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Ashleigh Morgan
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Publishing Contracts - No construction clause - Which law?

Post by Ashleigh Morgan »

Has anyone come across a Publishing Contract ("Ageement") which does not define the area of Law for Construction?

i.e. This Agreement shall be intrepreted and constructed in accordance with the laws of the State of ... or the Laws of... applicable to agreements to be performed therein and XXX (State or Country) shall be the venue for any disputes hereunder.

NO Such Clause exists in the Agreement, there has been NO variations to the Agreement/Contract. The Ageement was allegedly signed in one part by the Author in Australia - unclear where the Publisher has allegedly prepared the Agreement/Contract, other than stating an address in London on the Agreement.

Post this date, royalty payments from the Publisher intitally were being paid from various Banks in London, then other Countries, then different Bank Accounts in Switzerland, then no Royalties received at all for over 10 years.

During the course of following up outstanding payments with the Publisher then one is referred to a legal division in Canada.

A. How does one intrepret what areas of Law can be referred to if not stated or definited in a Publisher Agreement or Contract?

B. Where there is 'NO CONSTRUCTION CLAUSE' can Legal Action be filed against the Publisher in the Country where the contract was signed on part of the Author entering into the Agreement?

There is a disputes clause which refers to no territory or country but Arbitration Act of 1950 - Is there such a thing as 'International Arbitration' to resolve such disputes - with any point of reference of Law would the Author then be able to simply seek legal remedy in the Country signed by the Author?

Any comments would be helpful

Sorry I have posted this twice, was not sure which section of the forum best suited CopyRight Law of CopyRight Basics

Ashleigh Morgan
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Ashleigh,
Bearing in mind this topic is some way away from copyright law, and I am no expert on international contract law, I'll have a stab at answering your question.
Contracts, even ones with an international dimension, don't have to stipulate a jurisdiction for the applicable law, and those that don't specify it can be adjudicated in any relevant national court. So for instance in this case either the Australian or UK courts could be used, and since their jurisprudence is very similar, the outcome would probably be fairly similar.
You mentioned the Arbration Act 1950: I think this likely to be UK Act of that year which is still in force, although it has been amended by two later Arbitration Acts of 1975 and 1996.
You asked about international arbitration. Yes, it exists and is frequently used in commercial contract disputes as a way of simplifying and speeding up the resolution of a dispute. The UN's New York Convention of 1958 is the main basis for recognising such international arrangements.
I hope this helps, but if not, or you are in any doubt about how to obtain redress, you really need to consult a lawyer in Australia.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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