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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
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 MoreRead more
The Department of Justice has announced a settlement with Penguin regarding the e-book pricing antitrust lawsuit brought last spring against five of the “big six” publishers and Apple. Penguin had previously vowed to litigate in court.
Because of Penguin’s proposed merger with Random House — never part of the lawsuit — announced at the end of October, Penguin decided to settle. A statement from the company said “it is also ...Read MoreRead more
Several pieces of art were stolen from the New York City studio of artist Arthur Suydam, including Suydam’s own painting, “Alien Genocide” and a drawing by the late Frank Frazetta, “Little Devil”. The artist asks that anyone with information about the theft or the whereabouts of the art contact him at suyd AT earthlink.net or (212) 475-4840.
For more, and to see pictures of the stolen artwork, please see the ...Read MoreRead more
Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have made a deal to digitize books and journals for the Google Library Project. This agreement ends years of litigation that began in 2005 when five members of the AAP — McGraw-Hill, Penguin, Wiley, Pearson Education, and Simon & Schuster — brought an infringement suit against Google for their scanning of copyrighted materials from libraries. The new deal allows publishers control over ...Read MoreRead more
The e-book settlement between Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins and the Department of Justice was approved by US District Court judge Denise Cote yesterday. The settlement calls for publishers to end their contracts with Apple within one week, and to cancel any contracts with e-book retailers that restrain the retailer’s ability to set the price of an e-book or that contains a “most favored nation” clause that denies other ...Read MoreRead more
A “Notice of Public Disposition” posted today reveals that Amazon intends to buy Dorchester at public auction; a higher bidder could outbid Amazon, should other parties be interested.
Agents and authors owed monies by Dorchester will be offered an amendment to their contracts, offering the transfer of rights to Amazon in exchange for all back royalties owed by Dorchester for the work(s) as of May 31, 2012. The winning bidder ...Read MoreRead more
In answer to the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Apple and five of the “Big Six” publishers, Penguin and Macmillan each filed formal responses. (HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster have negotiated settlements, and Apple filed its own response previously.)
While both Penguin and Macmillan’s responses make reference to Amazon’s near-monopoly in the e-book business, Penguin’s filing is getting the most attention.
Penguin robustly defends the agency model, claiming ...Read MoreRead more
On April 11, 2012, the US Department of Justice made good on their threat to file an antitrust lawsuit against technology giant Apple and five of the Big Six publishers: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. Hours after the suit was filed, three of the publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins — agreed to settle with the DoJ, allowing Amazon and other retailers to discount their ...Read MoreRead more
The Department of Justice, which has been investigating several major publishers and Apple for possible antitrust violations related to e-book pricing, has indicated they intend to bring a lawsuit accusing Apple and the so-called Agency Five (Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin) of colluding to fix prices on e-books.
Those publishers and Apple moved away from a wholesale model — where books are sold to the retailer, with ...Read MoreRead more
Dorchester Publishing’s owner, The Backe Group Inc., founded by John Backe, filed a notice of foreclosure against Dorchester, after failing to collect on an outstanding $3.4 million loan. The notice signaled Backe’s intention to “foreclose its security interest in [Dorchester] and sell at public auction as a single unit,” including the company’s registered trademarks, related internet domain names, works of authorship, copyrights, copyright registrations, and even computer equipment. Because the ...Read MoreRead more
The Science Fiction Writers of America announced to members yesterday that Dorchester Publishing, after failing to fulfill their contractual obligations to SFWA members, has been removed from the list of qualifying SFWA markets. Dorchester was put on probation on December 10, 2010 for not paying royalties when contractually specified and for distributing books in formats they had not legally secured rights to. Although some effort has been made, because Dorchester ...Read MoreRead more