Friday, June 3, 2011

Bad News From Frank Herbert Estate

Yesterday I got an email from the Frank Herbert Estate - specifically from his Grandson, Byron Merritt.  Byron is a really nice guy and he was very enthusiastic about the storyboards I sent him and the concept of making Dune an interactive book for the iPad.  I'm grateful that he gave me an audience to pitch the concept.

Unfortunately, however, Byron reported that their legal advisor had recommended that they do not license Dune for this kind of project as it might infringe on the eBook rights licensed by Putnam Publishing - Putnam has exclusive rights to publish the eBook version.

It's really unclear if eBook rights owned by publishers extends to app/books which provide a multi-media presentations of the material, but most authors simply don't want to take a risk of violating an exclusive licensing agreement and I can't blame them.  Some day someone will challenge these eBook rights over app/books but for now its a legal gray area.

Putnam is a imprint for Penguin which actually has offices here in Minneapolis so my next step is to approach them about sub licensing or collaborating on a app/book version of Dune.  I don't have high hopes given my experience with HarperCollins UK and Lord of the Rings, but I'm not going to just give up without trying either.

1 comment:

Omphalos said...

It ain't just you. The Herbert Living Parasites say "no" to every projrcy, no matter how meretorious it is.