Author: Arthur Froost

Buy a Flat Panel Monitor

Arguably the best thing about the flat panel monitors is that they save over a square foot of room on your desk. Old school monitors are big, bulky and outdated. Most people are looking forward and changing over their offices to flat panel monitors. If you are looking for a new alternative for the large, bulky monitor you have in your home, a flat screen is the perfect solution. Many models are able to covert to a televison screen simply by pressing a button! This way you can have a high def experience while sending emails or watching your favorite show!
Another great feature about the flat screens are the USB ports. Say goodbye to the old days of having to move your big bulky computer around to plug in your digital cable. Today’s flat screen monitors have USB ports right on them so it’s easy to plug and play.

Flat panels are quickly becoming more known for their clear picture. The flat panels are brighter which makes graphics and text easier to see. Although the flat panels are generally crisper, some come with the option of digital or analog. Most have capabilities for both, but digital is sharper and has the better image. The digital flat panels usually run a little bit higher in cost, but any digital user will tell you, they’re worth every penny.

Although the flat panels may be a little more pricy up front, they are actually quite practical in the long run. Since the flat panels are smaller are more efficient, to run, they will save you money in energy costs.

They’re not cheap (though they save in energy costs).

While they’ve come down in price, there’s still no getting around it: You’ll pay a bit more for flat panels (although the gap in prices from CRT monitors has narrowed). That’s because they’re more difficult to manufacture.

Electronic Equipment Repair

Do not give in to pressure from parents or other forces or base your decision on the money will make. You may get a good paying job but you may not necessarily be happy. If your work does not match your values, interests and personality, it will not be long before you feel the strain. You need the passion in you to keep yourself going on bad days.

Sometimes being passionate about your career is not good enough. You should consistently plan and prepare to ensure that your technical skills and abilities are on par with your career ambitions. Let’s take this for example, if you want to be a good electronic repairer, you need to stay ahead of the learning curve and update yourself on new technical issues.

Ok, let’s come back the topic of “You can do all kinds of electronic equipment repair”. Why I want to bring up the word “Passion” because only passion that can help you to repair the equipment. Passion in you will tell you not to give up and continue to find the answers for the electronic problems. Passion in you will drive you to even a greater level of learning and understanding of electronics troubleshooting. Passion in you that motivates you to come out with new ideas of repairing and passion in you will help to guide you on what are the next steps you should make.

If you do not have the passion for electronics, I guess you will find this article boring and immediately exit this article as fast as I sent it to you. Well, I hope you are not because I presumed you love electronics otherwise you would not have subscribed to become the ERG member.

First you must know how to test and measure electronic components. There is no point for you even if you could able to identify the defective circuit in the equipment if you don’t know how to check and measure basic electronic components. Assuming you have locate that the vertical section was at fault causing one horizontal line in the display, but because you are weak in testing electronic components, voltage checking or even scope probing, your percentage of able to repair the Monitor would be not high. In order to overcome this problem, you must be able to test and check electronic components accurately by doing lots of practical test and read more information about electronic components either from the repair books or from the internet. You must pass this test first before going further. Once you had grasped the techniques of accurately testing electronic components, you have won 50 % of the battle.

Second, no matter what kind of electronic equipment you are repairing it will always start from “how this electronic equipment works”. If you don’t know how the equipment function or work, you will have the disadvantage and may completely can’t repair it. Take a look at this example, if the Monitor problem is in the horizontal section and you conclude that the problem is in the vertical section, you will lost countless of hours trying to find the faulty parts where actually the caused of the problem is in the horizontal section. In other words, if you do not know how electronic equipment works you will not know at where you want to begin the repair.

This scenario happened very common to beginners where they just started out in the repair field. In order to solve this problem, get the electronic board back home or whatever place you find convenience where you can slowly analyse the electronic circuits. Ask yourself these questions such as “why this board need to have the optoisolator in the power supply”? Is the optoisolator functions are for overvoltage or overcurrent protection and etc? What is the part number of the optoisolator? What is inside this optoisolator and how to test it to confirm whether it is good or bad? What would happen if the optoisolator developed a short circuit? Will it cause the power supply to shutdown, produce low power or even power blink?

