Wednesday News: gofundme parody, orphan works & copyright, Man Booker shortlist, and throwback publishing article
Go Fund My Lazy Ass -It’s no secret that crowdsourcing has become popular for all sorts of creative projects. Although I haven’t seen it, I saw some folks talking about a crowdfunding campaign for someone who wanted to go to RT. Anyway, an author named Payne Hawthorne put together a campaign for $12K, basically $1K a month for a year, so she could write full time. Well, her campaign didn’t go over any better than the last author who became infamous for trying to fund her writing career, but Hawthorne decided to fight back, mostly through a Facebook post and a pretty snarky response to some of the folks criticizing her on her gofundme page. For some background, as well as the Facebook rant (which seems to have been removed at this point), check out this post from Jenny Trout. In the meantime, this hilarious parody campaign has been posted, which seems to sum up some of the outrage directed at Hawthorne and others who have moved beyond trying to fund a specific project and are going for what seems like full on patronage (isn’t that what Patreon is for?). From the parody campaign:
I really love to review books. I get great feedback on my reviews and I think I could really make it a full time gig, but working in a garage parking cars is really getting in the way of what I really want to do. I feel that because I have to go to work and stress out over planning the murder…strike that….stress out over the research on how to get away with murdering a dumb ass coworker (its research I promise), this is really hurting my ability to read a bunch of books a week. I mean, I don’t need the stress of a job hampering my pajama time with my books and rubbing one out. I know, I know, I’m breaking your hearts. Stop crying, I do enough of that on my own. –gofundme & Jenny Trout
Copyright Office seeks your comments on its crazy, broken plan to deal with orphan works -If you’re not familiar with the problem of “orphan works” in copyright, they’re works that are technically in copyright, even though their rights holder isn’t identified or locatable or in any other way noticeably around to get permission from if someone wants to use the works. So they’re blocked off from use, even if the owner would not want them to be. The Copyright Office, in its infinite wisdom, has developed a nightmare of a proposal that, at the very least, will put a ridiculous burden on someone who wants to use an orphan work, and at worst make it impossible for these works to be archived for posterity and future use. It’s a real problem, because creators use other creators’ work all the time, sometimes via license and sometimes via fair use.
It’s a good thing that they’re soliciting comments: the proposal the Copyright Office came up with is an unworkable mess, filled with restrictions and gaps in coverage. It doesn’t solve the orphan works problem — instead, it makes the problem worse, and adds a tax on cash-strapped, desperate libraries to the mix.
The Copyright Office needs to hear why its proposal is a bad idea. Comments are due to the Office by October 9, 2015. I submitted mine (below). You can submit yours online.–BoingBoing
Pulitzer winner makes Booker Prize shortlist -Although all the books shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize share a “grimness,” the list of authors is being praised as more diverse, something that was promised when the Prize was opened up to all books written in English. Rosario has been reading books from the longlist, if you have some catching up to do.
The shortlist of authors and titles is as follows:
Marlon James (Jamaica), A Brief History of Seven Killings
Tom McCarthy (UK), Satin Island
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen
Sunjeev Sahota (UK), The Year of the Runaways
Anne Tyler (US), A Spool of Blue Thread
Hanya Yanagihara (US), A Little Life–BBC News
The End – I stumbled across this article the other day, and thought it would be great to post, in large part because it was written in 2008, and it proclaimed the end of “the book business as we know it.” It’s long but it’s kind of interesting to see what has come to pass (the death of Borders; Amazon as a publisher), and what hasn’t (Oprah’s exit from daytime television killing the hardcover bestseller). And check out this little bit below about Amazon UK and Hachette during a contract dispute. The more things change…
Publishers have been burned by e-book hype before. A few years back, analysts were predicting we’d all be reading novels on our Palm Pilots. Barnes & Noble even began selling e-books. Though it doesn’t quite look the part, Bezos’s chunky retro Kindle is the closest so far to being the iPod of books. In mid-August, a Citigroup analyst doubled his estimate for this year’s sales of the readers—to almost 400,000.
Why weren’t publishers elated? What’s wrong with a company that returns only 10 percent of the books it buys and might eventually eliminate the cost of print production? Well, it doesn’t help that Amazon, which has been on an intense buying spree (print-on-demanders BookSurge; book networking site Shelfari), lists publishers as its competitors in SEC filings. Editors and retailers alike fear that it’s bent on building a vertical publishing business—from acquisition to your doorstep—with not a single middleman in sight. No HarperCollins, no Borders, no printing press. Amazon has begun to do end runs around bookstores with small presses. Two new bios from Lyons Press, about Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain, are going straight-to-Kindle long before publication.
Amazon, in short, plays hardball. When Hachette Livre UK couldn’t come to terms over Amazon’s U.K. payments, Amazon removed the BUY NEW button from its listings for the company’s key books. Hachette’s CEO responded with an open letter, saying, “Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another making increasing demands in order to achieve richer terms at our expense and sometimes at yours.” –New York Magazine