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

Wednesday Mid Afternoon Links

  • HarperCollins reorganized and announced some layoffs.   First, the Collins imprint lavishly launched just three months ago got the ax.   The entire imprint is being swallowed into HarperCollins with the president and publisher being let go.   Bowen Press, YA imprint started in 2007 and set to launch this spring, is also shuttered.   All Bowen titles will be released under the HarperCollins Children or HarperTeen imprint.   Brenda Bowen, the president and founder, left after the reorg.   Among the personnel changes,  Lisa Gallagher, senior v-p, and publisher of William Morrow, left and Liate Stehlik, the Avon publisher, was promoted to be  Publisher of William Morrow/Eos/Avon.   Other layoffs occurred but were not announced including publicity department and editorial changes.   One big name YA author, Sarah Prineas, announced that her spring tour and the tours of most authors were being cancelled.   
  • The O’Reilly Tools of Change conference took place the past two days. I followed it on Twitter and was fascinated.   There is definitely some stuff I agree with and some I don’t.   I know of one author who is way ahead of the curve and is doing or will be doing many of the suggestions that were brought up during the conference.   More conference recap with video here and here.  SB Sarah, Kassia Kroszer, Malle Vallik, and Angela James gave a presentation on readers and the ebook market.
  • Shepherd Fairey is suing the AP for a declaratory judgment as to whether his iconic “HOPE” poster of Obama is fair use.   Fairey used an AP photograph as the basis of the poster and while he has not earned any money off of it, many vendors have.   AP threatened to sue Fairey twice before Fairey took pre-emptive action. This will be a fascinating suit given that Fairey used the entirety of the photograph but transformed it.
  • The winners of the RNA awards were announced yesterday.   Julia Gregson won Romantic Novel of the Year for East of the Sun and India Grey won the Romance Prize for  Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire’s Pleasure (in ebook format too).

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

8 Comments

  1. Sela Carsen
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 07:22:46

    Isn’t transformation of an original work one of the things that passes through copyright protection? I know the Teach Me Tonight ladies mentioned transformative work in their “Is it plagiarism” discussions. Must research now.

  2. Kalen Hughes
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 09:43:19

    Shepherd Fairey is suing the AP for a declaratory judgment as to whether his iconic “HOPE” poster of Obama is fair use. Fairey used an AP photograph as the basis of the poster and while he has not earned any money off of it, many vendors have. AP threatened to sue Fairey twice before Fairey took pre-emptive action. This will be a fascinating suit given that Fairey used the entirety of the photograph but transformed it.

    From what I read yesterday (can’t remember if it was on HuffPo of SFGate*), the photo is NOT an AP photo, it was merely taken by someone who freelances for AP, and said photographer says that AP does not own the rights to the image and that he’s fine with Fairey’s use of it. Also, Fairey used only a portion of the original (the head and shoulders).

    *If anyone wants me to dig for the report I will.

  3. Teddypig
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 12:50:56

    Of course the photographer is happy to he used it.

    With Fairey’s NAME (One of the most recognizable current American artists.) attached to it that is bonus.

  4. Sunita
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 13:52:49

    @Kalen Hughes:
    It was in HuffPo. I read the article and then followed one of the links to a law prof’s blog:

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2009/01/a-question-for-ip-folks.html

    I don’t think the copyright ownership or the case are that clear-cut, although clearly IANAL. Garcia may or may not hold all relevant copyrights, the Fairey depiction may or may not be sufficiently transformative, and the Fair Use provisions may or may not apply. I read an article on this a few days ago which gave examples of two Jeff Koons pieces which used photographs, one of which was found to be infringing and the other of which was not.

    Fairey’s been sued for infringement before and settled out of court.

  5. Marg
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 14:11:41

    I am so glad to hear that Julia Gregson won for East of the Sun. I really enjoyed it when I read it last year. I have also now read her first book, The Water Horse and that was great too.

  6. veinglory
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 14:51:00

    “The photographer” a.k.a. Manny Garcia is not happy. He just wants the artist to pay *him* not AP. As he was freelancing for AP at the time the photo is probably work for hire, contract or no contract, and so probably does legally belong to AP (he didn’t dispute their use of it prior to this issue) and said ownership is probably of copyright IMHO.

    As for fair use. The rule of thumb is that no more than 5% of the original should remain. Given that most people recognised the underlying photo if they knew it I don’t think that the photo makes at least 5% contribution to the shape of the final work. But it is a gray issue and I am sure people could disagree. My rule with an essay was if I could tell where they copied from, then they copied–I apply that here.

    And the reason I am familiar with this is that I take stock photos and am constantly badgering people to pay for the rights they use. 20c does not get them the extended license necessary to sell thousands of derivative works–if they want that license they have to buy it (for all of $20). So I don’t see how “free” gets the same extended license right from an award winning photojournalist without even asking.

    If the photo was not of significant value in making the work one would assume the artists would not have used it, would not be negotiating currently to retrospectively pay for that use, and the final product would not be identifiable to uninvolved persons as having used that specific photo. Photographers need to eat too.

  7. Kalen Hughes
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 16:18:33

    Thanks, Sunita! It will be interesting to see how it all plays out (if they don’t settle out of court and keep it private).

  8. SonomaLass
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 17:14:39

    I think the derivative vs. transformative question may prove to be key here. Is this like Andy Warhol’s use of Campbell’s Soup cans, where the use of a mainstream image is making an artistic statement, similar to satire and other social commentary? Given Fairey’s body of work, I think that’s an arguable interpretation.

%d bloggers like this: