.
Your methods of delivery are tied into copyright owners’ questions regarding territory, and one of the most popular distribution avenues is Amazon. It also is one of the more confusing avenues to figure out from a rights perspective. If you wish for your printed book to be available in the United States on Amazon.com through their Advantage program and you have included copyrighted content belonging to others in it, Amazon indicates you will need to secure North American rights for the copied content. However, if you are selling works with such third party content via the Amazon web site for another country (for example Amazon.de in Germany or Amazon.co.uk in England), you may need world rights for the third party content.
CreateSpace is an Amazon print-on-demand (POD) company that makes copies of books when they are sold and ships them to customers in the US and Europe (England, Germany, Spain, France and Italy). CreateSpace informs clients that do not have world rights to their third party content, but that do have rights to distribute this content in some countries other than the US, that it may be able to provide these clients with a procedure whereby they can sell only to those countries for which they have distribution rights.
If you sell a Kindle ebook version of your book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), your customers from around the world will be able to purchase your book on the following Amazon web sites: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, Amazon.it, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.com.br, Amazon.com.mx, Amazon.com.au, Amazon.ca, Amazon.nl, and Amazon.in.
However, if you have territory rights to specific countries and do not wish to request and pay fees for worldwide rights, the Amazon KDP process allows for Kindle distribution only in the countries for which you hold rights.
Below is a list of Kindle stores in various countries.
• UK Kindle Store: United Kingdom (including Guernsey, Isle of Man, Ireland, Gibraltar, and Jersey)
• DE Kindle Store: Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland
• FR Kindle Store: France, Monaco, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg
• ES Kindle Store: Andorra, Spain
• IT Kindle Store: Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, and Switzerland
• JP Kindle Store: Japan
• NL Kindle Store: Netherlands
• BR Kindle Store: Brazil
• MX Kindle Store: Mexico
• CA Kindle Store: Canada
• IN Kindle Store on www.amazon.com: India
• AU Kindle Store on www.amazon.com.au: Australia
Another important point to remember when considering whether a territory requires permission for the content created by others you wish to include is that copyright duration varies in differing countries. If you are claiming another’s work to be in public domain in certain territories, be sure you are aware of the copyright duration of the work in those territories.
Of course if you have written every word, drawn every illustration, taken every photograph and created every other item in your book, there should be no need to obtain permissions from others and your book can be freely sold on all fronts.
Because rights related to territory do affect your bottom line and your planning strategies regarding sales and distribution, it is an important factor to consider in initial planning.
Want More About Copyright Law?
Order your copy of Copyright Clearance for Creatives for a basic overview of copyright law and essential guidelines on when, how, and where to get permission to use copyright content in your works.