Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Authors Guild Vies for Worst Publicity of 2009 (and other news)

Remember Authors’ Guild? You know, the entity that hauled Google into court so that it could create a settlement agreement granting Google a copyright monopoly that it hadn’t had previously so that AG could get a tiny piece of the Google pie?   Authors’ Guild, who allowed, as a part of the settlement terms that orphaned rights would be handled by Google by default despite AG knowing from its participation in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnik decided in the 2nd Circuit and thus binding on the Google settlement  that settlements invovling unregistered copyrights could not be approved because the court lacked jurisdiction over them?   

Anyway, Authors’ Guild engaged in another brilliant piece of legal scholarship by arguing that Amazon’s Text to Speech violated the “audio rights” of an author.   (note, there are no audio rights, just a derivative right to public performances)   This is now leading to some wonderful PR for Authors’ Guild as over 200 sight impaired individuals protested in front of Authors’ Guild headquarters yesterday.   CNN iReporters picked it up.   (Thank you Tourmaline).   AG’s response?   Basically that media is losing so much money going e, that they can’t afford to help out the blind.   We’ll have more on this tomorrow from Maili, but suffice it to say that if business is about the battle over hearts and minds, Authors’ Guild (and anyone associated with AG) is losing that battle.

Joining AG’s in the battle for who can appear the worst in public is the Associated Press who wants people to stop linking to their content unless we start paying for it.   I hope that the AP actually gets what it wants which is no referral traffic at all.

The New York Times did a fairly positive piece on romance. The most startling fact of this article was that in the fourth quarter, Harlequin had an increase of 32% in earnings over the same quarter last year.   I was sad to see Ravenous Romance quoted as a romance epublisher given a) the dreck that Ravenous produces, b) that it doesn’t produce romance books but porn and c) their owner thinks that what they are publishing is porn with a better vocabulary (which she apparently doesn’t read).   (I was quoted in the piece as well. Is that a disclaimer or bragging. Couldn’t tell and was tempted to leave that part out).

A publishing related group is trying to get the Patriot Act revised  to “restore    reader privacy that it believes was stripped away by the Patriot Act and in particular Section 215 which authorizes the issuance of secret search orders which permits the government to search the records of any person its believes could be relevant to a terrorist investigation. According to the memo, the Patriot Act eliminated safeguards protecting the confidentiality of the records of bookstore customers and library patrons, and has had a chilling effect on First Amendment right.”

Weirdly, Disney allowed the print rights to the book “Witch Mountain” to go unpurchased.   Witch Mountain is the basis for the plot in the upcoming Dwayne Johnson movie “Race to Witch Mountain”.   Sourcebooks was able to purchase those rights and plans the release of the book to coincide with Disney’s release of the DVD.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. Jessica G.
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 20:30:39

    I’m not sure who gets the bigger facepalm, Author’s Guild or AP.

  2. Alisha Rai
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 21:55:16

    Associated Press who wants people to stop linking to their content unless we start paying for it.

    The editor in chief of some newspaper is on Colbert Report right now making mention of this. I read this just as he was saying Google and AOL shouldn’t be allowed to give news away for free. Freaky.

    NY Times says: has attracted several newcomers, including tiny independent publishers like Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing and Ravenous Romance.

    This is a very odd trio. Since when are EC and Samhain newcomers to digital publishing?

  3. Ann Bruce
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 23:38:29

    Since when are EC and Samhain newcomers to digital publishing?

    Since newspapers started slashing budgets.

  4. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 05:56:30

    The growing market for digital romance novels has attracted several newcomers, including tiny independent publishers like Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing and Ravenous Romance.

    This paragraph did bad things to my blood pressure. First, seeing Samhain and Ravenous together made me throw up in my mouth.

    Second, as Alisha said, EC and Samhain aren’t exactly newcomers. The paragraph makes it sound as if the big publishers having some success with digital books brought about the formation of EC and Samhain. While it was an inevitable progression anyway, because of technology, I think EC’s initial success with erotic romance, followed by Samhain’s success with more varied romance offerings, boosted that progression, along with blogs like this one educating its readers (including editors) and urging NY to keep up.

  5. Maili
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 10:44:58

    I was sad to see Ravenous Romance quoted as a romance epublisher given a) the dreck that Ravenous produces, b) that it doesn't produce romance books but porn and c) their owner thinks that what they are publishing is porn with a better vocabulary (which she apparently doesn't read).

    I’m sorry my response is so short and nonsensical, but seriously: *facepalm*

  6. Robin
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 11:18:31

    Had the possibility of linking been available in 1918, would International News v. AP have been decided in the same way? IMO AP is soooo over-reaching on this one.

    As for the AG, they just keep missing the point, don’t they?

    AG and AP: separated at birth?

  7. DS
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 12:41:23

    I heard a teaser on “Here & Now”, a program on a local PBR station for a segment tomorrow on Kindle and the TTS issue. A brief excerpt of a story by Stephen King was played on air as read by the Kindle 2. I am definitely going to be listening to this story.

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