Hope you get what I mean. By asking questions yourself, you are actually training your mind to understand more about electronics (in the above case is the optoisolator). Using this way on other parts of the circuits in the board and I’m sure one day you will definitely truly understand the electronic equipment that you are trying to repair. If you can’t find the answer, refer to electronics books, electronic repair forum or just surf the internet from different search engine (we have google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com, ask.com and etc) to get the answer you want.

Third, you need a schematic diagram to back up on what you are trying to understand on that particular electronic equipment. If you want to understand how LCD Monitor works then you should buy or download free LCD Monitor schematic diagram and start to practice how each of the circuits works. Break the circuits into different sections thus we have the power supply section, inverter, LCD panel, mainboard and etc. Study and understand each of these circuits and start to ask questions as explained in the above. Similarly, this example is applicable to you if you want to repair Plasma or LCD TV or whatever electronic equipment.

Fourth, investing in you-Invest in yourself. Notice that the first rule of investment isn’t “invest in your business” or anything else other than yourself. While investing and reinvesting into your repairing business is important, investing in yourself is your first priority of investing. You may ask “What to invest in yourself”? When I said, “invest in yourself”, I really meant that you should invest in your education (electronic repair courses), testing equipment, electronic repair books (either eBooks or physical books as long as the information are very helpful), schematic diagrams, tools and other necessary things making yourself better than you were yesterday. I think that by not investing in yourself by saving the little money you have actually had robs you of your technical knowledge (that you should know) or even financial independence! Why allow the excuse of not having money steal your technical knowledge (that you should add more) from you? In the technical line, one should have to go forward and not backward or “still” for such a long time. That kind of “still” mindset not only didn’t bring improvement to your technical knowledge but also your life.

There was a saying which I found it to be true-“There are three types of persons in the world:

  • The one who make things happen.
  • The one who wait for things to happen
  • The one who doesn’t know what happen.

I wish that you are not in the third category. You should be in the first category where you make things happen and not to wait for things to happen. Make your decision now as not to wait for things to happen. If you found that there are websites selling information like the training manuals, schematic diagrams or even repair tips that can help you to understand more about the electronic equipment you are repairing then buy it. Let me tell you another fact is that “no one will walk to you and show you how this or that functions in full details” you just have to make things happen by finding your own answers from the information you had bought. How many times have you post questions in the repair forum and you did no get the reply? If you are the one in the second category (wait for things to happen) I can guarantee that even after many years in the electronic repair line you will still loose out to a beginner who has the mindset of making things happen. Those beginners have the mindset of moving forward, invest (time and money), never give up, and willing to learn.

Conclusion-Do you believe now that you can do all kind of electronic equipment repair? I believe you can if you carefully follow the steps that I had explained above. The reason I write this article is to tell you that do not limit yourself, give yourself a chance to change! People just don’t like changes, they like their routine things but if you are able to make changes in your mindset, you can actually go further of what you are doing RIGHT NOW! Think about it my friend.

Bar Code Label Printers

Bar code label printers are generally the most common dot matrix, laser, and ink jet and thermal printers. Dot matrix printers are one of the oldest printers used for printing bar codes. In these printers, the lines are built dot-by-dot as a solenoid-driven needle strikes an ink ribbon, transferring the ink to the paper. These printers are inexpensive, can print any form and are easily accessible. However, the quality dot matrix printer is unacceptable today. Ink jet printers are one of the most commonly used printers, especially for high-speed applications. They can also be used to print directly onto a carton where a label has already been affixed.

However, they are suitable for only high-speed printing and may not be very cost-effective for small-scale bar code printing operations. Ink jet clogging, limited barcode resolution, “bleeding” ink, and poor contrasts are some of the disadvantages. Laser printers are quite good as far as the quality of the print is concerned. They have very good resolutions and can scan quite well. However, they cannot effectively print smaller labels. The adhesive on the labels has to be good enough to take the heat and pressure from the printer as most label adhesive tend to melt. Thermal printers for bar coding are of two types: direct printing and thermal transfer.

Bar code printers have to be analyzed on the basis of: quality of the print, readability, initial installation cost, speed, long-term maintenance cost, materials waste. Each of these printers has different results. Thermal label printers score well on all aspects except for material waste. They are most suitable for applications that have variable data fields, point-of application systems, varying label sizes, graphical and scalable text fonts, and high-definition bar codes. They are also compact, quiet, and have lower operating costs.

