That now has been taken care of by the International Thriller Writers organization, which responded quickly to this blog and other suggestions/complaints/advisories and you can read about it in my follow-up post. Here's the old post, with the issue:
I'd been planning on attending the International Thriller Writers' ThrillerFest, July 9-12 in Manhattan, but now I'm having second thoughts. Apparently, they're requiring panelists to sign a release form now giving intellectual property rights (their language, not mine) to them for a tape of the panel that can be resold after the conference.
The problem with this for me, of course, is that as writers, we're always working to make sure publishers and others compensate us reasonably for our intellectual property. And now, to spring this on the writers -- all of whom are paying for the membership, the weekend, and hotel and transportation to be at ThrillerFest and giving their time to the organization -- as a "sign or you're off the panel" well-after the panels were already-agreed-to just gets my hackles up.
I'm embarrassed for any writer who signs this. I have no problem if they tape it and then offer it free as a download on their website, or even if the whole point of the panels was set up to raise money for the International Thriller Writers (how much do they need?) so one knew when one agreed-to and planned and paid that this was a prerequisite to being on a panel. But after the money's gone in, the tickets are bought, and the hotel room's reserved?
So, rather than compromise my principles for their tape, I was told I could not be on the digital promotion panel as a result. So I may or may not be participating in ThrillerFest at all, after all.
If any friends were coming by to see me, I'm just not sure at this point if I'm going to attend their functions. I feel it's wrong to do this to any writer -- not just me. As writers, we spend half our business lives fighting just this kind of stuff.