Health Communications, Inc., the original publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise, has settled a long-running dispute with Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing company that gives CSSP rights to all Chicken Soup titles beginning July 1. Under the agreement, CSSP has acquired all rights not previously owned by CSSP relating to the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand from HCI. HCI published the first Chicken Soup for the Soul title in 1993 and was the series publisher until June 30, 2008 when the franchise moved to CSSP, a new company started by Bill Rouhana Jr. and Bob Jacobs.

While CSSP has been the publisher of new Chicken Soup titles since July 1, 2008, HCI has controlled the backlist--about 190 titles--and the two companies had sued each other over various issues. This agreement ends all legal disputes between the two companies, and in its annoucement of the agreement, the parties said “HCI and Chicken Soup for the Soul look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship, which will include HCI providing printing services for some titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul line.”

Under terms of the agreement, virtually all Chicken Soup for the Soul books previously published by HCI will remain in print. Beginning July 1, retailers and distributors will be able to order all Chicken Soup books in the U.S. and Canada from Simon & Schuster, CSSP’s distributor, under new ISBNs assigned by CSSP. All Chicken Soup e-books will remain available, but with new ISBNs assigned to those formerly published by HCI. CSSP may also revamp some of the more popular titles previously published by HCI over time, with updated covers.

The agreement does not pertain to any Chicken Soup titles published by CSSP since July 2008. Beginning July 1, all rights regarding Chicken Soup for the Soul’s books, trademark, or other products are exclusively held by CSSP, and any inquiries regarding reprints, licensing, foreign rights, or any other Chicken Soup for the Soul matters should be directed to Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC.

All foreign licensing rights to Chicken Soup for the Soul books will continue to be handled by Montreal Contacts and/or Teri Tobias Agency as the case may be.

HCI will accept returns of Chicken Soup books that were published by HCI until September 30, 2012. Books published by HCI, with HCI ISBNs, will not be accepted by CSSP or S&S at any time.

Peter Vegso, CEO of HCI, said “I am pleased that HCI helped bring the Chicken Soup for the Soul message to hundreds of millions of people around the world. We will continue to touch people’s lives one book at a time through the other books in our library and forthcoming lists as well as our conferences, web activities and magazines. We look forward to working with CSSP in the future.” In his statement, Rouhana, CEO of CSSP, said “Peter Vegso and HCI were instrumental in building the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and brand as founding publisher. Peter saw something that other publishers missed when he decided to publish the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Thereafter, Peter and HCI worked closely with Chicken Soup for the Soul to expand into topics that helped people in all aspects of their lives. We admire and respect these accomplishments.”