Morality Clauses

This has been reported in quite a few places (I heard it from BoingBoing).  Random House has just announced a policy of including morality clauses in the contracts of its YA authors.  On one hand I applaud them for considering authors to be good role models, but mostly I’m just horrified.

I’m reminded of the protests that sprung up around Orson Scott Card awhile ago when YALSA awarded him a life time achievement award for his contributions to YA literature.  He is entirely deserving of the award based on his work, Ender’s Game is one of the few enduring classics modern SF has produced.  But Card also holds some horrible opinions of homosexuals, which he has voiced repeatedly.  The question was whether the author’s works could stand on their own, or whether to taint of the writer’s own beliefs tainted them.  Quite a few people were strongly opposed to Card, but in the end cooler heads won out, And I’m glad that they did.

The same should hold true for Random House.  Not everyone is a saint, and some of those who aren’t have produced the greatest works of art (i.e. Roald Dahl).

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One Comment on “Morality Clauses”

  1. Chris Collins Says:

    I’d say that it’s RH decision to include these into their contracts, however, that is a business decision, and, ultimately, the market will determine whether or not they end up being hurt by makding these demands. (I imagine, they will lose some authors or exempt certain ones that make them money.) And my guess is that they will quickly get rid of these things once they realize it is messing with their bottom line. (Or once an author who signed with a non-clause publisher writes the next blockbuster.)

    Sure, its not a great idea, but, hey, its RH’s money to lose.


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