Matthew Warner

Dorchester Publishing / Leisure Books

The big hullabaloo this week in horror publishing is about what appears to be some pretty serious copyright violations by the former #1 mass market publisher of horror. You can read links to the latest news here.

In addition to claims that Leisure hasn’t paid royalties to its authors in a couple years, now authors are saying Leisure is continuing to sell titles to which it has no legal right.

Although I was never a Leisure author (but not for a lack of trying, let me tell you), I can certainly sympathize with other authors’ outrage. If I had received rights to one of my books back from a publisher, and that publisher continued to sell my book anyway, I would be pretty pissed-off, too.

What can a writer do in this situation? Why, sue the shit out of them, of course. “But I don’t have any money,” the writer says. “I can’t even pay my rent. What makes you think I can afford to hire an attorney?”

Well, didn’t you register your copyright with the Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress), before the infringement? Because it says right here in the U.S. Code that you may be able to recover the full costs of your litigation … that, on top of the possibility of a $150,000 statutory damage award, regardless of how much money the defendant may have actually made selling your stuff.

Oh, I see. You didn’t file your copyright form? Ever?