Disassemble the web contract and tell you where the real problem is

The online novel industry has been in the industry for 20 years now, and the contract signed between the author and the website does not know how many versions have changed, and the current mainstream

The online novel industry has been in the industry for 20 years now, and the contract signed between the author and the website does not know how many versions have changed, and the current mainstream online novel contract framework has been around since Shanda acquired the starting point and 17k website construction and digging gods. It has been established, and all subsequent contract versions basically supplement and strengthen restrictions on this basic framework.

In this post, Xu Gongzi wrote in detail about the changes and trends of online text contracts, and will focus on analyzing the “new terms” that are gradually added to different contracts in the follow-up.

Regarding the changes in the existing contract, Xu Gongzi summed it up as follows: the requirements for the author in the original buyout contract were continuously transplanted into the electronic sharing contract, and no consideration was paid.

And what I want now is to talk about the current online text contract from another angle.

In fact, I have talked to my friends about this point of view before, that is, I think the current online text contract, in fact, in terms of specific terms, is to combine three contracts into one, and then let the author sign it uniformly, and through this three contracts The unified contract form hides the unreasonable behavior of the website taking all the copyright of the author without any cost.

The terms of the existing contract are divided into three parts according to the specific type, and the essence of hegemony can be seen more clearly.

The three parts are:

Electronic Copyright Sharing Agreement (most important)

Full copyright agency agreement (the most core)

Acting on behalf of some social accounts with the nature of brokerage contracts (additional)

Let’s talk about the electronic copyright agreement first.

This is the focus of the web contract. It is also the part that is closely related to most authors. The author exclusively authorizes the electronic copyright of his novel to the website for sale, and then divides it proportionally with the website.

This is actually an agreement for the entrusted sale of electronic copyrights, and it is also a more meticulous and detailed part. For the rights and obligations of the author and the website, it is a relatively “equivalent” part.

The terms that fall under this section define the rights and obligations of authors and the site, namely:The author’s obligations The author exclusively authorizes all property rights related parts of the electronic copyright of his novel to the website, and it is irrevocable. The authorization period is the longest period of copyright property rights stipulated by law, which is commonly known as fifty years after death. The author guarantees that the work is independently created by himself, and guarantees that there is no illegal or prohibited content. Content that is not related to the work and the website, especially the content of economic organizations that compete with the website, cannot be published in the work. No agreement, oral, electronic and written, can be entered into with a third party for any work other than this work prior to the expiration of the agreement. Not to participate in any business activities of competitors of the website in any form. Do not distort, slander and damage the website and website image and other authors and works of the website on any platform and channel, and must not publish any negative and negative remarks that damage the image of the website. Do not publish any inappropriate remarks that violate the law and public order and good customs, so as to avoid unreasonable influence on the work. For the rights protection of the works, the assistance must be provided for the protection of the contract content and data. Any transfer of the text work must be notified in writing within one year after the work is completed. The net income of operating expenses is proportionally settled on a regular basis. The website has the right to revise the outline and content of Party B according to market needs. The right to use various methods to promote and offer promotions and discounts, including limited exemptions, discounts and gift coins. Having the right to adopt a new sales model, Party A must understand and agree that all rights protection benefits belong to the website. All benefits minus costs are zero or negative without paying any fees. The right to rescind the contract and withdraw all benefits after being dissatisfied with the outline and works after three reminders

From these comparisons of the rights and obligations of authors and websites, the inequality between authors and websites can be completely seen.

And this part of the inequality is already the most “equal” part of the entire contract, because when the electronic copyright is divided into this part, the website at least provides some creation-related benefits, and there is indeed a website cost.

The other two parts, especially the copyright agency part, are completely empty-handed white wolves.

Why do I say that?

We can make a corresponding scenario assumption for this part of the full copyright exclusive agency clause:

Someone came over and told you, you give me your house and I will sell it for you. After the sale, we will give you five or five points, but in the process of selling, the house does not belong to you, and you can neither use it nor use it. Sell ​​yourself.

When you meet such a person, would you scold him: “Are you stupid? Or do you think I’m stupid!”

But the current online text contract is actually the same thing. The website does not need to pay any price. It is permanently and irrevocable from the author, and the exclusive agent who takes all the additional copyrights of the work, and only shares it with you after it is sold. If the money is not sold, the author not only can’t sell it himself, he can’t even use it himself.

The key here is that there is no cost to a website.

Not only is there no cost, but it never belongs to you from the time you sign it, because the license lasts until fifty years after your death.

Do you feel that fifty years after you die is yours? No. It’s not that the website doesn’t want to last longer, it’s that the national law only protects the property rights of copyrights until fifty years after death. Then it becomes the public domain.

If it is said that in terms of electronic sharing, the website also has its own website construction cost, maintenance cost and traffic cost, then in terms of copyright agency, it is completely cost-free.

Officially, because there is no cost and zero cost, the website can collect all copyrights in an unlimited amount, and even if the website cannot be sold at all, there is no loss. Losses are all unilateral by the author.

That’s the hegemonic and shameless part of this part.

For a website, it is not a loss to get the copyright of a contract and then throw it in the corner, but once it is sold, it is a pure profit.

