FRIDAY NEWS: Publisher fined, Facebook sued, and author protests Kindle returns
Penguin pinged $30,000 for publishing the recipe book of fake cancer survivor Belle Gibson – Penguin Australia published a cookbook written by a woman who faked a cancer diagnosis, apparently asking her for fact-checking details, but ultimately publishing the book without getting them. The publisher cooperated with the investigation by Consumer Affairs Victoria, which is also looking at the author for possible “deceptive conduct.” Just imagine if US publishers and authors were subjected to this level of scrutiny.
As well as the $30,000 contribution, Penguin Australia has agreed to improve its compliance, education and training program for staff, including a risk management checklist for books that make health claims, and statements about natural therapies in books must be accompanied by a prominent warning notice. – Business Insider Australia
Facebook loses first round in suit over storing biometric data – Oh, Facebook. After allegedly collecting and storing biometric information from user photographs (SERIOUSLY?!), Facebook tried to get a lawsuit filed by users dismissed, pointing again to that user agreement they claim covers every possible type of “research” the social media giant decides to conduct.
Facebook filed the motion arguing that the users could not file a complaint under Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) as they had agreed in their user agreement that California law would govern their disputes with the company, and that BIPA does not apply to “tag suggestions.”
The court found that Illinois law applies and that the plaintiffs have stated a claim under BIPA. – Yahoo News
Purchased by accident? Cancel order – Jenny Trout believes that Amazon’s seven-day digital book return policy allows readers to “steal” from authors by reading a book in its entirety and then returning it. One proposal being presented via a Change.org petition (by another author) is for Amazon to refuse a return when a book has been read past the 15% point. I don’t know how widespread an issue this is, and I agree that returning a book simply because you’ve read it already (and not because there’s anything “wrong” with it) is an ethical problem. But I also think “wrong” goes beyond technical issues, and that may take more than 15% of the text to detect. Also, I tend to be wary of arguments based on the reader entitlement assertion and the specialness of books (e.g. why don’t we prohibit returns of all products, because people can use them and then return?).
Free e-books, which were once considered a promotional tool or a gift from authors to their loyal readers, are now an expectation. Despite the endless options for free digital reading from sites like Wattpad and An Archive Of Our Own, some readers feel that all content should be free, regardless of whether or not the author is a professional who relies on writing for their income.
“Why would you think our job is any different than your job–you know, the one you are supposed to go to so you can pay for your entertainment?” author Becky McGraw asks. “Authors work twelve to sixteen hours a day at our job to produce books for your entertainment.”
On the surface, Amazon return scams seem no different from piracy. But whereas readers who pirate ebooks seek out a particular torrent with a title already in mind, Amazon’s return policy allows unscrupulous readers to browse at their leisure and easily download the content to their devices. – Jenny Trout via Medium
Watch George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien Face Off in Rap Battle – I don’t even know what to think or say after watching this. I laughed, I cringed, I was horrified and entertained. Have you heard of these Epic Rap Battles of History? This video has almost 5 million views on YouTube, and some have more than 20 million. Deadpool v. Boba Fett has more than 28 million views!