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Wednesday News: Harlequin lawsuit updates; Facebook men try to shame 12...

In the answer, Harlequin essentially says “so what.” It agrees that the contract dispute is over the All Other Rights clause under which author’s royalties were based not on a percentage of the “Cover Price” of the e-books but, rather, were specified as 50% of “net amount received by Publisher for the license or sale of said rights.” “Publisher” was defined as either HEBV or HBSA, and “Related Licenses” was defined to include Harlequin Enterprises. It also seem to agree, at least for the purposes of the motion, that HEBV and HBSA were set up for tax purposes.

One other note I thought was interesting was that Harlequin argued that the agreements said that the Net Amount Received for the license of the rights by Harlequin Enterprises “shall be equivalent to the amount reasonably obtained by Publisher from an Unrelated Licensee.” This, I think, goes to the crux of the matter. What was an amount reasonably obtained by Publisher from an Unrelated Licensee for the exercise of digital rights?

But in sum, it appears Harlequin is saying that assuming everything that the plaintiffs say is true (which is the standard in a motion to dismiss – that all facts are construed a light most favorable to the non moving party which would be the authors in this case), the authors entered into these contracts which had clearly defined terms, agreed to such terms, and therefore the contracts should be upheld.

Harlequin argues that as to the piercing claim, the authors haven’t pled sufficient facts to state a claim. In general federal courts are fairly lenient on this. I once had a fraud cause that I was defending and was so sure I would get it dismissed on a 12(b)(6) motion because the complaint was so poorly drawn (in my opinion) but it didn’t get dismissed and ever since then I’ve bitterly complained about the slack-adaisical attitude toward this pleading requirement. Fraud and alter ego claims are required to be pled with “specificity” but generally I feel like if you make even a half hearted attempt it will be sufficient overcome a motion to dismiss.

My best guess is that Harlequin’s motion is denied. However, this piercing claim is going to be tough for the authors to win based on what we’ve seen alleged. Maybe there are better facts that will be developed through the trial. The issue of fairness as to the reasonable amount that could be obtained by an unrelated licensee could be a winning issue but again, I’ll have to see more.

“In order to become a purely e-book operation, a conventional publisher would have to release most of its staff and move to far smaller quarters, for many tasks performed by ten in the old business, such as sales, distribution, art direction and royalty processing can be performed by one or two in the new one.

I’m not sure why conventional publishers can’t offer both a digital first arm in addition to print books but Curtis’ argument is mainly aimed at paperback first originals. What he doesn’t take into account is reader preference. I’m not sure the reader is part of Curtis’ author, publisher equation. Readers, empowered by Amazon and other retailers, are moving toward digital books. This move doesn’t leave behind paperback originals but it does suggest a shift in the market.

The reach of 50 Shades and how one book propped up book sales at brick and mortar stores around the world show that the reach of print is strong and that digital first can be an important part of an overall publishing plan. Digital Book World

Facebook refuses to take down the page. Emily Heist Moss wrote a post about how difficult it is to be a teenage girl in this digital age.

The crux of the problem for this girl, let’s call her Susie, is that she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side, there is the crushing pressure to be sexually desirable… On the other side, Susie knows that she loses the desirability game if she caves to the desires she has inspired.

But yes, let’s target the girls here who are posing pictures of themselves because at age 12, they should really know better, right? And who is better equipped to label them sluts than 19 year old men on the internet. Huzzah.  I read Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt. It’s a very moving story about a young girl who longs for love and a family and tries to find it in the arms and beds of boys.  Maybe it should be required reading for males.  But it probably wouldn’t make an impact.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Ana
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 04:42:37

    That facebook page has (at last count) nearly 213,000 likes.

    I am speechless. The world we live in horrifies me.

  2. Lisa
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 05:13:07

    It’s Facebook pages like that which nake me glad I am not on Facebook. So, who determines what is “slutty”? Wouldn’t you love to know some of the things the men who started this page did when they were 12 years old?

  3. Kaetrin
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 05:25:09

    How about we make a Facebook page for “douches who try to incite children to harm themselves”? But it would have to have a catchier title. Or how abut a “Facebook is culpable if any 12 year old hurt themselves” page?

    It is absolutely appalling that Facebook will not take down the page. I’m so disgusted.

