Wednesday News: HathiTrust wins against Author’s Guild, Kindle installment plan, book criticism hasn’t changed much, but thankfully love letters have
Fair Use Victory in HathiTrust Litigation – So this is the one about how the Author’s Guild sued the HathiTrust and lost. The HathiTrust — comprised of more than 80 academic and research institutions — created a digital library (the HathiTrust Digital Library) and then digitized more than ten million works for the Library. The Second Circuit ruled on two issues and did not rule on a third, and both of the issues they did rule on — full-text searchability and digital access for print-disabled readers — to be Fair Use. Go figure. The third, as yet unresolved, issue is related to the question of whether a library can print a replacement copy of a book that is otherwise unobtainable for a reasonable price.
Today’s decision is an important reaffirmation of the fair use doctrine’s role in enabling transformative uses of copyrighted works that enable the creation of new information-location tools and in the ability of libraries to serve the needs of their print disabled patrons. –The Berkeley Blog
Three Months in, Amazon’s Kindle Installment Plan is Here to Stay – Did you know that Amazon was offering an installment plan for Kindles? I sure didn’t. Apparently everything but the Fire is available for purchase in five payments, and the program has already been in place for three months.
It makes a lot of sense for Amazon to offer this program. Once they have maxed out their retail channel by selling to everyone who can pay full price, and lowered the price as much as they can via ad subsidies, the next logical step was to offer an installment plan and lower the purchase barrier another notch. And since Amazon handles their own payment processing, the actual cost (compared to having the stock sitting in a warehouse unsold) is minimal. –The Digital Reader
Absent Friends: Lean Years of Plenty – Katherine Mansfield was the fiction reviewer for The Athenaeum for about four years, between 1919 and her death in 1923. And for all of the complaints we have about genre fiction of today, trust that Mansfield made note of most of them almost a century ago. That’s right, dear readers, streams of literary dreck have been running unchecked through pens, typewriters, computers, and book presses for decades and decades, and authors have resented negative reviews. Seriously, though, it’s pretty amusing to see how little things have changed when it comes to complaints about writing quality and the value of critical reviews.
Public Opinion, garrulous, lying old nurse that she is, cries: ‘Yes! Great books, immortal books are being born every minute, each one more lusty than the last. Let him who is without sin among you cast the first criticism.’ It would be a superb, thrilling world if this were true! Or even if the moderate number of them were anything but little puppets, little make-believes, playthings on strings with the same stare and the same sawdust filling, just unlike enough to keep the attention distracted, but all like enough to do nothing more profound. After all, in these lean years of plenty how could it be otherwise? Not even the most hardened reader, at the rate books are written and read nowadays, could stand up against so many attacks upon his mind and heart, if it were. Reading, for the great majority—for the reading public—is not a passion but a pastime, and writing, for the vast number of modern authors, is a pastime and not a passion. –Open Letters Monthly
7 Highlights from a 19th Century Book of Sample Love Letters – Perhaps this 19th century advice on writing love letters should be filed under things not to include in your Romance novel. Among the examples (with helpful annotations):
3. “FROM A GENTLEMAN OF SOME FORTUNE, WHO HAD SEEN A LADY IN PUBLIC, TO HER MOTHER”
He gets to the heart of the matter eventually, but it’s the opening paragraph that’s worth considering:
I shall be very happy if you are not altogether unacquainted with the name which is at the bottom of this letter, since that will prevent me the necessity of saying some things concerning myself, which had better be heard from others. Hoping that it may be so, I shall not trouble you on that head; but only say, that I have the honour to be of a family not mean, and not wholly without fortune.
I think that’s 19th century speak for “Do you know who I am?!” –Mental Floss