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SCOTUS

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

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