Today, there are special bar code label printers available with various options like different print modes, label cutter, liner take-up, peel, rewind, tear, real-time clock (for printing time and expiration dates); alerts for maintenance; portability, compatibility with parallel; serial, USB, wired or wireless Ethernet, twinax or coax cables; memory for storing frequently used data; font options like styles and colors; multi-lingual options; sensors and many more. These printers are also compatible with different sizes and materials of labels, including water-resistant, fabric or acrylic.

PCMCIA Sound Cards

All laptops have the PCMIA card slots on them. Originally, PCMIA only produced PC cards to add extra memory to the computer. But with the advent of multimedia technology, they have been producing other types of PC cards for different purposes. One of these is the PCMIA sound card.

This audio card works pretty much like your garden-variety sound card. The only difference is that this one is attached to a laptop. For purposes of temperature regulation and to maximize space, an external sound card is the next best thing to use in laptop computers. It has the same functionality as any other external sound card and, it also has three kinds for you to choose from depending on your preference.

Again, choosing the right PCMIA sound card for your laptop depends on what you would like the audio functionality for. If you use your laptop for simple audio purposes like listening to music every now and then, you can go for the 2.1 PCMIA audio card. If you’re a movie buff and are very particular with audio quality, you should get the 7.1 kind. Of course, there’s always the 5.1 type which is sort of the middle ground option. Just make sure that your laptop can handle the high-end variety so you can maximize the audio quality produced by your PCMIA card.

Mouse Trays

A mouse tray can be adjusted to the appropriate height, rotation and tilt to accommodate different types of users. Many models can be installed at the side of your computer desk or keyboard tray to free up desk space. It may also include a wrist rest to reduce hand strain and injury.

The types of mouse trays available in the market

  • Clamp-on models – This type comes with a thick clip that clamps onto the side or the surface of a computer desk. It is less secure than a mounted tray, but it is easier to assemble and remove.
  • Mounted model – This model features a mounting arm that can be fixed on or beneath the shelf of computer table. It is fastened separately from the keyboard shelf. A few of the models available with this type swivel or rotates to accommodate the user’s posture or position while using the computer.
  • Slide-out models – This type can be hidden discretely under your keyboard’s tray and slides out when you need to use it.

Helpful tips to remember when buying your own mouse tray

  • Choose a mouse tray made out of durable material, specifically one that is made out of medium density fiberboard (MDF). This material retains its form despite heavy weight and constant use.
  • If you prefer a tray that swivels, choose a tray that rotates up to 360 degrees to give you full control over angle and position.

Keeping Electronics Clean

It is always advisable to read through the user manual before you start cleaning your electronic devices. In case of any doubts, always take the recommendations of an electrician or the manufacturer. Electronic gadgets such as microwaves, water purifiers, cameras and refrigerators should be opened only by trained technicians. In case of mobile phones, clocks with electronic displays, personalized organizers, etc, they could cancel or void the warranty, if tampered with.

While cleaning any type of electronic gadget, always unplug the connection before you start cleaning it to avoid any surprises! Check for any cuts as ignoring these could cause electric shocks or short circuits. Always pay extra attention to parts like the screen or any circuits inside or outside your electronic gadgets. Never pour or spray fluids onto or into electronic devices. Always place the liquid on a soft cloth before applying. Before cleaning, always move your electronic devices from high places to a more accessible area.

Soft cloth (preferably electrostatic) or micro fiber cloth (in case of CD or DVD cleaning), Isopropyl alcohol, screwdriver, compressed air or mini-vacuum cleaner or drier, ammonia free glass cleaner, cotton swabs are some of the materials you need to have on hand, when you get around to cleaning your electronic gadgets and devices. However, in case of computer fans, be extra careful as the compressed air could damage or increase the speed of the fan. Preferably, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the fan in a computer, CD/DVD players or recorders, so that the dust does not blow into sensitive mechanisms. Use mild cleanser to clean any stains on your gadgets, but ensure you blow-dry it before you connect it back.

Taking simple precautionary measures when cleaning your electronic devices, not only helps to maintain the device’s life, but also gives you a great feeling of satisfaction in owning clean, working equipment. So the next time your DVD player or your computer fan start acting funny, you know what you have to do!

Publishing And Digital And Electronic

  • “Electronic Right[s]” And “Digital Right[s]” Are Not Self-Defining.

