Tuesday News: HarperCollins v. Open Road redux, the conundrum of hashtag activism, sharing and creative production, and First Books on diversity in kid’s lit
Harper Seeks Injunction in Dispute with Open Road – HarperCollins has just upped the ante in their lawsuit against Open Road, filing for a permanent injunction to block the publication of the digital version of Julie of the Wolves, as well as monetary damages for “willful infringement” of HarperCollins’ alleged copyright. There are certainly conditions under which publishers will breach contracts with other publishers, figuring that whatever they make overall will be worth the damages they end up paying, but this case has gained a lot of attention as a potential precedent in how to read contracts, especially older ones that did not contemplate the eventuality of digital editions.
“HarperCollins initially was not inclined to seek enhanced statutory damages based on willful infringement,” the motion reads. “However, Open Road’s continued infringing conduct following the Court’s summary judgment ruling has led HarperCollins to believe that a statutory damages award should incorporate a willfulness component.” –Publishers Weekly
Yes, hashtags can be trivial and annoying — but discussion threads like #YesAllWomen can also be powerful – An interesting and timely article on the “double-edged sword” of hashtags as a form of activism, where import issues can gain critical notice and engagement, but where backlash can also undermine the urgency and diminish the complexity of any given situation. Hashtags can be overused and therefore trivializing, but they can also create “weak ties” among strangers, which can have broad-based social effects. A nice piece that grapples thoughtfully with a very real conundrum.
University of North Carolina sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, who is one of the most perceptive researchers on social media and its effects, has written about how hashtags and the low-level activism they support can be a double-edged sword: how they can empower dissidents in Egypt or Turkey and spur them to action, but also how they can (paradoxically) help give power to the thing they are fighting against, and replace what might be a more lasting form of resistance with an ephemeral discussion that eventually fizzles out, having achieved very little. –Gigaom
Show Your Work: Austin Kleon on the Art of Getting Noticed – I love this piece on the way in which creativity is achieved as a balance between individual contributions and societal sharing. There is just so much here, not only in regard to intellectual property rights and the importance of the public domain (and therefore the end of individual copyrights), but also in terms of how some of the most powerful cultural work is not the product of a single mind, but rather “great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals — artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers — who make up an ‘ecology of talent.’” This is called “scenius,” a term borrowed from Brian Eno:
Indeed, this is what history’s greatest booms of innovation embody, from the cross-pollination at the heart of “the age of insight” in early-twentieth-century Vienna to the broader cultural history of how good ideas spread. But more than a way to explain history, “scenius” is one of the best models for making sense of the modern world — as Kleon keenly observes, the internet itself is “a bunch of sceniuses connected together, divorced from physical geography.” Finding yourself a “scenius” to belong to is an essential part of making sure your work takes root in culture. –Brain Pickings
New Initiative Aims To Encourage Diversity In Kids’ Publishing – If you can, listen to the interview with Kyle Zimmer, CEO of First Book, a non-profit organization focused on promoting diversity in children’s literature. Among other efforts, they will purchase 10,000 copies of books they choose in order to demonstrate to publishers that there is a market for books that represent a diverse cast of characters.
The data from First Book, from our own network … they overwhelmingly report, in excess of 90% report that when kids see themselves in books, they are far more likely to become enthusiastic readers. But we also know that this isn’t just about kids seeing themselves in books, this is also about kids seeing other kids in books, and other cultures in books. –NPR