Officially, because of this completely cost-free copyright agency model, when the author himself contacts the publishing and adaptation copyright, the website also likes to sell it or not. Anyway, it’s not the website that loses.

If the website needs to give a basic fee for the exclusive agent of the full copyright of each book, this fee is the basis for obtaining the exclusive agent and is a guaranteed fee, then when the website obtains the author’s copyright in unlimited quantities, it needs to face a The issue of cost is also motivated to promote the development of copyright more actively after obtaining the copyright. Instead of the current situation, a huge number of works are completely sunk except for a very small number of works.

Correspondingly, the website takes away the part of the author’s social account. According to the contract, the website can “open, manage and operate Weibo, WeChat, blog, QQ group and other social network accounts in the name of Party B and promote it through other channels. Party A has the right to use Party B’s portrait, name, book title, pseudonym, characters, plot props, background, etc. of the agreed works for free in the above-mentioned publicity and promotion process for the promotion of the agreed works and the achievements and benefits of the authors of the agreed works. Publicity materials. At the same time, Party A can use the first 300,000 words of the agreed works for free publicity and promotion in various channels to increase the popularity of the work.”

This part of the terms actually has the nature of a certain broker contract. The website can open a social account in the name of the author, and use the author’s portrait and name for free.

Not only that, but it should be noted here that there is no time limit, but that it can be used after the contract is signed. The reason is to increase the popularity of the work and help the author to promote it. It can also be judged that this article may also be the authorization of the work. The term is the same, until fifty years after death, you can continue to use this article to operate related social accounts in the name of the author.

After synthesizing the above dismantling and analysis of the online text contract, I think that the author groups should strive for and clarify these directions with the website:

1: The relationship between the author and the website must be clearly defined as a collaboration

It must be clear that the author and the website are a peer-to-peer partnership, not a relationship between commissioned creation and job creation. The authoring relationship between the latter two exists, but the model between the author and the website does not apply. If it is determined to be a commission and job model, then all copyrights belong to the website itself, and the second does not belong to the author, and there is no such thing as authorization at all.

This is the essence of the contract, and it is the part that must be clarified.

2: The transparency of relevant income data must be guaranteed.

According to the analysis results from the annual report of China Literature Group yesterday, it is basically believed that WeChat reading and QQ browser should have related income, but why did the author not know this part of the income? Is it a billing cycle issue, or is revenue zero or negative because operating costs that have been in the Schrödinger state offset revenue?

After all, the contract clearly states the deduction of costs, and when the income after deduction of costs (including but not limited to channel fees, operating expenses, etc.) is negative or zero, then Party A does not need to pay any share fee to Party B.

When the author suspects that the manuscript fee, channel fee and operating cost are not transparent, and there are problems with the data, the only thing that can be used is to apply for an audit of the specific financial data through legal channels.

Once this step is reached, it is actually not friendly to the author and the website, so the website must make a commitment to the transparency of the manuscript fee, and write down the method of resolving and negotiating the objection in the contract. It is suggested that it can be agreed in the contract that once there is any objection to the specific income data, a third party can be invited to audit.

As a digression, reading for channel authorization requires that you must be able to view the back-end data of the channel party to ensure the transparency of the channel fee data, so whether it is based on empathy or technical ability, reading can completely Revenue data is more transparent. As for the data on this site, what Feilu can do, don’t say you can’t do it from the beginning.

3: The authorization scope and authorization period of the relevant copyright must be clearly limited

The scope of the written works in the contract has been widened. Some friends in the group joked that if you were to write a novel in Reading, the wills written within one year would become the copyright of Reading, and the website could be modified!

This situation does not occur, but it is completely possible in theory, so it seems that this request is absurd. In reality, things that may be encountered, such as papers, assignments, codes, letters, etc., are completely outside the literary works. I even wonder, do students’ exam papers count?

Therefore, the broad concept of written works should be clearly defined in terms of genre and word count.

At the same time, the website occupies the entire copyright of the author’s work without cost, until the limit stipulated by law, and fifty years after his death, this extremely unfair and unreasonable authorization method must also be changed.

However, I am personally pessimistic about changing the license period of the website. I don’t think China Literature Group and the new team of China Literature Group have the courage to make concessions on such fundamental interests.

For this part, I hope that the revision of the Copyright Law will protect the basic rights of content creators by law.


On May 6, the forum in Beijing has ended. At present, the two clear results are that the author can choose not to use the free channel, and the author must agree to the copyright authorization. Both of these results are meaningful for the current contract.

In particular, the second one, which belongs to the popular proposal of the author’s group in recent years, can be confirmed, which is a success.

In the matter of the symposium, the participating authors are actually under pressure from both sides, and they are fighting for the interests of all author groups.

I heard that in addition to the identified parts at the forum in Beijing, issues such as cracking down on piracy, transparency of manuscript fees, and the scope and duration of contract authorization were also mentioned, but they did not and could not be determined on the spot. efforts to further identify these issues.

The forum is the communication between authors and websites within the industry, and the revision of copyright law is the guarantee of basic rights and interests at the level of national policy and legal system. The two are not contradictory and are not a choice between two.

As I said before, in this matter, all authors are natural teammates and should not be inflicted.

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