All publishing lawyers, entertainment attorneys, authors, and others must be very careful about the use of jargon – publishing industry jargon, or otherwise. Electronic and digital publishing is a recent phenomenon. Although as a publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney and unlike some others, I tend to use the phrase “electronic right” or even “digital right” in the singular number, there probably tends to be no single consensus as to what constitutes and collectively comprises the singular “electronic right” or “digital right”. There has not been sufficient time for the publishing, media, or entertainment industries to fully crystallize accurate and complete definitions of phrases like “electronic publishing”, “web publishing”, “electronic right[s]”, “e-rights”, “digital rights”, or “first electronic rights”.

These phrases are therefore usually just assumed or, worse yet, just plain fudged. Anyone who suggests that these phrases alone are already self-defining, would be wrong.

Accordingly, anyone, including a publishing lawyer or paralegal representing a book publisher or entertainment lawyer representing a studio or producer, who says that an author should do – or not do – something in the realm of the “electronic right” or “digital right” because it is “industry-standard”, should automatically be treated with suspicion and skepticism.

The fact of the matter is, this is a great era for authors as well as author-side publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, and they should seize the moment. The fact that “industry-standard” definitions of the electronic right and digital right have yet to fully crystallize, (if indeed they ever do), means that authors and author-side publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys can take advantage of this moment in history.

Of course, authors can also be taken advantage of, too – particularly those not represented by a publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney. There is a long and unfortunate history of that happening, well prior to the advent of the electronic right and digital right. It has probably happened since the days of the Gutenberg Press.

Every author should be represented by a publishing lawyer, entertainment attorney, or other counsel before signing any publishing or other agreement, provided that their own economic resources will allow it. (But I am admittedly biased in that regard). Part of the publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney’s function in representing the author, is to tease apart the different strands that collectively comprise the electronic right or digital right. This must be done with updated reference to current technology. If your advisor on this point is instead a family member with a Smith-Corona cartridge typewriter or a Commodore PET, rather than an entertainment attorney or publishing lawyer, then it may be time to seek a new advisor.

Even authors who cannot afford publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney counsel, however, should avoid agreeing in writing to give broad contractual grants to publishers of “electronic publishing” – or the “electronic right”, or “electronic rights” or “digital rights”, or the “digital right”. Rather, in the words of “Tears For Fears”, the author and author counsel had “better break it down again”. Before agreeing to grant anyone the author’s “digital right: or “electronic right”, or any elements thereof, the author and his or her publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney need to make a list of all the possible and manifold electronic ways that the written work could be disseminated, exploited, or digitally or electronically otherwise used. Notice that the author’s list will likely vary, month to month, given the fast pace of technological advancements. For example, these kinds of questions can be considered by the author and publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney alike:

Electronic Digital Right Question #1, Asked By The Publishing Lawyer/Entertainment Attorney To The Author: Can the work be published in whole or in part on the Internet? In the context of an “e-zine”? Otherwise? If so, how? For what purpose? Free to the reader? For a charge to the reader?

Electronic Digital Right Question #2, Asked By The Publishing Lawyer/Entertainment Attorney To The Author: Can the work be disseminated through private e-mail lists or “listservs”? Free to the reader? For a charge to the reader?

Electronic Digital Right Question #3, Asked By The Publishing Lawyer/Entertainment Attorney To The Author: Can the work be distributed on CD-Rom? By whom? In what manner and context?

Electronic Digital Right Question #4, Asked By The Publishing Lawyer/Entertainment Attorney To The Author: To what extent does the author, himself or herself, wish to self-publish this work, either before or after granting any electronic right or any individual “electronic publishing” rights therein to someone else? Will such self-publication occur on or through the author’s website? Otherwise?

Electronic Digital Right Question #5, Asked By The Publishing Lawyer/Entertainment Attorney To The Author: Even if the author does not self-publish, to what extent does the author wish to be able to use and disseminate this writing for his or her own portfolio, publicity, or self-marketing purposes, and perhaps disseminate that same writing (or excerpts thereof) electronically? Should that be deemed invasive of, or competitive with, the electronic right as otherwise contractually and collectively constituted?

