ABA Board Changes

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) has appointed Jake Cumsky-Whitlock of Solid State Books in Washington DC and Melanie Knight of Books Inc. in San Francisco CA to the board, to serve until board elections in April 2021. This follows changes to bylaws which “bring the number of board members to 13 (from 11) and that require the board to include at least four booksellers who are Black, Indigenous, or People ...Read More

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Internet Archive Demands Trial

The Internet Archive has demanded a jury trial in the lawsuit brought by four publishers alleging “willful mass copyright infringement” in the form of IA’s “National Emergency Library”, which of­fered unlimited borrows of over a million ebooks. The IA insists that fair use and the first sale doctrine make its actions lawful: “The Internet Archive’s [controlled digital lending] program is sheltered by the fair use doctrine, buttressed by traditional library ...Read More

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KISS Library Court Order

Ebook pirate site KISS Library re­ceived a temporary restraining order from Judge Marsha J. Pechman in Washington district court. The order was requested by Penguin Random House, Amazon Publishing, and members of the Authors Guild. The Ukraine-based company’s as­sets have been frozen insofar as possible, and their websites are already down. The plaintiffs allege the identities of those running the company have been deliberately hidden, and the judge ruled to ...Read More

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Internet Archive Suspends Lending

The In­ternet Archive ended their “National Emergency Library” program on June 16, 2020, two weeks earlier than planned, following lawsuits by four publishers. The suit, filed in New York federal court, alleges “willful mass copyright infringe­ment” and argues that, “despite the Open Library moniker, IA’s actions grossly exceed legitimate li­brary services, do violence to the Copyright Act, and constitute willful digital piracy on an indus­trial scale.” The Association of American ...Read More

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New Copyright Registration Rules

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced that “the U.S. Copyright Office has issued a new copyright registration rule that will allow authors to register up to fifty short textual works published online for a single flat fee.”

SFWA worked with the National Writers Union, Horror Writers Association, and American Society of Journalists and Authors to request this change starting in January 2017. The new rule will ...Read More

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Adams Family Wins Back Rights to Watership Down

The estate and family of Richard Adams, as Watership Down Enterprises, have won a lawsuit in the English High Court against film producer Martin Rosen, who wrote and directed a 1978 animated film adaptation of Watership Down. Rosen and his companies were ordered to pay costs ad well as damages of $95,000 for infringement of copyright, contracting unauthorized licensing deals, and withholding royalty payments. The court also terminated the ...Read More

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Captions Settlement Details

Some details have been released regarding the settlement between publishers and Audible regarding the latter’s “Audible Captions” program (which would have displayed scrolling, machine-generated text while an audiobook played). The publishers won: Audible will not be permitted to use copyrighted works in the program without permission. The judge approved a permanent injunction and request for dismissal with prejudice. Audible is forbidden from “creating, generating, reproducing, modifying, distributing, publishing, or displaying… ...Read More

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Captions Settlement

Audible and the publishers who sued them over their planned Captions program – which cre­ates scrolling, machine-generated text that dis­plays while their audiobooks are playing – have reached a settlement. Audible’s lawyer Em­ily Resbaum wrote to the court on January 13, 2020 that “We are pleased to inform the Court that the parties have resolved their disputes. The parties respectfully request until January 21 to allow the parties to obtain ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Legal News

Barnes & Noble has requested a jury trial in the age discrimination lawsuit filed by Barbara Tavres in the US Dis­trict Court in Northern California. Tavres was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that be­gan in 2006, and claimed Barnes & Noble fired her because of her age, and also used policies, practices, and procedures which disproportion­ately affected employees age 40 and older. She seeks class action status. ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Lawsuit

Barbara Tavres, 59, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer Barnes & Noble in the in the US District Court in Northern California, alleging age discrimination, and seeking class action status. She was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that began in 2006, starting in community relations and ending at a shop in Emeryville CA. Tavres claims that on the day of her termination her manager took ...Read More

