Where's HDAS III? (was: Re: "the apocryphal HDAS III")

Mailbox mailbox at GRAMMARPHOBIA.COM
Fri Aug 13 17:40:06 UTC 2010

The divagations have been fascinating, but I would hate to see George Thompson's original point lost. 

On Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, he [george.thompson at NYU.EDU] wrote, in part (I'm compressing a bit): 

"... [H]ow long do we have to wait for Oxford University Press to bring out the final volumes of HDAS? ... The OUP needs to stop sitting on the material for HDAS III & IV and produce them, or I will start remembering it in my bed-time curses, along with the despised Bertelsmann House. What can the collective might of ADS-L do to bring this about?"

I too want to see this gaping hole in my bookshelves filled! Perhaps the remaining volume or volumes could be brought out as ebooks.

Presumably there is a contract between OUP and someone else (Random House? Jonathan Lighter?) for the publication of this material. If that contract does not specifically mention ebook rights, then those rights belong to the author. 

It's been established by the courts that authors retain ebook rights in standard publishing contracts unless they expressly grant those rights to the publisher. (This was established in a federal court in 2001 in Random House v. Rosetta Books. An appellate court affirmed the decision.)

And contracts usually provide that if the publisher fails to produce the material, the rights revert to the author.

I'm sure Rosetta (or some other ebook house) would snap up the remaining HDAS in an instant. Besides answering our collective prayers, this could mean a substantial bit of change for Jonathan Lighter--perhaps 50 percent or more of net proceeds on ebook sales.

I'm taking a lot for granted here. Perhaps JL could enlighten us as to the exact status of the project and whether he has a contractual agreement with OUP.

Pat O'Conner 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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