Friday News: Secret treaties, Reduction in VAT challenged, Books that shaped America
Capitol Records, LLC v. Redigi Inc. – Given the recent ruling in the EU that digital downloads are resalable, I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit the Redigi suit. To refresh readers’ recollections, the Redigi suit is about whether a company can resell digital products. Redigi allows for the resale of legitimately purchased iTunes music. Capital Records sued Redigi for copyright infringement. In February of this year, the court denied Capital’s request for an injunction that would put Redigi out of business. On July 20, 2012, motions for summary judgment are to be filed with resistances due on August 10, 2012. The court will conduct oral argument on October 5, 2012. Right now the parties are in a dispute as to whether customer information should be provided to Capitol Records. Redigi has argued that to reveal this information would be to subject individuals to threats of lawsuits. Capitol Records is undoubtably trying to show that the music being sold on Redigi wasn’t legitimately purchased and that Redigi is simply a haven for infringers.
Books That Shaped America – National Book Festival (Library of Congress) – “The Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.” “This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.” Library of Congress
I love that the list includes Louisa May Alcott but did Little Women really help shape America?
$7,000 Fine for Sharing “WordPress For Dummies” on BitTorrent | TorrentFreak – “Earlier this year the book publisher named several defendants in an updated complaint, and one has now been ordered to compensate Wiley for sharing a copy of “WordPress All-in-One For Dummies” on BitTorrent. Judge William Pauley entered a default judgement of $7,000 in damages against Robert Carpenter, who failed to respond to the allegations. The man from Poughkeepsie, New York, has been found guilty of a unique combination of both copyright and trademark infringement.”Torrent Freak
European Parliament Rejects Anti-Piracy Treaty – NYTimes.com – “PARIS — European legislators on Wednesday rejected an international treaty to crack down on digital piracy, a vote that Internet freedom groups hailed as a victory for democracy but that media companies lamented as a setback for the creative industries. Foes of the treaty said the vote, by an overwhelming margin in the European Parliament at Strasbourg, would probably end the prospects of European involvement in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which has been signed by the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and a number of individual E.U. members.” NYTimes
The EU is being so progressive about access to the internet but then…
EUROPA – Press Releases – Commission questions France and Luxembourg about reduced VAT rate on digital books – “The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against France and Luxembourg because the VAT rates they are applying to digital books are potentially incompatible with EU law. In its Communication of December 2011 on the future of VAT, the Commission launched a debate on the possibility of moving towards convergence of the VAT rates applicable, on the one hand, to traditional books and, on the other, to digital books. The Commission will put forward proposals by the end of 2013. It is not possible, however, to ensure convergence towards the reduced rate currently applicable to traditional books without amending the VAT Directive. France and Luxembourg nevertheless decided to apply reduced rates to digital books as of 1 January 2012, thereby infringing EU law. The rates are 7% for France and 3% for Luxembourg.” Press Release
I suspect Little Women did a lot to convince American women that they didn’t have to be sweet Megs, saintly Beths or silly Amys. Did girls who grew up thinking it was okay to be Jo become suffragettes?
In medicine, fake medicine has been conflated with poor medicine and the drug companies have urged the gov’t to act against poor quality medicine by chasing the fakers. However, in Africa, a decent part of the problem with low quality medicine is poor quality coming from local factories making generics, not Chinese fakes. By conflating the two, it looks like expensive, patented medicine is the solution, when decent quality generics would be cheaper. I hope Europe was wise to resist this kind of thing.
Also, the third world generally can’t afford a high quality text book per student, so they scan and lend or resell them at an affordable price. Again, an effective attack on piracy would seriously harm education. This has gone on as long as Xerox machines have existed. Raids are cheap, but actual prosecutions are expensive, so developing world countries pressured on piracy tend to raid, when pressured but not actually follow through with prosecution, meaning the pirates are back in business within a month.
To really deal with piracy, thought has to go into thinking about the needs of countries who can’t afford to pay developed country prices for copyrighted goods. I don’t see that happening. Maybe declining to sign on to ACTA is a first step.
I think the value of “Little Women” is its semibiographical style. I also think it’s odd you’d consider Amy “silly.” I’ve always considered her the best developed character in the novel excepting Jo. She also experiences more growth and change than the other characters, probably because she’s the youngest and the “baby sister.” I liked how honest she was to herself (and to others.)
@SAO I agree. I’ve always felt Amy was the definition of a flibbertigibbet and the sequel only confirmed that. However, you may be right that Jo was an empowering figure for a lot of girls.
Thanks for the article on the the VAT and books. Here in Ontario the printed books and audio books are charged a reduced HST of 5% while digital books are charged at the full rate of 13%. I’ll be interested to see how this is resolved (if at all) in the EU.
I was surprised that neither “The Crucible”not “Death of a Salesman” made the list,
Anne Shirley had a far greater impact on me than Jo March. As much as I enjoyed Alcott’s work, the preachiness was overbearing and lessened the enjoyment of the story. Anne Shirley was real and believable. But I guess this list is just for American authors?
I’m surprised all the various organized-religion texts were left off the list. Or maybe I’m not.
What surprised me was “The Double Helix.” I had to read it for my college chemistry classes, but I would never have thought to put it on the list. Maybe it really was quite influential when it was first published, but I think Richard Fenyman’s books would be more representative of influential books in the genre of scientific writing.
I’d venture to make the case that This Side of Paradise, with its immensely popular and eye-opening view of the “new” American young adulthood, had greater impact, at least at the time, than The Great Gatsby did some years later.
I’d also include Davis and Downing’s 1842 work “Cottage Residences” which shaped America in a very literal sense and had an enormous impact on architects thereafter.
There’s a lot of overlap between the books that shaped america list and the required reading lists for my ap american lit & history classes in high school.
What a great list!
Anne Shirley is wonderful, but L.M. Montgomery was a Canadian author.
The Band Played On was an extraordinary book, I’m glad it made the list.
@Tamara: Well, they do have Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” on the list which is set in Canada’s Yukon Territory and is about the Klondike Gold Rush. London was an American author so I guess that’s why it qualifie and our Anne doesn’t. That’s probably why the religious texts aren’t on the list either.
I’d call that list “Books That Describe America,” rather than “shaped.” But that’s just me.
If you want to enjoy some irony, the Label is arguing in Redigi that the downloads are a license, but in a separate class action dispute brought by Rob Zombie, David Coverdale, Dave Mason, and the estate of Rick James against Universal Music Group, the Label is arguing that it is a sale. License and sale were treated differently in these contracts with different royalties. A sale is much more lucrative for the Label than a license under these contracts.
Eminem’s win in the 9th circuit (cert denied by the S. Ct.) has paved the way for this current, interesting battle.
A quote from Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster: “I have four going at once. Just now, they’re Tennyson’s poems and Vanity Fair and Kipling’s Plain Tales and—don’t laugh—Little Women. I find that I am the only girl in college who wasn’t brought up on Little Women. I haven’t told anybody though (that WOULD stamp me as queer). I just quietly went and bought it with $1.12 of my last month’s allowance; and the next time somebody mentions pickled limes, I’ll know what she is talking about!”