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Thursday News: SCOTUS rules against Aereo, unanswered questions from the Aereo ruling, SCOTUS may hear Marvel case, and the In Death books may finally come to film

Thursday News: SCOTUS rules against Aereo, unanswered questions from the Aereo...

Aereo Loses at Supreme Court, in Victory for TV Broadcasters – So I don’t know how many of you were surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling against Aereo, but I do hope the ruling encourages more debate and discussion around how to “enable choice and freedom” in media presentation. Aereo was founded on that ideal, and in an environment where cable and satellite television dominate the market (in the US, at least), we *need* more breadth and diversity.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority, said the service was “not simply an equipment provider,” but acted like a cable system in that it transmitted copyrighted content. “Insofar as there are differences,” he wrote, “those differences concern not the nature of the service that Aereo provides so much as the technological manner in which it provides the service.”

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At the hearing in April, the justices had expressed concern that a ruling against Aereo would stifle technological innovation — a concern echoed throughout the tech industry. Justice Breyer took pains on Wednesday to say the decision was limited to Aereo’s service. “We believe that resolution of questions about cloud computing, remote storage DVRs and other novel matters not now before us should await a case in which they are clearly presented,” he said in announcing the decision from the bench. –New York Times

Four Unanswered Questions From Aereo’s Supreme Court Loss – This is a really nice piece that attempts a preliminary answer to four questions in the wake of the Aereo ruling, from the one below, to the legality of DVR and streaming services, and the major concern with the effect this ruling will have on innovation. Not only is there some great legal context here, there is also a pretty nice explanation of the issues and the significance of the ruling for those who are not necessarily familiar with the case.

1) Who took the legally significant action? It’s one of the most fundamental, yet unresolved, questions of Internet law: if online content is infringing, who bears legal responsibility? Is it the uploader, the downloader, one or more intermediaries helping move the content from uploader to downloader, all of the above, none of the above, or some subset of these parties? This “whodunit” question online has vexed courts for more than 20 years, and this ruling will likely exacerbate the confusion. –Forbes

Hollywood Guilds Want Supreme Court to Hear Marvel Characters Dispute – According to the Hollywood Guild, which represents artistic creators, a 2013 ruling by the 2nd Circuit “jeopardizes the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created.” The issue is related to a perceived trade-off within the lengthened copyright period, such that creators who have sold their rights to studios and other corporations can terminate those rights in the later years (reversion). Jack Kirby’s estate is heading the charge here, and their objection to the idea that Kirby’s creations are merely works for hire and therefore not eligible for termination and reversion of rights is getting a good deal of support and momentum toward the high court. Should SCOTUS reverse the appeals court ruling, the implications for other licensed works could be substantial.

Now that the high court might potentially review working agreements in Hollywood, SAG-AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA are weighing in on what they say is a “critically important case.” Lest anyone think that the ability to reclaim rights from studios is something merely for comic book artists, the guilds say the 2nd Circuit’s 2013 ruling “jeopardizes the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created.”

Similar to the amicus briefs already filed, the guilds argue that works made for hire are the product of traditional employment relationships, and that to extend the interpretation broadly to commissioned works as well would be a consequential power shift in the entertainment industry. –Hollywood Reporter

Let’s All Take A Deep Breath – So there seems to be some movement in the seemingly never-ending saga of turning the In Death books into film(s). I’ll likely be in the camp that will be critical of anyone/everyone cast in the main roles, because, over the course of 30-something books, the characters have taken on a pretty defined shape in my head. I long ago accepted that I am likely not a member of the audience for this particular film project. Although I can’t say that I was surprised at the vehemence of some of the reactions.

Yesterday we announced on the JD Robb Facebook page that Amber Entertainment has optioned the In Death books. And the comment section exploded. Reactions ranged from excitement and delight to abject despair and even anger–with every possible emotion that falls between. Casting suggestions (and demands) flew like grapeshot.

