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Charles Clark

Charles Clark

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Publisher Charles Clark (1933-2006) initially trained as a lawyer, and built a reputation as champion of the rights of authors and publishers at a time of great change in the industry.

“The peer of contracts experts, Lord Clark of Copyright," Mark Le Fanu, Society of Authors.

Having become an editor at the legal publishing house of Sweet and Maxwell, he was called to the bar in 1960. He chose instead to join Penguin Books, where he commissioned a range of titles aimed at making subjects such as law and psychiatry accessible. 

In 1966, he became managing director of Penguin Education and in 1972 he succeeded Sir Robert Lusty at Hutchinson where he built a strong editorial team whose authors included Frederick Forsyth, Kingsley Amis, and Anthony Burgess.

During this period, the Publishers Association drew on Charles’s expertise reviewing copyright law. The review resulted in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which included a provision for the moral rights of authors and for collective licensing societies.  

Charles travelled regularly to Brussels to represent UK interests in copyright, in particular, the 1993 extension of copyright protection from 50 to 70 years after the death of an author. 

He was also copyright representative to the Federation of European Publishers and a key player in establishing the Copyright Licensing Agency.

Throughout his career, he was concerned that there should be fair reward for both authors and publishers.

His philosophy is implicit throughout Publishing Agreements: a Book of Precedents (1980), of which he was general editor (the book is currently in its tenth edition), and also in a collection of his works, The Answer to the Machine is in the Machine and Other Collected Writings.