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  • Julie Eickhoff

What's a Rights Holder?

If you’re new (or somewhat new) to the world or audiobook production, you have come across a term that you may not previously have heard before…rights holder. When we discuss books, we often mention the author of the book, but when you start working with audiobook publishers, you’ll be hearing the term rights holder. So, what is a rights holder?

A rights holder in the context of books and audiobooks, refers to the individual or entity that possesses the legal rights to a particular literary work. These rights encompass a range of elements, including the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and adapt the work.

For books, the rights holder is typically the author or the author's literary agent, who negotiates with publishers to grant specific rights for the publication and distribution of the book. In the case of audiobooks, additional rights may be involved, such as the right to produce and distribute audio recordings of the book.

The concept of rights holders is crucial in the publishing industry, as it establishes the framework for how a literary work can be used and monetized. Rights holders can enter into agreements with publishers, audiobook producers, and other media platforms to license their work for various formats and distribution channels. Ultimately, understanding and respecting the rights of authors and other rights holders is essential for ensuring the lawful and ethical use of literary works in the diverse landscape of books and audiobooks.

Audiobook narrators play a pivotal role in bringing literary works to life, but it is imperative that we navigate the process with due diligence and respect for the rights holder.

Before embarking on the narration of a book, we should take proactive steps to confirm that we are working in collaboration with the rightful owner of the literary work, typically the author or their designated representative. Unfortunately, there are bad actors out there who have stolen literary work and are trying to produce it as their own.

Research the book title, the author and/or the agency listed as the right’s holder. Establishing clear communication channels with the rights holder (outside of ACX) will help to ensure that you are, indeed, contracting with the actual rights holder.

By proactively engaging with rights holders, audiobook narrators not only uphold ethical standards but also contribute to the preservation of intellectual property rights, fostering a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship within the world of audiobook production.


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