The above list is illustrative but not exhaustive. Any author and any publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney will likely think of other elements of the electronic and digital right and other uses as well. The number of possible uses and complexities of the electronic right[s] and digital right[s] definitions will increase as technology advances. In addition, different authors will have different responses to the publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney, to each of the carefully-itemized questions. Moreover, the same author may be concerned with the electronic right in the context of one of his/her works, but may not care so much in the context of a second and different work not as susceptible to digital right exploitation. Therefore, the author must self-examine on these types of electronic and digital right questions before responding to the author’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney and then entering into each individual deal. Only by doing so can the author avoid the pitfalls and perils of relying upon lingo, and relying upon someone else to dictate to them what is the electronic right or digital right “industry standard”. As the publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney should opine, “There is no such thing as ‘industry standard’ in the context of a bilaterally-negotiated contract. The only standard that you the author should be worried about is the motivational ‘standard’ known as: ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get'”.

Finally, the author should be aware that while the electronic right, digital right, and components thereof can be expressly granted, they can also be expressly reserved to the author, by a mere stroke of the pen or keystroke made by the publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney. For example, if an author wants to expressly reserve the “portfolio uses” mentioned in Electronic Digital Right Question #5 above, then the author should ask his or her publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney to clearly recite this reservation of the author portfolio electronic/digital right in the contract, and leave nothing to chance. In addition, if the author has some negotiating leverage, the author, through the publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney, may be able to negotiate the “safety net” of a “savings clause” which provides words to the effect that: “all rights not expressly granted to publisher, be it an electronic right or digital right or otherwise, are specifically reserved to author for his/her sole use and benefit”. That way, the “default provision” of the contract may automatically capture un-granted rights including any electronic or digital right for the author’s later use. This publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney drafting technique has likely saved empires in the past.

  • Publishers and Entertainment Companies Are Revising Their Boilerplate Agreements, As We Speak, In An Effort To Secure The Electronic Right[s].

It is well-known and should come as no surprise that right now, as we speak, publishers and their in-house and outside counsel publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys are furiously re-drafting their boilerplate contracts to more thoroughly capture the digital and electronic right – that is, all of an author’s digital and electronic rights. The typical publishing agreement drafted by a company-side publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney will recite a broad grant of rights, then followed by a whole laundry-list of “including but not limited to” examples. If the author receives such an onerous-looking rights passage from a publisher or the publisher’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney, the author should not be intimidated. Rather, the author should look at it as an opportunity to make some money and have some fun. The author can first compare the list suggested in Electronic Digital Right Questions #1 through #5 above, to the publisher’s own laundry-list and the author’s own imagination. Then, the author can decide which if any of the separate digital or electronic rights the author wants to fight to keep for himself or herself.

If the publisher tells the author to blindly subscribe to their entire digital or electronic right[s] clause (or clauses), then the author still has the ultimate leverage, which is to walk away from the proposed deal prior to signature. Of course, this strategic approach wouldn’t be advisable in most cases – unless perhaps if the author has other written offers from other publishers already on the table. However, an author shouldn’t be forced by any publisher or any company-side publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney to sign away the electronic right, digital right, or any other rights that the author would rather keep – particularly rights which the author never specifically intended to shop to the publisher in the first instance.

The author should keep in mind the psychology and motivations of the publishers and their publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney counsel when doing all of this. A Vice-President (or above) at the publishing company probably woke up one recent morning, and realized that his/her company lost a great deal of money on a particular project by not taking a prospective license or assignment of an electronic right or digital right from another author. The VP probably then blamed the company’s in-house legal department publishing lawyers or entertainment attorneys, who in turn started frantically re-drafting the company boilerplate to assuage the angry publishing executive and thereby keep their jobs. When in-house publishing lawyers, entertainment attorneys, or others engage in this type of practice (some may call it “drafting from fear”), they tend to go overboard.

Accordingly, what you will probably see is a proverbial “kitchen sink” electronic right clause which has been newly-drafted and perhaps even insufficiently reviewed by the company-side publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, internally and themselves – wherein the publisher will ask the author for every possible electronic and digital right and every other thing, including (without limitation) the kitchen sink. The only response to such a broad-band electronic right or digital right clause is a careful, deliberate, and methodical reply.