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Captions News

The legal battle continues over Audible’s planned Captions program, which would display computer-generated text concurrent with audiobook narration. The Authors Guild and the Association of Authors’ Representatives filed a joint amicus brief to support the seven publish­ers who have sued to block the Captions program, saying the “feature presents a significant threat to the rights and livelihoods of authors and their rep­resentatives…. Audible seeks to bypass its glaring infringement of ...Read More

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Kramer Hacking Charges

Ed Kramer, co-founder of Dragon Con and convicted child molest­er, is in legal trouble again, this time in a compli­cated computer hacking case that involves various figures in the Georgia legal system. Superior Court judge Kathryn Schrader has been indicted, along with Kramer, a private investigator named TJ Ward, and a former sheriff’s deputy named Frank Karic. Schrader alleges that Gwinnett County district at­torney Danny Porter hacked her computer (which ...Read More

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Beagle Legal Update

Alameda County Superior Court judge Michal M. Markman ruled in favor of Peter S. Beagle on June 21, 2019 for several claims in Beagle’s civil suit against former business manager Connor Cochran, and awarded Beagle a total of $332,500 in damages. The judge accepted Beagle’s claims for defamation, financial elder abuse, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty, but dismissed the claims of conversion of assets and elder abuse based on ...Read More

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Roberts vs. Plagiarism

Bestselling author Nora Roberts filed a lawsuit in a Rio de Janeiro, Brazil court on April 24, 2019, accusing Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya of multiple counts of plagiarism. She alleges that Serruya copied text from Roberts and other writers for her novels, which are “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the plaintiff’s books.” Roberts is seeking damages for 3,000 times ...Read More

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Audible Settles Lawsuits

Audiobook retailer Audible has en­tered into a settlement with two class action lawsuits, Grant McKee et al. v Audible, Inc. and Eric Weber and Bryan Rees v. Amazon.com, Inc., and Amazon Services LLC, bringing an end to 18 months of legal battles. Audible will issue up to 12 million audiobooks and reimburse as many as 8.4 million customers who incurred overdraft fees when Audible allegedly charged their cards without permission. ...Read More

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European Copyright News

The European Parliament passed the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive, a unified set of laws governing intellectual property rights in the European Union, by a vote of 348 to 274. The law will not go into effect unless the European Council passes it with a “formal endorsement,” via a simple majority. Once that happens, each country will have to implement the law by 2020. The version passed includes ...Read More

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EU Ebook Tax Rates

The European Union has decided after years of debate that member states may lower the value-added-tax (VAT) rate on ebooks to the same rate they charge for printed books (which are tax free in some countries). The October 2, 2018 decision by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council is “the final step to ensure that the unequal treatment of the two products – paper versus digital – becomes a thing ...Read More

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PEN Sues Trump

Writers’ organization PEN America is suing Donald Trump for violating first amendment rights by making “threats and retaliatory actions” against his opponents in the press, and for praising those who’ve committed acts of violence against journalists. PEN American president Jennifer Egan says, “It would be shocking at any time for the President of the United States to congratulate someone for an act of violence against a journalist, but right now, ...Read More

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Supreme Court Ruling Affects Online Retailers

In a 5-4 decision in late June, the US Supreme Court overturned Quill Corp v. North Dakota – the 1992 case that ruled states could only collect sales tax from companies with a physical presence in that state. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion:

The physical presence rule has long been criti­cized as giving out-of-state sellers an advantage. Each year, it becomes further removed from eco­nomic reality and ...Read More

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“Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages” Campaign

Members of the children’s book industry have launched the “Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages” campaign to raise funds to oppose family separation immigration policies in the US. The campaign initially started with the goal of $42,000 to purchase a full-page ad in The New York Times Book Review, which it reached within 24 hours, and later extended the goal to $200,000 to be distributed among charities and organizations ...Read More

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OMNI Returns to Penthouse

SF and science magazine OMNI has been re-acquired by original publisher Penthouse Global Media, with plans to launch a print edition in October 2017.

CEO Kelly Holland say’s she’s proud that OMNI “is once again a part of the Penthouse family where it belongs. Thanks in large part to Pamela Weintraub, one of OMNI’s original editors, who had the foresight to bring the brand back to life by re-registering the ...Read More

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PublishAmerica and Writer Beware Settle

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware announced on her blog that a settlement has been reached between PublishAmerica/America Star Books (PA/ASB) and Writer Beware.

