Monday News: Book sales, copyright use and abuse, and summer reading competition for boys
Publishers’ Overall U.S. Books Sales Down 5.6% YTD But Downloaded Audio Booms, Up 33% YTD – AAP has collected information from more than 1200 publishers and reports that book sales in most categories are down. It may not be surprising to see ebook sales down in the wake of Agency Pricing’s return, nor the surge in audiobook sales. If hardcover fiction is also on the rise, will this encourage publishers to double down on the business model that has historically favored this format?
Total revenues for the publishers were down 3.3% for the month compared to April 2014. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade-fiction/non-fiction, K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses). . . .
Downloaded audio continues to grow at a very healthy pace, with 33.3% growth through April. Hardback Adult Books did well this April, with 15.8% growth compared to last April. However, the growth of hardbacks is unique to the Adult Books category, since the format is down in other categories and is down 4.0% year-to-date. Ebooks are also down year-to-date by 9.3%. –infoDOCKET
Is Buck Rogers in the public domain? New movie hangs in the balance – Team Angry Filmworks has filed in federal court for a declaratory judgment on the public domain status of the Buck Rogers novella Armageddon 2419 A.D., inclusive of the character and various elements of the character’s universe. The rights to Philip Francis Nowlan’s work are owned by the Dillie Family Trust, which claims that the new film based on the novella must be licensed through the Trust. Although the case is focused exclusively on copyright, the inclusion of the specific elements of the character and the universe may anticipate a trademark challenge, as well.
The suit alleges that the trust threatened in writing that it was contemplating “legal action” because the “Dille Family Trust has not given permission or license for the use of ‘Buck Rogers’ or any of the elements of the ‘Buck Rogers’ Universe.”
The suit maintains that the character entered the public domain in 1956 and worldwide in 2010. At the time the novella appeared in 1928, copyright was limited to 14 years plus one renewal. –Ars Technica
ANTI-PIRACY GROUP HITS INDIE CREATORS FOR USING THE WORD ‘PIXELS’ – And yet another reason it appears that corporate rights holders exploit the DMCA in the most ridiculous and over-reaching ways. Now a company – Entura — ostensibly working for Columbia Pictures, sent a take-down notice to pretty much every video posted on Vimeo that featured the word “pixels,” instead of just aiming for the Columbia film “Pixels.” Among the innocent victims are NGO NeMe, a project called “Pantone Pixels,” and a 2010 short film called “Pixels.” All of whom have had their content removed and a “strike” against their Vimeo account. And, apparently, zero support from Vimeo:
“The notice we received says that this is strike 1 which we do not accept for the aforementioned reasons. It also says that for Vimeo to accept to return the video online we have to give our name address and an assortment of statements,” the NeMe project told Vimeo in a response.
“I’d suggest filling a counter notice,” Mark from the company responded. “This is in the hands of our trust and safety team and unfortunately our support team cannot help you with this issue.” –Torrent Freak
Word Up! Students wrap up summer with Book Battle – I love this story. In an effort to get boys, who in general can be harder to motivate toward books, to engage in summer reading, a Georgia school district created a “book battle” that the boys had to prepare for during the summer. Seven boys initially participated, and while only three remained, they studied the books closely and competed enthusiastically to win the “Last Man Standing” award on August 1st. A fourth grader won the event, in part by correctly identifying various quotes with the books in which they appear. Besides helping them to read and enjoy reading, the event organizer said she hopes that maybe some of the participants will consider writing, as well. Hey, they even got to study at ice cream shops:
For weeks, they met at different ice cream shops, buried themselves in books, prepped and anxiously awaited the competition on Saturday, Aug. 1, to test their knowledge of the books. –WSBTV
“. At the time the novella appeared in 1928, copyright was limited to 14 years plus one renewal.”
I’d expect this case will turn on the trademarks, not the copyright.
“Battle of the Books” has been a long-running summer program for young teens at public libraries around the country for many decades now. I know that the Suffolk County (Long Island) competitions have been going on for pushing twenty years, involving dozens of libraries and hundreds of young teens.
If your local public library doesn’t have a summer book battle, I’d suggest you really encourage the teen librarian to try to set one up next year. They are a low-cost, relatively easy, and fun way to encourage teens to keep reading.