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

Thursday News: Getty frees its images; Massachusetts law protects upskirt photos;...

The world’s largest photo service just made its pictures free to use – This is great news for bloggers; Getty Images, which owns 100+ years and millions of photos, is opening up its archives so everyone can use the images for free. This move is in marked contrast to certain other companies (cough*Adobe*cough) in regard to managing their intellectual property in an online environment where providing users with an easy way of legally consuming information and entertainment may be the best defense against piracy. Getty realized that its content was already being used, in many cases illegally, and so it has evolved and looked to other ways of generating income. Now, if you use a Getty image, they can generate advertising or collect user data from your site, giving them a potential revenue stream that doesn’t require direct payment from the photo user.

Getty Images is dropping the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed program that will let users drop in any image they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. For a small-scale WordPress blog with no photo budget, this looks an awful lot like free stock imagery. –The Verge

Mass. High Court: Subway Upskirt Photos Not Illegal – I haven’t actually read this decision yet, so I can’t comment on it, but the ruling in this case is upsetting enough. Shooting a picture up someone’s clothing is legally protected. The way the laws in Massachusetts are written only gives protection to people who are in a nude or semi-nude state. Someone in public, fully dressed, does not, according to the Court, have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Clearly the law needs to be re-written, but in the meantime, this is a pretty disturbing situation.

So-called Peeping Tom laws protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms and bathrooms when nude or partially nude, but the way the law is written, it does not protect clothed people in public areas, the court said. The SJC ruling went on to suggest that the act in this case should be illegal, noting other states including New York and Florida have explicit laws criminalizing public upskirting. –CBS Boston

Justice Department Backs Broadcasters in Aereo Dispute – The Justice Department has indicated that it will not support Internet startup Aero in its fight against traditional broadcasters, over the way in which Aero allows consumers to view and record programs in such a way that allows Aero to bypass licensing fees. The US Supreme Court will hear the case next month, and you can read the Justice Department’s amicus brief via the re/code article.

Aereo allows consumers to see local broadcast programs on the Internet by renting them access to tiny remote antennas. Subscribers pay up to $12 a month for the service, which allows them to record shows remotely and store them online for playback on laptops and mobile devices.

Last week, the big four networks warned that an Aereo victory in the case would essentially destroy the broadcast industry’s business model of charging pay-TV companies like Dish Network and Time Warner Cable fees to retransmit broadcast signals. –re/code

The Strongest Brand In Publishing Is … – Yet another episode of “who’s the boss” when it comes to book sales and profitability. David Vinjamuri comes at the issue from the perspective of brand recognition rather than book sales, which he notes has historically been the way traditional publishers have measured success.

Brand loyalty is important because it has a direct impact on profitability. In fact, Codex data shows that consumers are willing to pay a 66% premium for a book by a favorite author over an unknown author. The chart below is for eBooks only (the prices are higher and premiums narrower for print books), and it also suggests that ebooks from new or lesser-known authors should be priced under $6.00, versus the $9.36 or more that readers are willing to pay for a favorite author. –Forbes

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

10 Comments

  1. SAO
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 06:43:06

    I have three price points: authors I know and like, books/authors recommended by a trusted source, and unknown authors.

    I’m struggling to find sources I trust. One of my problems is that too few sites allow me to input data, so I can’t blackball authors. A check list might help, so a 3 for pacing, a 3 for characterization, a 2 for plot plausibility and a 1 for sex scenes will net a different set of recommendations than a 3 for plot plausibility, a 3 for sex scenes, a 2 for pacing and a 1 for characterization.

  2. Lindsay
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 08:34:00

    I am definitely in that premium group sometimes, I just shelled out $13 ($5 higher than my usual “oof expensive but author I love” price) for the new Brandon Sanderson ebook. I’ll also wind up buying a hardcover copy, so it’s a pretty special case.

    I have balked lately at favourite authors pricing their books that high, and there are a few I will still buy but a few more have settled down into “wait for a coupon/sale”. I feel bad about it, but some authors I love are getting priced out of my range with ebooks as high as $15, a dollar off if you pre-order — and I’ve been burned by pre-ordering and then the book going on sale the same week enough times that I’ve stopped.

    I know it’s not the author’s fault — these aren’t self-pubs — but it’s frustrating all the same.

  3. Laura
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 08:46:25

    I wince whenever I have to pay more than $9.36 for a book, even by a favorite author. There are, however, a few (and only a few) authors whose books I will pay that much for. I can’t remember the last time I paid more than $10 for a book. Fortunately my favorite authors are not putting out books that are more than $10.

    Agree with SAO about having a different price point for books recommended by a trusted source vs. completely unknown authors. I will pay up to $5.99-6.99 for a full-length novel that comes with a trusted recommendation, no more than $3.99 otherwise, and I usually only buy books without having read a review first if they’re $1.99 or less. I will try pretty much anything for <$1.99…

  4. Angela
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 09:05:15

    I find price point discussions interesting. Mine have changed over the past couple of years that I’ve owned my Kindle. There wasn’t Agency pricing when I started buying, so price wasn’t an issue – if it was less than the paperback and I wanted it, I bought it. I never really even considered price. Then Agency pricing came along and made me reconsider everything; near the end I was only purchasing a handful of authors (price didn’t matter, and it was often over $10 an ebook), my trusted recommendation price was $5.99, and everything else was $1.99-$3.99 depending on how interesting it looked and how convincing the reviews were.

    Now, though, I’ve dropped nearly all those. I still have those auto-buy authors (though there are fewer of them) that I buy no matter what. Whatever the price. Trusted recommendations are bought at $3.99-$5.99 (though most frequently at the bottom end of that scale). I have to really want it, like my friend, who has the same taste as me, was BLOWN AWAY by this book to pay the higher end of that scale. No recommendation? Lucky if I’ll pay $0.99. I’m even pickier about what I pick up for free now.

    I think there are a few reasons that my price ceilings keep slipping lower: I have an insane number of books to read (not even counting the books that I enjoy re-reading), Agency pricing left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth and I hate feeling like I’m being ripped off, and the plethora of truly bad self-published books have made me wary.

  5. Caroline
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 15:19:53

    The Massachusetts case is more an instance of an old law not covering technological advances. The decision says Massachusetts law , as written, doesn’t prohibit the act of the defendant, which was taking photos of women in skirts sitting across from him on the train. The law is old (at least 10 years) and was written before camera phones became prevalent. And the Mass. legislature said they’re going to update it ASAP, which the court did recommend.

  6. Stephanie Scott
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 18:00:29

    The Getty images thing is huge! Wonderful news!

  7. Sunita
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 18:23:58

    @Caroline: And, the law was passed today by the legislature and awaits the governor’s signature.

    The decision basically told them what they needed and pointed them to other states who had passed appropriate laws.

  8. Robin/Janet
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 20:08:59

    @Sunita: The article actually talks about how the legislature was going to immediately take up the revision, so that was fast! The articles online from yesterday don’t indicate that new legislation has already been undertaken. Good to know, though, because that statute definitely needed to be revised (like two years ago, when the guy was charged!!)

    @Caroline: I’m surprised that the legislature did not start the revision process when the guy taking the pics was first charged in 2011. Camera phones (not to mention miniature cameras and small video cameras) were hardly rare in 2004, nor is upskirting a recent phenomenon. In fact, the original statute contemplated electronic surveillance of a nude or partially nude person (with the focus on the state of undress) who also enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy. And as the Court notes, While Section 105(b) prohibits photographing, videotaping, and electronically surveilling, the distinctions that exist among these three activities have no bearing on our analysis of Section 105(b) in this case. I’m frankly glad that the Court refused to extend the reach of the statute, because it’s definitely a badly worded piece of legislation, especially when you think about all of the ways a “reasonable expectation of privacy” intersects with other issues and other areas of the law.

  9. Darlynne
    Mar 07, 2014 @ 10:50:34

    “… an Aereo victory in the case would essentially destroy the broadcast industry’s business model …”

    Well, of course the broadcasters are against this. Someone comes up with an affordable device, an antenna, that allows consumers to capture the signal that is already broadcast over the air. I don’t understand the difference between Aereo and the HD OTA antenna in my attic, but the dispute boils down to the broadcasters not getting their licensing fees. Oh, woes.

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    Mar 11, 2014 @ 07:57:27

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