Does writing a book qualify as “business”?

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Does writing a book qualify as “business”?

I would like to write a language guide but according to my contract, “During the term of this Agreement, Associate shall fulfill his/her duties and obligations set forth hereunder diligently, and devote his/her entire working time, skills and attention to Employer’s business. Associate shall not directly or indirectly engage in any other full-time or part-time employment, and not directly or indirectly operate business of any nature on his/her own.” The book would not be published in the same country as the one I live/work in.

Asked on January 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The language you quote would seem to be broad enough to take in any activity conducted for economic gain--e.g. engaging in any "business." Furthermore, speaking as someone who (in addition to being an attorney) has a small publishing company and employs writers, I would certainly say that writing a book qualifies as either "employment"--if you do it for someone else, who then publishes and markets it for you--or as a "business," if you will be in charge of the printing, publishing, and marketing (e.g. self-publishing). Therefore, if you do this for economic gain (that is, you are paid or receive royalties), it would seem to be covered by the contract.


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