03 December 2007

Computer contracts

To the AGM of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (29 November: my Blogging is a bit behind), those nice people who send me small cheques from time to time. Milling around drinking coffee beforehand, in a sea of people I didn't know (though an old barrister acquaintance Stephen Mason, has put himself up for election to the board: the candidates' cvs are on display, and his bomb disposal training and experience catches my eye, perhaps because I finished reading The English Patient the previous day. I don't remember him talking about that much, but an authors' society is perhaps a different constituency), who mostly seem to be there because they have nothing better to do - the average age is well over John H's veterans' category.
One of the myriad strangers in the room pitches up beside me, so I ask him what he writes. His name badge declares him to be Richard Morgan, so I hope I know what the answer will be, and indeed it is. I am able to tell him that I've been using his book frequently for years, and he claims (I'm sure I remember this correctly) to be "gobsmacked". He wrote what must have been the first book on computer contracts, from an English law perspective anyway: no doubt several US authors got there earlier. I explained that I had worked with the co-author of the second (through to about fifth) edition, and that I was jut about to recommend the latest edition to a delegate who'd attended a course I had run a couple of days earlier.
I had just moved on, somehow, to talking to him about my idea for a legal writers' group under the auspices of the Society of Authors - "What would it do?" "Beat up publishers!" - when Jack Black appeared too, and the idea received his support although his enthusiasm for "another dinner" sounded to be tinged with irony.

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