  4. KMont
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 05:34:05

    I am physically ill to my stomach at the Facebook page. I can’t….no words. But plenty of inner rage.

    But aren’t there laws these days about combating internet bullying? Because that seems a pretty clear case.

  5. Kaetrin
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 05:44:20

    I did a search on Facebook and the original page appears to have been taken down. However, another one of the same name has sprung up immediately and the “about” says something to the effect of “another one got deleted but we’re back”. The original petition is closed unfortunately.

    Apparently the 2 administrators are Australian. I’m ashamed.

  6. Patricia Eimer
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 06:17:27

    These guys have nothing better to do with their time than troll the internet looking for 12 year old girls to cyberstalk and bully? Ugh. Just ugh. You’d love to find these guys parents and ask them how they feel about the A+ job in parenting they did.

  7. Liz Talley
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 06:37:53

    I don’t understand this world. Why? Why would anyone spend his time trolling FB pages to find pics of 12 yr old girls to post and ridicule? It’s so skeevy and freakin’ evil I can’t even grasp it.

    Being an almost teenager sucks bad enough, but to have that risk dangling over one’s head? Poor girls. I hope they have parents who can fight this for them and who can help them understand their self-worth in a world that values them little.


  8. Lori
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 08:27:42

    My daughter is 11, almost 12, as are her friends. Most are still little kids. They aren’t sexual yet, their bodies are starting to develop. Their crushes are on cartoon characters and Justin Beiber types.

    This is child abuse, not slut shaming. It makes me sick.

  9. Nadia Lee
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 08:37:30

    Can they be arrested for child abuse and/or pedophilia? They have no business trolling the web for “slutty” 12 year-olds, unless they have some kind of serious issues.

  10. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:32:33

    @Kaetrin: While I agree that the page is appalling–or was–I am uncomfortable with the idea that Facebook should take it down. I worry that those sorts of demands will lead to pages that are “offensive” being taken down. I’d take freedom of speech over inoffensive almost any day.

  11. FD
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:50:45

    @Dabney: Given that Facebook routinely deletes breastfeeding groups and body acceptance groups, frankly their hypocrisy is appalling.

  12. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:13:58

    @FD: I think that’s my point–I’d like for the public to pressure Facebook to not delete any of those pages rather than to delete ones some find offensive.

  13. Deb
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 13:26:07

    Oh, please, let FB or its apologist pull the no-censorship argument so we can talk about all of the times they have.

    Excuse me, I need to go blast this on my social media networks.

  14. Ridley
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 13:38:35

    Considering Facebook’s origin as a site where Harvard students could mock ugly photos of their fellow students, this group seems to fit right in.

  15. Carolyn Jewel
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 14:12:15


    This is targeted at MINOR children and in the US there are some very specific exceptions carved out for cases like this. I’m not a lawyer of course, so perhaps I’m not on solid legal ground there.

    But you know what? For me, the issue has become countering speech like that with more speech. If these two men are within their rights to do this, then let the page stay and everyone, of any gender, speak out against the attitudes expressed by these two men and the hundreds of thousands who appear to agree that being a “slut” is a characteristic for which females should be punished and further that we can identify a slut from a photo.

    We should, of course, be talking about why women are sluts in need of shaming but men who engage in such behavior are not.

  16. Deb
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 14:17:17

    @Carolyn Jewel, there are people who shame them. But they wear masks :-/ (thinking of that Anonymous group).

  17. Sunita
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 14:47:09

    @Carolyn Jewel: What I don’t understand is why they are able to have a page that is targeted at 12-year-old girls on Facebook when the minimum age for a Facebook account is 13. Why are Facebook’s hands tied if the page is linking to (or copying) material found on FB that violates FB’s TOS?

  18. Kaetrin
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 18:46:16

    @Dabney: I completely disagree with you Dabney. These are children that need our protection. By that argument, the Reddit page we were discussing on the doxxing thread with the Jailbait pics and the upskirt pics are also free speech and should be protected. I can’t get behind that.

    I’m not saying free speech is unimportant. But I have absolutely no problem with Facebook, who owns the site and therefore should be able to decide on its own content taking down child abuse. Which is what this is. (Sorry, my ranty parent gene is kicking in.)

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