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Tuesday News: Indie booksellers upbeat; 50 Shades porn producers countersue; reading...

However, I don’t remember if any copyright was waived on the original 50 Shades fiction but there are often disclaimers on fan fiction such as “these characters are not mine but the property of Stephenie Meyer” or something like that. Could a waiver of copyright have occurred?  Further, derivative works often have lesser copyright protection than original works of creation. In sum, there may be a suit here but I don’t think that the porn producers are arguing the right one. Hollywood Reporter

“UK research has found that reading is more relaxing than listening to music, going for a walk or having a cup of tea, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis from the consultancy Mindlab International found that reading silently for just six minutes, slowed the heart rate and eased muscle tension in research volunteers” The Age

For instance, in regards to lyrics, he argues that as long as the lyrics are integral to the work, it is fair use. He also states that you can use public famous figures in your book without problem so long as it is a) an opinion or b) not believable.  He then cites the famous Falwell case with Hustler, but that case was founded on parody, not simply because it was “not believable.” Nor does Rapp reference a false light tort or the right of publicity such as the famous Wendt v. Host International, Inc. case.

In sum, just be careful of listening to any lawyer on the internet. If you have a specific legal concern, go to a lawyer. If you get sued, you won’t have any protection if you say “But Paul Rapp on the internet said it was okay.”

As for Stephen King’s use of lyrics in his books? Take a look at the copyright page.

copyright page from the stand

Copyright Page from The Stand

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

13 Comments

  1. Ren
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 05:45:56

    A blanket statement of “reading is relaxing” is bogus, as I and those who witnessed the apopletic fits inspired by what I read over the weekend can attest.

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  2. DS
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:27:42

    At least the self help books aren’t being sold by the therapist. Even a wallbanger is distracting from my problems. Maybe especially a wallbanger. Recently though if I need some book therapy I reach for a Terry Pratchett audiobook.

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  3. Willa
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:56:54

    With prescription charges having just gone up to £7.85 / $11.90 an item, I don’t think I will be swallowing any of those books!

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  4. Carrie G
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 08:01:16

    While I agree with Ren that you need to pick the “relaxing” book carefully, I also can attest that reading is an antidote for depression. When my family reached a very rough patch several years ago I went from reading about 50 books a year to reading 250 books a year–mostly romance novels. We’re working through the issues, and I can say with certainty that reading positive books kept me from giving in and giving up more than a few times.

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  5. MaryK
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 09:50:52

    Whatever else it is, the porn countersuit sure is entertaining.

    ReplyReply

  6. Gwen Hayes
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 10:10:20

    I think that even if the porn company can’t win the case, I am glad someone is calling out the hypocritical players in this mess who have been aggressively attacking over their “rights” for something they basically stole from someone else.

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  7. Maura
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 11:15:27

    My understanding is that disclaimers on fanfiction have absolutely no legal standing, and if anything, only serve to prove that the writer knows s/he’s violating copyright. This is still pretty hilarious.

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  8. Darlynne
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 11:36:54

    @Carrie G: In the same-but-opposite vein, when my mom died, I went on a reading glut of anything that was darker than the place I was in. That turned out to be Laurell K. Hamilton (the first eight books) and everything vampire I could find at the time. There was something about surfacing from non-uplifting, bleak stories that enabled me to look around eventually with less sorrow.

    Bottom line, solace can be found in the pages of books, no matter what form it takes or the path it follows. I’m glad you’ve been able to find your way.

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  9. Janet W
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 13:34:50

    Interesting page of acknowledgments from Stephen King — would he have paid for permission to use all those lyrics (is that implied?). Thanks!

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  10. P. Kirby
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 13:46:32

    @Maura: “My understanding is that disclaimers on fanfiction have absolutely no legal standing, and if anything, only serve to prove that the writer knows s/he’s violating copyright.”

    Heh. Yeah. Exactly.

    In my recent foray into fan fiction, I haven’t bothered with the disclaimer, mostly because the statement seems on par with declaring that fire burns, and water’s wet. I’m mean, it’s a story on a fan fiction site, using well-known movie characters. If I was making any legal claim on the characters and/or writing the story for cashy money, I sure as hell wouldn’t be posting it for free.

    Anyway, the countersuit does elicit a bit of Schadenfreude on my part.

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  11. willaful
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 22:23:36

    This is exactly what I’ve always thought was wrong with the concept of bibliotherapy…

    ReplyReply

  12. B. Sullivan
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 17:30:27

    Oh good – I was wondering what your take on the “Fifty Shades is public domain” thing (is it really an argument if it seems that they’re not defining public domain the way it usually is?) was. Will be interesting to see if they actually do take up the argument about it being derivative of Stephenie Meyer’s work or not. Or if it’ll be settled quietly and we’ll never hear any more about it.

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  13. Maura
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 11:06:04

    @P. Kirby:

    It does raise some really interesting questions, though, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure fanfiction would not count as public domain, since it does have an author, even if the author is violating copyright. So who owns it? The author? The publisher of the original work? I have a feeling that countersuit is going to get chucked out of court because nobody wants to deal with those questions, but what a potential upheaval for the world of fandom if somebody did.

    @Janet W: Not necessarily. He’d have his lawyers contact the music publishers, and the publishers would set their own terms for permission. Some might require payment, some might not.

    ReplyReply

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