Tuesday News: Tolkien lawsuit settled, Standard Ebooks, Romance hashtags, and daylight fireworks
Warner Bros., Tolkien Estate Settle $80 Million ‘Hobbit’ Lawsuit – This is a pretty interesting lawsuit, because it focuses attention on contract language and digital rights. The Tolkien Estate, along with Harper Collins, claimed that Warner Bros. was producing digital products based on the Hobbit enterprise, when their licensing contract only allowed for the production of “tangible” goods. Of course, the fact that the estate found the idea of online slots to be insulting to Tolkien’s name probably didn’t help. But after a pretty nasty five-year pre-trial battle, the parties have settled, and it looks like they are now working together to digitally exploit Tolkien’s legacy.
The Tolkien Estate and book publisher HarperCollins filed a $80 million lawsuit in 2012 alleging that Warners, its New Line subsidiary and Rings/Hobbit rightsholder Saul Zaentz Co. infringed copyright and breached contract by overstepping their authority. The plaintiffs claimed that a decades-old rights agreement entitled the studio to create only “tangible” merchandise based on the books, not other digital exploitations that the estate called highly offensive.
The lawsuit brought the two sides into a new battle. Previously, New Line and the Tolkien Estate had fought over profit participation, coming to a deal in 2009 pegged as being worth more than $100 million. As Warner Bros. readied a Peter Jackson big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit, the Tolkien Estate began investigating digital exploitations when its attorney received a spam e-mail about the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game. The subsequent complaint filed in court talked about irreparable harm to Tolkien’s legacy and reputation from the prospect of everything from online games to housing developments. – Hollywood Reporter
Standard EBooks Is A Gutenberg Project You’ll Actually Use – A friend sent me this article on the Standard Ebooks project, which takes poorly formatted books in the public domain and makes them legible for your various digital reading devices. The books can be downloaded in multiple formats, including epub, Kindle, Kobo epub3, thanks to project volunteers. You can search ebooks here.
The differences between your average book from Project Gutenberg and Standard Ebooks are pretty substantial. First off, all Standard Ebooks books are presented with aesthetically pleasing front covers rather than sparse text covers.
Typographical quirks such as curly quotes and em dashes are addressed, so ebooks look like books and not text documents. Hyphenation, footnotes and properly formatted chapter markers are also present, all helping to make public domain books more accessible by bringing them into the modern age. – Lifehacker
STARTING SOCIAL MEDIA’S BIGGEST ROMANCE BOOK CLUB: ANA COQUI ON #ROMBKLOVE – If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you might have seen or even been participating in the several Romance hashtag conversations currently happening. They’re like book clubs, only more casual and not strictly time bound. #RomBkLove was started by Ana Coqui, and this is a nice interview with her, which also covers the different book-centric discussions happening on social media right now:
Since the beginning of May, I have switched over to posting #RomBkLove prompts on a weekly basis.
I have also teamed up with Ellie and Ava of #readRchat to host bi-monthly hour-long chats on the topics. We discussed discovery and book choices a couple of weeks ago and our next chat will be July 1st (4PM ET) on the best books of 2017 so far. But the biggest news is that Jennifer Porter is doing a sexy #RomBkLove month in July. She has sent me a preview of her prompts and I expect the conversation in July to be fun and raunchy. I look forward to participating and enjoying the ride without the pressure of being responsible for a daily post. – Book Riot
Introducing: Daytime Fireworks – Even without Canada Day and the US 4th of July celebrations, this would be cool. Or hot, depending on how you look at it. Either way, take a look. – Mental Floss