Wednesday News and Deals: HarperCollins Sues OpenRoad for Infringement
HarperCollins has sued Open Road Media for the publication of “Julie of the Wolves”. According to the petition, HarperCollins alleges that Open Road has willfully infringed on HC’s contract with Jean Craighead George which included the provision HC’s “exclusive right to publish George’s children’s novel Julie of the Wolves ‘in book form,’ including explicitly via ‘computer, computer-stored, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented.”
HC argues that the ebook was forseeable based on the technology that existed at the time of the contract. Specifically they point to creation of Project Gutenberg in 1971 and digital storage and retrieval systems in use in the 1950s. Digital books are no different than print books, says HC.
Other notes of interest is that HC employs 750 editors and spent more than $70 million in promotion of its books in fiscal year 2011. It had 166 titles on the NYTimes list with 18 of them achieving number 1 status.
PDF of Petition here.
As Richard Curtis notes, this is not dissimilar to the argument that Random House made which was unsuccessful in its case against Rosetta (a company owned by agent Curtis). However, the contract language of HarperCollins appears to go beyond the terms “in book form” and includes explicit reference to “computer, computer-stored, mechanical” forms of the book. The contract was not attached, so I’m unclear where the computer, computer-stored, etc. language falls.
In the Sourcebooks v. Clenney case, Sourcebooks filed a motion to dismiss the counterclaims. In support of the motion to dismiss, Sourcebooks attached a FedEx envelope which showed that a royalty statement and payment were delivered to Clenney but that Clenney rejected the receipt of the envelope. At the status conference, the parties discussed settlement and a settlement conference is set for February 2, 2012.
The NYTimes article on publishers and digital lending clarifies the problems publishers have. It’s not this nebulous security issue that Penguin tried to pawn off on the public, but it’s this idea that there is not enough friction in the digital lending process such that it presents a lost revenue stream:
And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009.
Explaining Simon & Schuster’s policy — it has never made its e-books available to libraries — Elinor Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer, says, “We’re concerned that authors and publishers are made whole by library e-lending and that they aren’t losing sales that they might have made in another channel.”
Essentially this confirms what Sarah Glassmeyer wrote back in April 2011 that if each patron bought one more ebook than they ordinarily do the market loss of libraries would be covered.
According to Bowker, however, library users are some of the biggest book buyers:
Miller says LJ editors have been amazed by the strength of the findings so far—including the degree to which libraries are boosting book sales. “Our data show that over 50% of all library users report purchasing books by an author they were introduced to in the library,” Miller noted. “This debunks the myth that when a library buys a book the publisher loses future sales. Instead, it confirms that the public library does not only incubate and support literacy, as is well understood in our culture, but it is an active partner with the publishing industry in building the book market, not to mention the burgeoning e-book market.”
Louis CK decided to produce his own video “Live at the Beacon Theater” and sold it DRM free for $5.00. Louis CK announced that his revenue reached $1 million as of December 21, 2011. He netted about $250,000 after he paid everyone who worked on the project with him along with a sizeable charitable donation.
Speaking of piracy and DRM, Lionhead said that it probably loses more money to the used video game market than it does to piracy.
West said that any sales Lionhead make of Fable III on PC this Friday and beyond will be “a bonus”.
“For us it’s probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is,” shrugged West. “But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.”
With the growth of ereaders, travelers are chafing against the rules that require all electronic devices be turned off prior to take off and landing. Nick Bilton of the NYTimes has looked into whether these regulations are necessary, particularly now that iPads are being allowed in the cockpit. Portable voice recorders, hearing aids, heart pacemakers and electric shavers are allowed to be used on take off and landing and according to the tests, the voice recorders emit as much as or more electronic emissions than a Kindle.
GoDaddy was a vocal supporter of SOPA. It helped draft the legislation and was even exempt from the SOPA restrictions. Yep, GoDaddy was exempt. When GoDaddy’s support of SOPA gained prominence on the web, domain owners began transferring their business away. GoDaddy attempted to halt the exodus by publicly reversing its stance and deleting all the blog posts reciting their support. Regardless, people are still moving away.
Speaking of SOPA and piracy, ironically IP addresses associated with RIAA were connected to illegal pirating of television shows. RIAA’s response? It wasn’t them but someone illegally using their network.
I’m not sure where the statistics have come from but this report says 13.4% of all purchases over the holiday were made on an iOS device. Amazon is trying to capture some of that online revenue through the Fire notes the tech reporter, Mike Elgan.
Keishon has a fantastic post about how writers who became successful writing a certain type of work change their style in response to the broadening audience.
The crux of my problem: I dislike when good writers are discovered for their originality and then when they are introduced to a new audience they no longer provide that something special that made them a hit in the first place. I’ve never liked writers writing to a market but that’s the business of publishing.
First up are some randomly selected freebies:
- Awakening Mercy by Angela Benson * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Fatal Embrace by Aris Whittier * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Bridleton by Becky Barker * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Triple Threat by Jennifer LaBreque * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Faith by Lori Copeland * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Fairytale by Maggie Shayne * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- The Finding by Nicky Charles * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- The Keeping by Nicky Charles * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- The Mating by Nicky Charles * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Sheltering Hearts by Robyn Carr * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- A Chance in Time by Ruth Ann Nordin * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- A Husband for Margaret by Ruth Ann Nordin * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- A Texan’s Promise by Shelley Gray * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Dangerous Grounds by Shelli Stevens * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Baby, I’m Yours by Stephanie Bond * $0 * AMZ | BN | S | K
Here are some coupon codes. I even included a print one.
- Save $5 when you spend $10 or more on your order using the CARSP1011 coupon code until January 4. Good in U.S. and Canada.
- $4 off ebooks with coupon code SPEND4E11 at Harlequin. Readers report that the coupon can be used more than once. Must spend at least $4.00 and it is good until 1/31/12.
- There is free shipping at Harlequin for print books until December 31, 2011. I’m not sure if you can combine it with SAVE10DOLLARS which requires you to spend at least $30 or more and get $10 OFF your order on Harlequin Print Books (Expires 03/31/12).
- Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Mystic River with A Bonus Excerpt by Dennis Lehane * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Samantha Moon: All Four Novels by J.R. Rain * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Justice by Karen Robards * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- The Orchard by Theresa Weir * $1.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K *Recommended by Janet. Review here*
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks * $2.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Bootscootin’ and Cozy Cash Mysteries Boxed Se by D. D. Scott * $2.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K
- Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells * $2.99 * AMZ | BN | S | K