I’m going to take this opportunity to address some of those concerns, suggestions, demands. –Fall Into The Story

Wednesday News: Women keeping boys from reading, men reading Romance, Comcast growing again, and Amazon planning Kindlephone

Wednesday News: Women keeping boys from reading, men reading Romance, Comcast...

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Are Boys Not Reading Because of All Those Women in Publishing? – Forgive my bad pun, but oh boy. Despite the fact that VIDA’s figures don’t support the premise that women control the children’s lit publishing industry, children’s writer and illustrator Jonathan Emmett claims that women are keeping boys from finding appropriate reading material, thereby deterring their acquisition of reading skills and enthusiasm.

Writing for The Times of London, David Sanderson and Fiona Wilson report that author and illustrator Jonathan Emmett believes that “boys are being deterred from reading because the ‘gatekeepers’ to children’s literature are mostly women.” –Publishing Perspectives

I’m a guy who loves romance novels — and Jennifer Weiner is right about reviews – I wasn’t planning on mentioning this article written by Noah Berlatsky on Romance and the idea of a genre canon, but it’s generated so much discussion, both on Twitter and on blogs like Love in the Margins and The Misadventures of Super Librarian, that I decided to mention it, if only because I think the idea that Romance doesn’t have canonical works is curious (and untrue). I think Berlatsky is conflating his own taste with the concept of canon, which ends up placing him — a guy who’s read very little in the genre — in the position of Romance tastemaker. And, not surprisingly, that alienated a lot of female Romance readers. I have, by the way, included the donotlink.com version of the Salon piece, so don’t feel that clicking will send traffic to the site. However, whether or not you do read the article, definitely check out Super Librarian Wendy’s fantastic response, which includes some IMO indisputably canonical Romance works.

Oh, there are rafts and rafts of romance novels out there; teetering drifts of Harlequins and historicals and contemporaries, filled with plucky heroines and dashing or dastardly young men. I know that. But the question was, where to start? A friend recommended Nora Roberts at one point, and I gave that a try … but I couldn’t hack the dreadful prose — and this is from someone who rather enjoys “Twilight” and can even manage the occasional Robert Ludlum thriller. I’ve poked around online to find “best of” lists or other recommendations, but it soon became clear that there wasn’t even a provisional consensus on which books were the best or essential romance novels. Jane Austen showed up consistently, as did “Gone With the Wind,” but there was nothing that gave me a sense that certain books were clearly central, or respected, or worth reading. The genre is so culturally maligned that there has been no concerted effort to codify it. There is, in short, no romance canon. –Salon

Comcast earnings up 30% as it adds video subscribers – This Comcast thing is really starting to scare me. In their attempt to take over Time Warner (over whom they’re competing with Charter, and that’s a whole other set of problematic issues), Comcast is positioning itself to become so large that the question of whether consumers will actually have choice when it comes to cable providers is seriously imperiled. There’s just a lot of stuff here about which to be very concerned.

On a conference call, Chief Executive Brian Roberts said Comcast is studying the wireless market and is “encouraged by it.” With the wireless assets Comcast has, long term “we are in a position to think about where wireless is going and how we can participate in a way to build value and whether that is through our existing products or it’s a new product,” Roberts said.

By adding video subscribers in the past two quarters, Comcast is bucking a trend. In recent years most cable operators have been losing video subscribers to phone and satellite-TV companies. –Market Watch

Amazon smartphone could be controlled by tilting this way and that – Speaking of monopolies and competition, here’s more news on Amazon’s purported smartphone (Kindlephone). You can click on another link for a “roundup” of news related to the Kindlephone more generally, but this article focuses on the rumor that the phone will be controllable by physically manipulating it in a tipping or tilting motion. CNET is not enamored by this idea.

Is it just me, or does this sound like a terrible idea? Very novel, certainly, and an interesting way of clawing back screen space so the interface isn’t cluttered with menus or icons. But it would require the phone to be very, very good at tracking which movements are intentional gestures and which are cack-handed wobbles of the wrists — or there’ll be menus sliding in left, right and centre when you’re just trying to send a text. –CNET