Wednesday News: Harper Collins wins copyright case against Open Road, app warns users not to make defamatory comments, campaign for gender-netural toys gains support, Beastie Boys settles with Goldiblox in fair use suit
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