Friday News: Led Zeppelin legal victory, beer & books, collecting, and Taylor Swift, Girl Detective
Led Zeppelin Wins ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Jury Trial – Led Zeppelin won a crucial victory in defending the legendary “Stairway to Heaven” from claims of copyright infringement on behalf of the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.” The suit was particularly interesting because it was brought on behalf of songwriter Randy Wolfe’s estate, because Wolfe had never pursued such a claim during his lifetime. Wolfe died almost 20 years ago, but his trustee claimed an ownership interest in the composition, which allowed him to ultimately file suit against Plant and Page, who insisted that they never even heard “Taurus” before writing “Stairway.” Their attorneys also argued that “the chord progression in question was very common and had been in use for more than 300 years,” much like the reputation of common tropes in fiction (aka not every mimetic expression is plagiarism). Ultimately, the jury agreed:
The jury — eight California citizens — delivered its verdict that the plaintiff owned the copyright to “Taurus” and that Led Zeppelin members indeed heard it, but that there was no substantial similarity in the extrinsic elements of “Taurus” and “Stairway.” The decision came after the jury took one last listen of both songs. Within a half hour of doing so, the jury had made up its mind.
If the multimillion-dollar “Blurred Lines” verdict showed that artists can cross the line in being inspired, this latest decision shows that for whatever similarities lay observers spot, there’s still ample room for artists to be cleared of song theft. – Hollywood Reporter and BBC News
Want a beer with your book? That may soon be an option at Barnes & Noble. – Oh, look: Barnes and Noble is going to test market beer and wine, “shareable, American-style food,” and even table service in some of its stores. Hey, Starbucks is trying it, so why not, right? So books, beer, and wings?
It’s not hard to see why Barnes & Noble would want to move in this direction. Consumers have been spending strongly on dining out, even as mall retailers and big-box stores have struggled to ring up sales. And a key part of Barnes & Noble’s strategy these days is to grow in categories outside of its core book business, which has long grappled with punishing competition from Amazon.com. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.) – Washington Post
In defense of book collecting – Who among us cannot relate to this state of affairs?
As of this writing there are 1,790 books in my apartment, some couple hundred in my campus office, and an unknown number floating about on loan to various friends and students. This represents a decrease of probably 20 percent from the height of my mania. Over the past few years, I have embarked on culling operations, boxing up hundreds of books and carting them to used bookstores. Spilling off shelves, piled in tottering stacks on every flat surface and a few angular ones, the books are snowing me under. . . .
When I ask myself why I collect books, I think of a review [Walter] Benjamin published in 1930 in which he imagines the writer as “a ragpicker, at daybreak, picking up rags of speech and verbal scraps with his stick and tossing them, grumbling and growling, a little drunk, into his cart.” It is always daybreak somewhere along my shelves. – Chicago Tribune
A Taylor Swift-Themed Detective Book Is Happening – Even as I shake my head, I am intrigued. Taylor Swift: Girl Detective and The Secrets of The Starbucks. Because who doesn’t want to read a “graphic novella” about “an out of work actress in New York City who finds threatening messages on her skinny mocha[s]”?
Why’d they choose Taylor Swift as the heroine? “Her publicity is focused more on her own derring-doishness and accomplishments than her sex appeal, much like a modern day Nancy Drew,” Kitty Curran tells TIME. “She also used to dress exactly like Nancy Drew, though now she looks maybe more like the updated 80s version.” In the story, Swift makes a mischievous face a lot, and Lorde serves as her muscle. “While Lorde is a badass, she is so ethereal and poetic in her ways that making her the tough one in the book just seemed hilarious to us. We also needed a good foil for the more poised, level-headed detective figure of Taylor Swift and she fit the bill perfectly,” Curran said. Someone should give these two a mystery award for nailing Lorde’s exasperated face. – TIME
B&N will soon rebrand as Bar & Noble. In twenty years, they’ll be a restaurant franchise with quaint book-cover wallpaper, which they will then remove when a focus group calls the decor “square.”
The reason I quit shopping at brick-and-mortars was that they cut their already limited inventory of BOOKS in half to make room for their toy stores and coffee shops. They drove this customer out the door, so I’m unsympathetic to their ongoing identity struggles.
I used to love Barnes & Noble. But then I had kids and every time I took them to B&N they were too distracted by all the toys and videos and other crap to bother looking at books. “We already have books, Mama, but we don’t have (insert item here)!”
My kids are grown up now, but I still don’t shop at B&N.
I’ve been a book collector for most of my adult life. At 59, newly retired, and with a (finally) empty nest (at least for now), I am trying to convince myself that I am not really a book collector but actually a book HOARDER . I basically still possess every book I’ve read in my adult life just in case I want to re-read them or refer to them.
So I’m now in the process of boxing them up to prepare for donations to whatever local organizations will take them. I don’t know if any one organization will take thousands of used books at one time, I also don’t know which ones will take the erotica, but I am determined to get all but a VERY select few of them out of here! It physically HURTS to get rid of them though!
I was passing by our local brick-and-mortar B&N today, and thought I’d go in and take advantage of my nine-or-so bucks settlement refund. There are quite a few books I want in print (popular bestsellers from the past year, mind you, not out of print or anything obscure) but I couldn’t find a one of them on the shelves. The clerk offered to order some for me, but if I’m going to order it, I can get it quicker and cheaper from Amazon. I kind of picked at the offerings of soap and stationery, but decided that I didn’t need any more “stuff” around the house; I thought about using it at the coffee shop (if they would let me) but I really dislike Starbuck’s overpriced stale offerings. As little as I use my Nook nowadays, I’m sure I can still spend the money there.
On the plus side, however, as I was leaving the store, a mom was shepherding three excited little kids in. I heard her admonish them “Now remember, NO toys, NO candy, you can only pick out BOOKS!”
Good luck with that, lady!
You might find this useful http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2016/06/just-one-book/
That’s a heartwarming appeal but probably wouldn’t work for me because of the shipping costs and the fact that most of my books would probably not be appropriate for students or of interest to non-Romance readers.
I think I’m going to try to spread my donations over a couple of organizations both here in northeast Ohio (Friends of the Library, Animal Welfare store) and in southwest Florida where we also spend a lot of time. My hubby isn’t too crazy about carting boxes of books down there with us, but Goodwill down there runs a used book store and I can’t imagine they’d not want some more Romance books.
@BevQB: Good luck to you! Winnowing down book collections can be so tough but it is worth it if you’re not likely to read them again. I’ve done it a few times with my print collection in the past decade, but on the down side, my digital collection keeps growing.