Wednesday News: WisCon fails women, Michelle Phan sued for infringement, North Carolina Poet Laureate resigns, and cute coverage of New Zealand Romance Writers conference
WisCon’s flaky response to harassment incident sparks Internet uproar – You may have read about the sexual harassment allegations against former Tor editor Jim Frenkel last year on John Scalzi’s blog. Despite the widespread attention the allegations got, Frenkel was back at WisCon this year, and it was only afterward that WisCon mounted an investigation, the results of which mean that Frenkel may only get one year of actual dismissal from the conference. There has been a great deal of WTFery around the reluctance to actively deter conference harassment, but this definitely looks like a slap in the face to every woman who attends WisCon — especially since the conference is widely considered the most prestigious feminist science fiction conference.
Editor Jim Frenkel left his longtime position at Tor Books a year ago amid allegations he harassed 2013 WisCon attendee Elise Matthesen, who spoke out publicly about the incident. Matthesen and at least one other attendee filed reports to WisCon about Frenkel’s alleged harassment. This year, after losing one of the women’s complaints (and misplacing the other’s after the fact), WisCon not only allowed Frenkel to return to the May convention over numerous protests but permitted him to volunteer at the con’s hospitality suite.
Despite otherwise glowing reports of this year’s WisCon, a wave of public alarm over Frenkel’s return has grown among attendees. After the con, WisCon issued multiple apologies, then set up a formal investigation into the Frenkel’s 2013 incident, as well as another involving a convention volunteer who allegedly engaged in nonsexual harassment of an attendee. On Friday, WisCon “provisionally” banned Frenkel from the con for the four years in a public statement: –Daily Dot
YouTube star sued for copyright infringement over music in her videos – Michelle Phan, the YouTube phenomenon whose videos combine Phan’s theatrical makeup how-to’s with music, is being sued for copyright infringement by Ultra Records, on behalf of Deadmau5 and Kaskade, who, interestingly, has given his public support to Phan, despite his label’s legal action against her. Ultra claims that have issued cease and desist warnings to Phan, and that she has ignored them. If this case settles, it could have a chilling effect on mixed media videos, and if it goes to court, it will be interesting to see where the current legal contours of fair use are.
The YouTube star “continues to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of plaintiff’s rights of ownership,” the suit claims. So far the company’s lawyers have found “over 50 examples of blatant copyright infringement.” Now Ultra wants a court to step in and grant an injunction prohibiting Phan from using its music. It’s also seeking “either maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each infringed work or unspecified damages to be determined,” according to Reuters. –The Verge
North Carolina’s New Poet Laureate Bows Out – In some ways this is a really odd story about how a self-published poet and disability examiner for the state of North Carolina was appointed state Poet Laureate by the governor, only to resign a week later in the fact of enormous backlash. But I think it’s also a vivid illustration of the widespread investment in so-called “literary credentials,” despite the stubborn perception that the arts, and literature, in particular, are of little value and importance within current social and cultural priorities.
An uproar ensued after Gov. Pat McCrory announced Ms. Macon’s appointment last week. Several of the state’s previous poet laureates denounced his choice as a political appointment rather than one that rewarded literary merit. They criticized Ms. Macon as a novice who hadn’t earned the distinction of the post, and faulted the governor for choosing the poet laureate himself rather than allowing a committee of writers appointed by the state’s arts council to make the selection. –New York Times
Romantic mix-up for All Blacks in Wellington – I’m so used to reading news articles about Romance conferences that are condescending and snotty that this was welcome relief. It’s a cute piece about the recent Romance Writers of New Zealand conference being held at the same hotel where the All Blacks rugby team were staying. Maybe because enthusiastic sports fans have a lot in common with enthusiastic writers of Romance?
Wellington’s InterContinental hotel, where the New Zealand team are staying, is also hosting the annual conference of the Romance Writers of New Zealand.
Some of those taking part are stars of the world of romance novels, and some have noticed their sporty fellow guests.
For instance, there’s American author Megan Crane, who also writes best sellers as Caitlin Crews.
“The All Blacks are in this hotel. I’ve seen them with my own eyes and heart palpitations. In totally unrelated news, I’ve decided to become a sports fan. Say: of rugby,” she said on her Facebook page.
Which is kind of her, given that after years of being smashed in the line of duty top rugby players are not always the prettiest guys in the room. –stuff.co.nz
I was at that conference last year. It was a riot! Especially when a couple of ABs (All Blacks) got out of the lift (Kiwi for elevator) and walked right into our RWNZ Friday night cocktail party on the mezzanine floor… and did classic double-takes at some of the costumes that had been donned for the evening. Talk about gob-smacked sportsmen *g* And they were very very good about being cornered for autographs and photos by groups of enthusiastic romance writers. I was lucky enough to be invited to breakfast with the lovely Megan Crane and her equally lovely hubby (who took pity on a writer breakfasting alone in the hotel restaurant), and they commented how approachable our Kiwi sports celebs are. Makes me realize how lucky we are to live in NZ :) Thanks for posting this reminder of what an amazing experience that conference was for me.
I attended WisCon for the first time this year. I know several people heavily involved with the Con. It’s been upsetting for most of them- the decision the concomm came to regarding Frenkel. I’ve heard people state that they will not be returning. It’s disheartening because I had hoped to become a regular attendee at WisCon.
I sincerely hope for more romances featuring rugby players now. Because OH MY HAWTNESS!! I know I would be drooling and stuttering all over the place.
I’m sure everyone has seen it, but just in case–best commercial ever. All Blacks (ish) and Kilts.
@pooks: OMG, I’d completely forgotten that ad — priceless!!!! Thank you….
@Maree Anderson: @Maree Anderson:
You’re most welcome. I am always happy for a reason to track it down again.