Monday News Harper Collins fails to crush Open Road, Ed Park leaves Amazon for Penguin, oligopoly in the music industry, and hand-annotated books for charity
“The mere fact that the Court was able to interpret the contract as a matter of law does not mean that [Open Road’s] argument was clearly unmeritorious or patently devoid of support,” Buchwald wrote, adding that the dispute “arose in the context of a developing, and still somewhat uncharted, area of copyright law.” . . .
The judge did award HarperCollins’ the statutory maximum of $30,000 in damages (plus $7,040 in costs) and issued a narrow final injunction barring Open Road from further exploiting its unauthorized e-book edition. In awarding damages, Buchwald noted Open Road’s total revenue from sales of Julie of the Wolves was just $39,207.76, “half of which was shared as a royalty with Ms. George and her estate.” –Publishers Weekly
In an interview, Mr. Park said that the battle between Amazon and publishers was not the main reason for his departure, but he allowed that it was one of several factors that made the job difficult and ultimately led to his decision to leave.
And Mr. Park said that his pursuit of more literary fare sometimes felt out of kilter with the company’s largely commercial ambitions.
“There were times when I felt like what I was doing was a bit of an outlier,” Mr. Park said. “To Amazon Publishing’s credit, any book I felt strongly about, they let me pursue, and that kind of autonomy was rare in that climate.” –New York Times
That’s why the fight between Taylor Swift and Spotify is worrying. It’s not because one of them is right and the other one is wrong; it’s because there’s no major record label capable of stepping into the fight and forcing these kids to play nice together. The fear is that this particular fight is only going to be a harbinger of things to come: more and more artists are going to want to take things into their own hands, rather than simply going along with what some big major label has agreed on their behalf.
There’s another fear, too: what happens when big artists start signing, not with major labels at all, or even with indie labels, but rather with individual streaming services? U2 might sign with Apple, Taylor Swift with Amazon, Jay-Z with Spotify, and so on. All of those services have both the ability and the desire to pay top dollar to lock up the artist in question for their own platform, much as Netflix is trying to do with its own TV shows. –Felix Salmon on Medium
“For the first time in my life, I wrote what I felt was kind of an intimate letter to a stranger,” Paul Auster said in a statement. He annotated “City of Glass” (1985) for the auction. “I can say that it was probably the most bizarre act of writing I’ve ever been involved in. But I believe in PEN ardently, so anytime I have a chance to help, I want to.” –Los Angeles Times