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Friday News: Conan Doyle estate smacked by SCOTUS, Rupert Murdoch pursuing Time Warner, future-world Archie dies, and new Emily Giffin review drama

Friday News: Conan Doyle estate smacked by SCOTUS, Rupert Murdoch pursuing...

There is a case to be made for the aggressive protection of an author’s intellectual property rights by their estate. However, it must also be remembered the the US Constitution guaranteed those rights for only a “limited time,” and that the whole of the copyright clause is related to the “Progress of Science and useful Arts.” And this progress necessitates the public’s interest in copyright, in the sense that works in the public domain provide inspiration and fodder for other works. That the Conan Doyle estate seems content to collect licensing fees raises my cynical left eyebrow (that one gets a lot more upward movement than the right one these days), and I doubt this is their final move.

Doyle has been dead for eighty-four years, but because of extensions of copyright terms, ten of his fifty-six short stories continue to be protected from copying. All of the short stories and four novels were published between 1887 and 1927, but all of the collection except ten short stories have entered into the public domain as copyrights expired.

The Doyle estate, though, is pressing a quite unusual copyright theory. It contends that, since Doyle continued to develop the characters of Holmes and Watson throughout all of the stories, the characters themselves cannot be copied even for what Doyle wrote about them in the works that are now part of the public domain and thus ordinarily would be fair game for use by others. –Scotus Blog

Combine their international cable footprints and its uber-huge with Fox revenue 44% of total and strong in Europe while TW 36% and well penetrated in Latin America. Murdoch’s resultant international cable scale would create synergies on ad sales, affiliate fees, and pay-TV penetration, according to the analysts. That’s good for the companies.

What this also means is that, just as a time when a wealth of new buyers like Goggle, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo and Netflix for scripted professional TV programming have appeared, it’s entirely possibly that 2 of the biggest traditional buyers will become one combined entity to better control over how content is sold to these new online players. That’s bad for you. A merged Fox/Time Warner company would negotiate digital rights more effectively and create an even more formidable rival to these still fledgling programmers and distributors. That’s good for the companies. –Nikke Finke

Why did a series that for so long revolved around malt shops and the virtues of blondes versus brunettes take such a dark and political turn? Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO, told the Associated Press they “wanted to do something that was impactful” and that would “resonate with the world.”

“That’s how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin,” Goldwater said. “He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.” –MSNBC

I did not finish this book because I did not like the direction that the relationship between the Coach and Shea was going. I wrote on Emily Giffin’s Facebook page that I loved all of her previous books, but I wasn’t comfortable with the direction this book was going in, my comments were deleted by her staff. I then wrote to her organization only to have her husband, Buddy Blaha wrote back to me with some “poor Emily” type stuff. –Amazon, Goodreads

Sunday Midday News:  Publisher Behaving Badly

Sunday Midday News: Publisher Behaving Badly

The Romance Reviews has a great big giveaway going on until August 31, 2010.   Check them out.

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Barnes and Noble is advertising free digital books.   Except these are books that are in the public domain so its a pretty lame promotion, if you ask me.   I did a post a couple of weeks ago about where to get public domain books which include   Project Gutenberg,  MobileRead, and  Feedbooks, Amazon and Sony.   Commenters pointed out manybooks.net.   The reality is that BN does have some good freebies to promote such as Karen Marie Moning’s DarkFever and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Steve Hockensmith.

Don’t forget to check out Books on the Knob for a list of more promotional freebies.

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Books on Board has a list of all the RITA nominees on one page.   I really appreciate this.   I use the RITA nominees to find new category books (not so much for the mass markets).

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Borders ebooksBorders has opened up its ebook store.   It sells ePubs encrypted with the Adobe DRM.   Last week it was giving away a few books but that promotion appears to have ended. In perusing the store, I noticed that if Borders could discount a book, the book was generally at least 20% off.   I found one really good deal and a worthwhile freebie:

Because Borders is missing a lot of content, it isn’t a replacement for your main shopping site, but it would be worthwhile to check out from time to time to see if you are getting the best deal for your Harlequin, Kensington and Random House purchases.

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Hearts’s iPad Magazine Apps will offer more functionality than just allowing a reader to peruse the magazine contents.    The Oprah magazine will have a built in ebook reader and will allow readers to purchase Oprah recommended books and read them through the “O” magazine.

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Michael Wolff writes for Newswer that it is a wasteland at the Times and SundayTimes in London behind the newly institute paywalls.

A Murdoch and Fleet Street veteran with whom I've been corresponding about the paywall reported to me on his recent conversation with an A-list entertainment publicist: "What was really interesting to me was that this person volunteered a blinding realization. "Why would I get any of my clients to talk to the  Times or the  Sunday Times if they are behind a paywall? Who can see it? I can’t even share a link and they aren’t on search. It's as though their writers don’t exist anymore.'"

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Paul Biba writes that there is a strong rumor that Apple and Amazon are going to employ individuals who will pursue ebook rights from authors whose rights have reverted or whose digital rights have never been sold.   This will be interesting.

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I thought this post at All About Romance by author Lisa Kleypas was quite interesting.   She said that she hoped her next books would be paperback or trade paperback at least.   It sounds like the publisher is pushing for hardcover.

Because this is a Christmas story, it’s going to be a shorter book in a hardcover format (I think price is 16.00)–this length and format seems to be what many readers prefer for a holiday read. But every book in the series can be read on its own, and the following three titles will all be full-length (which to me is much easier to write than a shorter length!) I would love for them to be released in paperback or possibly trade, but no decisions have been made yet.

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Speaking of libraries:

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Last, but not least, is a news bit about Lazy Day Publishing.   LDP came to my attention via a notice in my inbox.   As new epublishers spring up, I try to check them out.   This one, however, lacked any concrete information on who was backing the publishing house.   I put the email aside and figured I would check   back upon the release of their books.

This weekend I received an email that LDP was upset about the comments on Absolute Write Forum.   AWF, like all forums, has good information and bad information but there is no doubt it is a seriously valuable tool for aspiring and published writers a like.   AWF, for example, had posters up to two years ago reporting non payment by Dorchester. The purpose of AWF is to provide a safe haven for writers to share ideas about craft but also advice about the business side of publishing.   One of its most oft visited areas is the Bewares section.

Lazy Day Publishing starts its own thread on AW and the commenters were initially cordial but eventually there were the “who the f are you?” questions because, well, who are these people and what do they know about publishing?      Lazy Day took exception to this thread and wrote a blog screed which they deleted after a couple of days.   Why delete Lazy Day?   Have you not heard of Google cache? or um, screencaps? (I took the screencaps because I KNEW that this would be deleted).

took the higher road on this forum.  This was  not an easy thing to do.   How these cranky, arrogant and rude authors suddenly became the voice of the forum, I'm  notsure.   I guess the better question would be how they became so  negative in the first place?   Maybe it's all the rejection letters they have received in their lifetime.    :)

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These few authors who fuel the negativity on this site are doomed to an unhappy existence of barely making it as a writer.   I feel sorry for them.   I feel sorry that they have forgotten about the art of storytelling.   They have lost the dream of sharing their writing with others.   They have created this microcosm of hostility.   An existence I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Wow, does this sound familiar or what?

In reading over their website, there are wrong word choices and bad grammar usage.   There is no question that you will see bad grammar on our site all the time, but we are an unedited blog site, not a site for a publishing house.

Lazy Day Pub 2

So what do I take away from Lazy Day Pub?   They have short fuses, will try to embarrass you on their blog if you cross them, and they lack a copy editor for the Frequently Asked Questions.