Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bulletin Board

This week’s contests include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Deadlines range from June 1 through June 30. Check them out.

The Barrow Street Press Book Award is given to the best previously unpublished manuscript of poetry in English. The winner will receive $1,000 and book publication by Barrow Street Press. Poets may submit a 50-80 page unpublished manuscript for consideration. Entry fee: $25 by mail, $28 online. Deadline: June 30, 2013. For more information, visit the website.

The Southern Poetry Review’s annual Guy Owen Prize awards $1,000 and publication in their journal for an unpublished poem. Poets may submit three to five poems, 10 pages maximum. Entry fee: $20 (includes one-year subscription to journal). Deadline: June 15, 2013. All entries will be considered for publication. For more information, please visit the website.

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Appellate Court in Google Lawsuit: Is Class Certification Review Premature?

An aspect of our class-action copyright infringement action over Google’s scanning of millions of library books was before a federal appellate court today. Before we get to that, let’s review where we are.

Last May, Judge Chin made a key ruling, certifying a class of U.S. authors with registered copyrights in the books scanned by Google. In July, attorneys for authors and for Google filed cross-motions for summary judgment (essentially, judgment following discovery and depositions based on undisputed facts) with Judge Chin. The outcome of those motions will almost certainly turn on whether Judge Chin deems Google’s book digitization project to be a fair use.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

The publication of The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, edited by Andrew Jewel and Janis Stout, could give writers something to think about.  Long before she died in 1947, Cather made it clear that she did not want her letters made public—not ever.  She asked recipients to burn them, but this book contains more than 500.

In today’s digital world we send e-mails, don’t we?  What is happening to the flood of e-mails exchanged with family, friends and business folk?  Will those messages just be swallowed up in invisible clouds of cryptic (LOL) initials? Do you care what happens to them? How long before super sleuths, for a small fee, offer to track down every e-mail you’ve ever sent or received?

Do yourself—and Cather—a favor. Get a copy of Death Comes to the Archbishop. That is what she wanted you to read. It’s imagined American history at its most transcendent and better than any letter.  Even one from Cather herself.

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Does Influential Report Get Copyright’s Goals Right?

Does copyright exist to encourage creative expression, full stop, or does it also seek to motivate the commercialization of creative works?

On Thursday, the National Research Council of the national science, engineering and medical academies* issued a 102-page report calling for research to provide empirical data that better inform copyright policy decisions in the digital age. The National Research Council is influential in Washington; its report, Copyright in the Digital Era: Building Evidence for Policy, is likely to be widely cited. Terry Hart of Copyhype, however, says that the NRC report mishandles a fundamental issue — the purpose of copyright – and cites a 2012 Supreme Court decision to back him up.

The NRC report’s characterization of the tone of the copyright debate (“strident”) is indisputable, so is its statement that the debate is “between those who believe the digital revolution is progressively undermining the copyright protection essential to encourage the funding, creation, and distribution of new works and those who believe that enhancements to copyright, are inhibiting technological innovation and free expression.”

The NRC then makes the case for more data:

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New Books by Members

This week’s round up of new and recent releases by Authors Guild members includes books by Bevin Alexander, Fran Baker, Dan Burns, Deborah Coonts, William Dietrich, Patrick A. Durantou, Thomas Fleming, P.L. Gaus, Lawrence Grobel, Carolyn Hart, Alan Huffman, Angela Hunt, LaQianya Huynh, Jonathan Kirsch, John Le Carré, Leslie Lehr, David Poyer, Cynthia Riggs, Mary S. Schaeffer, Joan Steinau Lester, Dennis Palumbo, Douglas Trevor, Martha White (Ed.), Lauren Willig, and Stuart Woods. See the list of titles after the jump. 

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Harper Lee Sues Agent She Says Tricked Her

Harper Lee is suing her former agent, Sam Pinkus, to recover royalties from To Kill a Mockingbird dating back to 2007, when he allegedly tricked her into signing over copyright  to the classic novel as she was in an assisted living facility recovering from a stroke.

“Pinkus knew that Harper Lee was an elderly woman with physical infirmities that made it difficult for her to read and see,” Lee’s lawyer Gloria Phares says in a complaint filed in federal court last week, according to Bloomberg and other news sources. The 87-year-old author regained rights to the novel in 2012, but Pinkus has continued to collect royalties.

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Gamesmanship: Virtual Pirates Befuddle Real Ones

File this one under behavioral science experiments. Also, file it under brilliant promotional stunts.

On Sunday Australian game developer Greenheart Games, run by brothers Patrick and Daniel Klug, released its first product, “Game Dev Tycoon.” It’s a computer game in which players pretend to be game developers of the 1980s, starting their businesses from their garages.

Just as Greenheart Games opened its virtual doors for business, Patrick Klug purposely released an unlocked version of Game Dev Tycoon on the “number one torrent sharing site” (Pirate Bay, which beat out KickassTorrents for the honors, according to TorrentFreak.). Here’s what Patrick posted:

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S&S Says Sales Not Suffering Much Amid B&N Dispute

Despite its continuing disagreement with Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster did not experience a significant drop in first quarter sales–just 3 percent to $171 million–as the company took steps to make up for business lost as it’s trying to negotiate a resolution with the bookseller.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s contests include poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction, with deadlines ranging from May 31 to June 3.

The sixteenth annual Boston Review Poetry Contest is now accepting submissions. The winner will receive $1,500 and publication in the November/December 2013 issue of the Boston Review. Poets can submit up to five unpublished poems. Entry fee: $20. All submitters will receive a complimentary half-year subscription to the Boston Review.  Deadline: June 3, 2013. For more information, visit the website.

The Bridport Prize is now accepting submissions for its poetry, short story, and flash fiction categories. The contest is open to all nationalities aged 16 and over. The winning story and poem will receive £5000 each (approx. $8,000); the winning flash fiction piece will receive £1,000 (approx. $1,600). Runners up will also receive cash prizes. The winning stories, poems and flash fiction will be also published in the Bridport Prize 2013 anthology. Entry fees ranges from £6 to £8 (approx. $9 to $16). Deadline: May 31, 2013. For detailed information, please visit the website.

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NYPL President: Big Six Now Allow E-Lending of Books “Anywhere and On Any Device”

Downloading ebooks from your local public library is poised to become much more widespread.

Anthony Marx, New York Public Library President, announced in an op-ed in today’s NY Times (subscription required) that Hachette Book Group has now joined the other Big Six publishers in agreeing to allow e-lending of its titles. Citing surveys that show that most Americans don’t know that libraries offer ebooks, Marx sees a need “to educate patrons that they can download library e-books anywhere and on any device.” Library e-lending, when permitted by publishers, generally allows one-at-a-time, two week uses of ebooks. Library users may download the ebooks from their homes after using their library cards to log in to the library’s website.

Marx discusses the variations in e-lending terms among the Big Six publishers: Penguin and Simon & Schuster offer their entire lists to public libraries through licenses that expire after a year; HarperCollins also offers their entire list with licenses that expire after a title is downloaded 26 times; Random House offers its entire list for unlimited uses, charging a premium for the license; and Macmillan makes only a limited portion of its list available.

The numbers show substantial room for growth in ebook downloads from the NYPL (and, no doubt, other public libraries):

The New York Public Library had 100,000 copies of 37,000 digital titles in circulation last year, compared with 6.5 million copies in circulation of 1 million print titles. Just as libraries decide which physical books to purchase and how many of each, we now will be deciding the same for e-books.

As those with library cards learn that they ”can download library e-books anywhere and on any device,” we may soon see a rapid shift in ebook buying habits.