Wednesday News: DOJ Agency Pricing Update; Google Book Suit Update
First up are summaries of the two lawsuits involving publishing.
DOJ: On Friday, the DOJ filed a document which essentially asks Judge Cote to approve the settlement between itself and three of the six defendants (Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster) without a hearing. The DOJ argued that a hearing would present an unnecessary delay. The parties opposing the settlement and any “friends of the court” briefs are due on the 15th. Penguin is filing an appeal from Judge Cote’s refusal to push the Class Action claims to arbitration. Resolution of that appeal could take a couple of years.
Google Book Scanning Settlement: This probably requires a whole post from me and I’ll probably do that on Sunday. The big news is that the Authors Guild has filed a motion for summary judgment against Google. In any case there are questions of fact and questions of law. A question of fact is whether the light was red or green. A question of law is whether a person is negligent automatically if the light was red and you drove through it. Questions of fact are for the fact finder to decide. The fact finder can be a jury or can be the judge (in the case of a bench trial). Questions of law are for the judge to decide.
A motion for summary judgment is when you say to the court that there are no “material” facts in dispute and therefore the only question that remains is one of law and you want the Judge to decide the questions of law now. Most of the time, there is no testimony or taking of evidence. You file three documents: The motion, a statement of undisputed facts, and the brief (or memorandum of law) in support of the motion.
The Author’s Guild has argued that it is undisputed that Google scanned books and that therefore liability hinges on making the copy. The statement of undisputed facts goes into great detail about all the “copies” that Google has made from the original scan to copies of the scan provided to the Universities participating in the program. Authors’ Guild doesn’t go into the fair use defense, limiting its argument to the idea that if Google’s definition of “fair use” is adopted then an author’s right to control licensing rights of their books for purposes of search and indexing is lost. Any display of a copyrighted book not licensed is a violation of copyright per the Authors’ Guild argument. I’m not overly impressed by the argument. More on Sunday.
The idea behind this is that authors post available dates and then fans buy in. The tour date is not fulfilled unless the predetermined tickets are sold out.
This is a terrifying account of the hacking of Mat Honan, a senior writer for Wired’s Gadget Lab.
I had Google 2 Step authentication turned on but it was a hassle. After reading this, however, it’s a hassle I will have to live with.
It is only going to get worse. Piracy has started to move beyond the Internet and media and into the physical world. People on the fringes of tech, often early adopters of new devices and gadgets, are now working with 3-D printers that can churn out actual physical objects. Say you need a wall hook or want to replace a bit of hardware that fell off your luggage. You can download a file and “print” these objects with printers that spray layers of plastic, metal or ceramics into shapes.”NYTimes
The impact of 3D printing really didn’t hit me until I watched the video that I posted Monday of the girl with the tiny exoskeleton made from parts printed from a 3D Printer.
We especially regret the perception that our process was biased in favor of a confirmed harasser. It is our responsibility to implement our anti-harassment policy in a way that corrects for the societal power imbalances that are often present between harassers and their targets, and for the fannish interconnectedness that often leads to these cases being judged by friends and colleagues of one or both parties. We failed in that responsibility.”ReaderCon
I’m not sure if you all are aware of what happened with ReaderCon. I’ll give a short rundown. A ReaderCon female convention attendee was harassed at the ReaderCon convention. She reported the incident and the ReaderCon board reported that the facts, witnesses and the accused own admissions led to confirming the female’s report and was the basis for suspending the harasser for two years. This became the source of a great deal of consternation because ReaderCon had a zero tolerance policy. If the facts found harassment, then the harasser was to be banned for life. ReaderCon failed to administer their own policy. Based on both inside and outside pressure, ReaderCon ultimately reversed its decision, posted a real apology, and the entire board resigned. It was a powerful move by ReaderCon. I applaud the entire organization, the fans, and others for their work.