Using the approach outlined in Section #1 above, the author and the author’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney counsel must separately tease apart each use and component of the electronic right and digital right that the publisher’s broad-band clause might otherwise capture, and then opine to the publisher a “yes” or a “no” on each line-item. In other words, the author, through his or her publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney, should exercise his or her line-item veto. It’s the author’s writing that we are talking about, after all. The author should be the one to convert the singular “electronic right” or “digital right” into the laundry-list of electronic rights. That’s why I use the singular number when referring to “electronic right” or “digital right” – I like to let the technologically-advanced author have all the fun making the list. That way, too, the author can tell me what he or she thinks the phrases actually mean, and what the difference between the two meanings really is, if anything.

Next, a few words in defense of the publishers and the publishing lawyers that work for them!

Up to now, this article discussed how phrases like the “digital right” or “electronic right” should not be assumed to be self-defining, even by and between publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, and how it is incumbent upon authors to reserve needed rights like the digital right or the electronic right to themselves in the context of a publishing deal. Next up, let’s examine concepts such as the digital right or electronic right from the perspective of the publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney, and the standpoint of fairness – who between author and publisher should in fact hold on to the digital right and electronic right, once and assuming that they are first properly defined?

  • Yes, Digital Right And Electronic Right Uses Do Compete With Traditional Book Publishing Uses.

A publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney may be called upon to handle an author-side deal. A publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney may also be called upon to handle, under different factual circumstances, a publisher-side deal. So, now, a few words in defense of publishers, I suppose.

There is a perception in the author and Internet communities that publishers should not be taking broad grants of the digital right or electronic right from authors, since “digital rights and electronic rights do not compete or interfere with traditional book publishing and other media rights”.

Not true. Not anymore. For proof of that fact, ask a few veteran news desk editors whether or not they followed, or were otherwise concerned about, what appeared on the Drudge Report during the Clinton administration. Ask the CFO’s or in-house publishing lawyers of a few traditional encyclopedia companies how they feel about Wikipedia.

Incidentally, although as a publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney and unlike some others, I tend to use the phrase “electronic right” or even “digital right” in the singular number, there probably tends to be no single consensus as to what constitutes and collectively comprises the singular “electronic right” or “digital right”. There has not been sufficient time for the publishing, media, or entertainment industries to fully crystallize accurate and complete definitions of phrases like “electronic publishing”, “web publishing”, “electronic right[s]”, “e-rights”, “digital right[s]”, or “first electronic rights”.

Nevertheless, electronic media and specifically the digital right and electronic right, have already changed our history. You can be sure that they will have some effect, at a minimum, on most author’s individual publishing deals henceforth, and will be the fodder of publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney discussion for years to come. The fact is, electronic uses inherent in the digital right and the electronic right already do compete with older, more traditional uses – particularly because digital and electronic uses are cheaper and faster to deploy, and can potentially reach millions of users in less than, as Jackson Browne might say, the blink of an eye.

Commerce is increasingly relying upon the Internet and other electronic phenomena, and the linchpin of this reliance is the digital right and electronic right. After all, you are reading this article, and ostensibly gleaning some information or material from it. The Web, for example, has already put a sizable dent in dictionary and encyclopedia sales, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably an employee in a dictionary or encyclopedia publishing company or publishing lawyer in-houser in denial of the digital and electronic right, trying to protect his/her stock options. As the recent and well-known Stephen King pilot program will attest, fiction is the next subject matter area to be affected. Many of us book lovers including publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys don’t like to think about it, but bound hard-copy books may soon become the sole province of book collectors and publishing lawyer vanity bookcases alone. The vast majority of book readers, however, may so wholly embrace the digital right and electronic right that they soon even lose the patience to wait for their “amazon.com” mailed shipment.

Very few people who work in the publishing, media, and entertainment industries, including as amongst fair-minded publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, should dispute that electronic uses inherent in the digital right and electronic right can easily cannibalize the older and more traditional forms and formats. This cannibalization will only increase, not decrease, as time goes on. Again, the author should put himself/herself in the mind-set of the publisher or its in-house publishing lawyer, when having this digital right/electronic right argument with the publisher or publishing lawyer. The publisher otherwise may want to invest marketing and personnel support in the author’s work, and perhaps even pay the author an advance for the writing. In their view, though, the publisher’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney argues, why should they do so, and not also capture the author’s digital right or electronic right?

