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Wednesday News: Harper Collins wins copyright case against Open Road, app...

Judge Rules for HarperCollins in Open Road E-Book Dispute – In a copyright dispute between Open Road and Harper Collins publishers, Harper Collins has been awarded a judgment against Open Road for copyright infringement. The book in question, Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George, was published in digital by Open Road, upon the granting of digital rights by George, based on belief that the 1971 contract between George and Harper Collins did not grant the publisher electronic rights. It is unclear whether this case is of limited influence, in part because of the age of the original contract, or whether it follows 2001’s Rosetta v. Random House.

The suit was filed by HarperCollins in December of 2011, after George had agreed to publish an e-book edition of her 1973 Newbery Award-winning book with Open Road. HarperCollins argued that two clauses in its contract (signed in 1971) gave it the exclusive right to license an electronic edition—albeit, only to be executed with the permission of George.

Open Road, however, believed there to be no explicit grant of e-book rights in the contract, and offered to publish the digital edition, even agreeing to indemnify George and her agency, Curtis Brown. –Publishers Weekly

Secret Now Warning Users Not To “Defame” Others – Speaking of legal issues, Secret, the so-called “confessional app” is providing users with a pre-emptive warning not to write defamatory comments. Apparently the warning is triggered by the use of someone’s first name. Another facet of the anonymity argument, and an interesting form of moderation (is it chilling speech, for example?).

The move to (lightly) police the content appearing on Secret comes at a time when a number of public figures in the tech industry have seen their names appear on the network, often with some not-so-friendly commentary attached. For some, Secret has given users an outlet to speak their mind about what so-and-so is really like, without being associated with their remarks. –Tech Crunch

Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex – A UK campaign called Let Toys Be Toys is gaining steam, garnering support from some members of Parliament and at least one newspaper, the Independent, which has indicated it will no longer review gender-specific children’s books:

There are those who will say that insisting on gender-neutral books and toys for children is a bizarre experiment in social engineering by radical lefties and paranoid “femininazis” who won’t allow boys to be boys, and girls to be girls. (Because, by the way, seeking equality of rights and opportunities was a key plank of Nazi ideology, was it?) But the “experiment” is nothing new. When I grew up in the 1970s, and when my parents grew up in the 1950s, brothers and sisters shared the same toys, books and games, which came in many more colours than just pink and blue, and there was no obvious disintegration of society as a result. Publishers and toy companies like to say that they are offering parents more “choice” these days by billing some of their products as just for boys and others as just for girls. What they’re actually doing, by convincing children that boys and girls can’t play with each other’s stuff, is forcing parents to buy twice as much stuff  –The Independent

Beastie Boys reach settlement with GoldieBlox over “Girls” parody – Remember the Beastie Boys – GoldiBlox controversy, in which GoldiBlox used the song “Girls” in an advertising parody? Although Goldiblox backed down from its own suit against the Beastie Boys when the Beastie Boys objected to its use of the song without permission (GoldiBlox claimed fair use), Beastie Boys went ahead with suit against GoldiBlox. The suit has now settled, a judge dismissing the case “without prejudice,” and without further fair use clarification.

Shortly thereafter, GoldieBox responded to Beastie Boys with their own open letter, writing, “We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans. Though the company still believes the parody falls under fair use, it has removed the advertisement from the Internet. We are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.” However, Beastie Boys still filed a countersuit, alleging GoldieBlox “acted intentionally and despicably with oppression, fraud, and malice toward the Beastie Boys Parties”, citing a history of previous parody jingles from Queen and Daft Punk songs. –Consequence of Sound

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!


  1. DS
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 07:06:46

    Good for the Independent. Now I want someone to kill that annoying Princess stuff.

  2. Jennavier Gilbert
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 10:17:07

    I’m interested in reading more about the parody lawsuit. I’m really curious to see what possessed the Beastie Boys to take that strong of an approach over it.