The suit filed on March 18, 2014 by PA/ASB alleged defamation and conspiracy by Writer Beware “to disparage PA and ASB,” and sought $800,000 in damages. According to Strauss, the settlement was signed by all parties in January. Strauss says that in exchange for Writer Beware not ...Read More

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Beagle vs Cochran

Author Peter S. Beagle has filed a civil suit in Alameda County CA against his business manager Connor Freff Cochran, Conlan Press, and Avicenna Development Corporation.

The suit, filed November 24, 2015, alleges elder abuse (financial), elder abuse (constructive fraud), elder abuse (intentional infliction of emotional distress), elder abuse (physical), fraud, defamation (libel), defamation (slander), breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and other charges.

Cochran launched Conlan Press in ...Read More

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Amazon E-Book Credits

Online bookseller Amazon.com has begun to issue credits to buyers who purchased e-books published from Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin on the site between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. Credits are automatically applied to customer accounts and can be used on any book purchased at Amazon going forward, print or electronic.

The credits are part of the settlements in the antitrust lawsuit brought by state ...Read More

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Kramer Pleads Guilty

Ed Kramer, 52, pled guilty on December 2, 2013 to molesting three boys. Kramer was one of the founders of Dragon*Con, but is no longer affiliated with the convention.

Kramer was sentenced to five years, but received credit for the 26 months he has already spent in jail, and will serve the remaining 34 months under house arrest. He must pay $100,000 to each of his three victims, and avoid ...Read More

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DoJ Proposes Punishments for Apple

Apple was found guilty in federal court of conspiring to fix e-book prices last month, and now the victorious Department of Justice has outlined a set of proposed rules “intended to halt Apple’s anticompetitive conduct, restore lost competition and prevent a recurrence of the illegal activities.”

The proposed restrictions would require Apple to cancel existing contracts with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster; would prevent them from entering ...Read More

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Rowling Pseudonym Settlement

J.K. Rowling was offered a public apology in court and received “substantial damages” — in the form of a charitable donation — from UK law firm Russells on July 31, 2013.

Rowling took legal action against Russells because their employee Chris Gossage, then one of Rowling’s attorneys, told his wife’s friend Judith Callegari that Robert Galbraith, author of mystery/crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, was actually J.K. Rowling writing under ...Read More

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Apple Found Guilty

Judge Denise Cote has sided with the Department of Justice and found Apple guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices: “The Plaintiffs have shown that the Publisher Defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy. Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did ...Read More

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Dragon*Con Announces Separation from Kramer

In a press release today, Greg Euston, Director of Public Relations for Dragon*Con, announced that they have officially merged the old Dragon Con / Ace, Inc. into a new company, Dragon Con, Inc. in a cash-out merger. Ownership of the  new company includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / Ace; Edward Kramer, one of the founding members, was offered cash for his shares of the old ...Read More

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Rep Canterbury Proposes Required SF Reading

Representative Ray Canterbury, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, has proposed bill HB 2983, which would require the integration of science fiction literature in middle and high school reading curricula, as a means of promoting interest in the subjects of math and science.  The bill stipulates that the West Virginia State Board of Education “shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are ...Read More

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Random Penguin Merger Approved

The merger of Penguin and Random House has been approved by the US Department of Justice. The DoJ notified Bertelsmann and Pearson “that it has closed its investigation into the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House, without conditions,” according to a statement. The approval comes just under four months after the deal was announced, remarkably fast for the DoJ. This makes the US the first country to approve the ...Read More

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Macmillan Settles with DoJ

Macmillan has decided not to go to trial with the Department of Justice over antitrust allegations regarding e-book pricing. All the other publishers involved in the lawsuit have already settled. Only Apple is still contesting the charges.

CEO John Sargent announced that Macmillan is settling its case because the penalties, should they lose the case, would be too high. Sargent explains:

I had an old fashioned belief that you should ...Read More

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