The last thing that the publisher or its publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney wants to do is to pay the author – and then discover that the author has “scooped” the publication with the author-reserved digital right or electronic right, stolen the publisher’s proverbial fire, and undermined the publisher’s investment in the author and the writing. The concern of the publisher and the book company’s in-house publishing lawyer or outside entertainment attorney is rational and valid. If the publisher allows the author to potentially undercut the book by exploiting author’s reserved digital right or electronic right, then the publisher is threatening the publisher’s own investment in the author and in the written work. (And on some subliminal level at least, the company’s in-house publishing lawyer also knows that this could come out of his or her future comp).

Compromises are available. One traditional compromise effected between publishing lawyers or entertainment attorneys is a so-called “hold-back” on the digital right or electronic right, whereby the author promises not to use or license-out any author-reserved digital right or electronic right for a certain period of time following publication. The author will need some leverage to get a publisher to agree to such a compromise, though. And a publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney should draft the clause – the author’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney, not the publisher’s counsel!

An author may think that small “portfolio” uses (e.g., tucked inside greeting cards, on an author’s personal web site, etc.) are so minor, that they will never compete with publishing rights granted for the same work, and may tell the publisher or the company’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney as much. The greeting card example does seem innocuous enough, but the publisher and its entertainment or publishing lawyer will likely not agree with the author regarding the author’s personal web site. It is the electronic right or the digital right that really scares publishers and their publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, and is perceived as threatening to their long-term investment in the author and his or her work.

The distinction to be made here is between hard-copy portfolio uses, and digital right or electronic right “portfolio uses”. The fact is that computer-uploaded text is so easy and quick to transmit, receive, and read. The posted content’s popularity could also spread like digital wildfire, so quickly – for example, if a company hyper-links to the author’s site, or if “Yahoo” bumps the author’s site up in their search-engine pecking-order. Many successes have already been made by virtue of digital right and electronic right self-publishing, and more will follow. Traditional (book) publishers and their publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys already realize this fact. Accordingly, traditional book publishers and their counsel also realize that once they acknowledge an author’s reservation of a “self-promotion” digital right or electronic right, they risk losing control of a potential wildfire dissemination method. Again, this would put the publisher’s investment at risk – but smart business people and companies and the publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys that represent them, don’t put their own investments at risk.

  • The Party To The Contract That Has The Better And More Immediate Means and Resources To Exploit The Electronic Rights, Should Be The One Who Takes The Electronic Rights.

Here is the final point. If a contracting party has no means and resources to exploit a digital right or electronic right or a given bundle of them, then that same party has no business taking (or reserving to themselves) those same digital or electronic rights by contract or even negotiating such a position by and between publishing lawyers or entertainment attorneys. To analogize, if I am a screenwriter who options or sells my script to the Acme Production Company, LLC, through an entertainment lawyer, how should I react if Acme asks me to specifically and contractually grant them “theme park rights” in my literary property in the negotiation between the entertainment attorneys? (Don’t laugh – this practice is now very prevalent in film and entertainment deals).

Well, if Acme doesn’t have its own theme park, I (or my entertainment attorney) now have a powerful argument for reserving the theme park rights to myself instead. “Hey, Acme”, I (or my entertainment attorney) say, “… how do you have the unmitigated gall to ask me for my theme park rights, when you don’t even have the ability to exploit or use them yourself? You don’t even have a theme park!” I (or my entertainment attorney) then make it clear to Acme that I don’t intend to be giving them any trophies that they can put on a shelf to collect proverbial dust.

The same argument can work in the publishing context, particularly as argued between publishing lawyers and entertainment attorneys, regarding the digital right or the electronic right. The author can proverbially cross-examine the publisher (or try to cross-examine the company’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney) as to what successful past uses they have made of other author’s digital rights or electronic rights across multiple books. The company President may fudge the answer, but the publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney representing the publisher must answer truthfully. (One good reason to negotiate through counsel).

If the true answer to the question is “none”, then the author can use the “trophy” argument stated above. If the true answer is, alternatively, “some”, then the author has a negotiating opportunity to compel the publisher and its publishing lawyer and entertainment attorney to contractually commit to digitally and electronically publish the author’s work, too. The author can argue: “I won’t grant you the digital right or electronic right unless you, publisher, contractually commit in advance as to how specifically you will exploit them, and how much money you will spend in their development and marketing”. The author or the author’s publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney can then carve those electronic right and digital right commitments right directly into the contract, if the author has the leverage to do so. Again, one should not try this at home – but instead use a publishing lawyer or entertainment attorney.