  3. Kira
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 10:59:11

    The Beastie Boys have never allowed their music to be used in advertising. In addition, the song which was parodied was probably one they didn’t want to be remembered for. They wrote it when they were young and it’s quite offensive.

  4. MrsJoseph
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 11:13:47

    @Jennavier Gilbert: They do not allow any company to use their work for any commercial reason. GoldieBox was originally sent a letter explaining the BB’s stance on commercial uses of their IP…so GoldieBox sued them first.

  5. hapax
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 13:13:33

    I laud parents who seek out gender-neutral toys and books and companies and publishers that provide them.

    However, I think it’s going a little too far to attempt to *prohibit* gender-aimed marketing.

    I say this as the mother of a daughter who (without any parental encouragement) shuddered at “Pink Things” and begged for a broadsword, and of a son who wanted a baby doll for his second Christmas and devoured unicorn books.

    But whether it’s innate or culturally imposed, whether we like it or not, there are plenty of little girls who love sparkly tiaras and fairy princesses, and plenty of boys who won’t touch anything that doesn’t include farts and explosions.

    We don’t object to romance novels being marketed explicitly to women with pictures of babies and cupcakes and sleek male torsos; and I don’t see any movement to refuse to review books with busty babes and BFGs on the cover.

    tl, dr; there’s a huge difference between encouraging the change we want and prohibiting the status quo we don’t like, and in this case I’m leery of stepping over that line.

  6. Christine
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 13:47:59

    @hapax: I agree. I was a girl who wanted the sword *and* the pink sparkly things. My Barbies made good use of my older brothers’ leftover GI Joe stuff and I played with their old (now politically incorrect) toy cowboy holster and guns. I think it’s more than a little silly to mandate that all toys must be gender neutral. How does that work? No pink toys? What about boys who want pink toys?

  7. Fiona McGier
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 20:20:41

    @Christine–those boys who want pink toys better be careful. I just read about a school that publicly embarrassed a boy who brought a “My Little Pony” lunchbox to school. They sent him home, claiming he was creating a public nuisance with his choice. My God! I’m sure that made all of the other boys around him permanently gay! No WONDER he was sent home! (Sarcasm dripping heavily.)

    When my oldest son was in about 1st or 2nd grade, they were to bring in their favorite toys. Remember Power Rangers? He was totally in love with Kimberly, the pink ranger. He wanted to wear pink clothing, so if she ever saw him, she’d know he loved her. (Try finding pink clothing for a large-for-his-age boy!) And his collection of Kimberly toys not only included the action figures (read: usually ugly dolls for boys), but also the Barbie-like doll with rooted hair and removable clothing, so she could be dressed as her “normal” persona, or as her Power Ranger self. I asked the teacher what she thought about him wanting to bring in his doll, his favorite toy at that time because it was so life-like. She told me to have him bring in his entire collection, so the doll would just be a part of it, not the whole focus. He was a very shy kid, and abuse from others would have created massive depression. Her suggestion worked.

    But it irks me to this day (he’s an adult now) that I had to even ask! A girl could have brought in action figures or guns or army men, and everyone would have cooed about how cute that she was a tomboy. But my son would have been called many names, none of them “cute”. Why do we not allow boys the full panoply of toys/behaviors/emotions, then stand back amazed, when they grow up to be emotionally-stunted as men?

  8. Darlynne
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 11:50:52

    As the aunt of beloved nieces/nephews and grandnieces/nephews who have struggled to be themselves, I am always overwhelmed by and grateful for this poster from Crimethinc, which is their adaptation of Nancy R. Smith’s poem:

    For every girl who throws out her E-Z-Bake Over, there is a boy who wishes to find one.

  9. Darlynne
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 11:52:34

    @Darlynne: And, of course, I screwed up the link. Just search for crimethinc and “for every girl.” Sorry about that.

  10. Darlynne
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 11:55:08

    Or copy the link I provided and leave off the final backslash /. I’ll go quietly now.

  11. cleo
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 13:47:10

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