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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 Midday Links & Deals: Kobo Has Deep Pockets Too, Nora Roberts Publishes 200th Novel

Wednesday Midday Links & Deals: Kobo Has Deep Pockets Too, Nora...

The Bookseller

“Kobo previously announced that it would launch a self-publishing tool, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, but Serbinis said the business had been focused on expanding internationally, launching its tablet device, and closing the sale to Rakuten. But he promised the platform would launch “this quarter” before the summer. “We are currently fine-tuning our offer,” he said. He said the deal with Rakuten, which is a £25bn-a-year business, would help Kobo “mitigate” against those companies with very deep pockets. “We have a nuclear deterrent by having a strong balance sheet.”

“Before we get into the individual items of clothing, it’s important to realize some phrases we use today didn’t mean quite the same thing 200 years ago. For example, when we say “She was in a state of undress.” or “She was caught en dishabille.” The folks of the regency wouldn’t have batted an eye. It was quite common for ladies to entertain guests in their boudoirs while dressed in comfortable, but concealing gowns and robes. The terms “undress”, “half-dress” and “full-dress” were degrees of formality, not coverage.”

News Corp acquired Thomas Nelson for $200 million. Five years earlier the seller had paid $473 million for Thomas Nelson. “This drastic drop in value appears to be due to the fact that as primarily a print product, even with e-book possibilities, Nelson had lost over 50% of its value.” B&N acquired Sterling Publishing in 2003 for $115 million. “Sterling was a significant publisher with revenues close to $100 million. Over the years, Sterling had developed a backlist of more than 5,000 owned and distributed titles. After an intensive search for a buyer, B&N found there were no acceptable bids. Sterling’s CEO and three executives left the company.” In March 2012, John Wiley & Sons offered for sale units like Frommer’s, CliffsNotes, and Webster’s New World Dictionary.

“It’s not like the agency model had to be shoved down the throats of desperate publishers. They wanted to set their own prices. They just needed Apple’s help to create an alternative store and publishing platform and to push the agency model on Amazon.”

“(a) against an Entity that has filed, maintained, threatened, or voluntarily participated in an intellectual property lawsuit against Assignee or any of Assignee’s users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors. (An assignee would be Twitter. Their employee would be an inventor.) (b) against an Entity that has filed, maintained, or voluntarily participated in a patent infringement lawsuit against another in the past ten years (emphasis added) so long as the Entity has not instituted the patent infringement lawsuit defensively in response to a patent litigation threat against the Entity; or (c) otherwise to deter a patent litigation threat against Assignee or Assignee’s users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors. Twitter also promises not to threaten inventors to get consent.”

“The country’s largest digital bookseller has acquired the exclusive North American rights to publish all 14 classic James Bond spy titles by the late Ian Fleming in both print and digital form. The 10-year deal, for books such as “Dr. No” and “Casino Royale,” was struck with a company controlled by Mr. Fleming’s heirs.”

“At the C2E2 ComiXology panel it was confirmed that DC graphic novels are no longer being sold through Kindle Fire’s ComiXology app, and CEO David Steinberger said it was intentional. However the reasons are hidden behind many layers of NDAs. This is all odd because you can certainly still buy DC books via Amazon and their Kindle store. You can purchase tons of DC comics from ComiXology, on the web and their IOS app. Apparently, you just can’t buy DC Comics through the Kindle Fire ComiXology app (we don’t have a Kindle Fire handy to check.) The DC/Kindle Fire exclusive GN marriage was announced with great fanfare and promise, but soon resulted in heartache and acrimony when B&N and Books A Million pulled their DC graphic novels off the shelves in spite. While no one is saying anything at all about this glitch, it probably has some weird technical proprietary cause and isn’t very dramatic at all”

“The appeal of Roberts is simple, says Sarah Wendell, co-founder of the romance-review blog Smart B——-, Trashy Books: “She’s consistent. She’s ubiquitous. Readers know that if they take a Nora Roberts on vacation, they won’t be disappointed.” Many critics haven’t been so kind — when they bother to take notice. Like many romance novels, Roberts’s books are typically overlooked in the mainstream media, and the silence is often more complimentary than the reviews. Writing in the New York Times, Janet Maslin dismissed Roberts’s 2001 novel “The Villa” as an example of “feminine wish fulfillment.” Maureen Corrigan wrote in The Washington Post that Roberts’s 2009 novel “Black Hills” “isn’t much of a suspense story, and the romance is so silly that it isn’t even good fantasy fodder.””


  • The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S * Recommended*
  • The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S * Recommended*
  • The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S * Recommended*
  • Once Upon A Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Daring by Dee Davis * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Love Is in the Heir by Kathryn Caskie * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * Recommended*
  • That’s Amore by Wendy Markham * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lady’s Choice by Amanda Scott * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Out of Time by Samantha Graves * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * Recommended*
  • Stronger than Sin by Caridad Piñeiro * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S