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The Authors Guild

Microsoft Blinks in Dispute with Getty, Takes Down Image Portal

Last week in federal court, the stock-photo licensing company Getty Images filed a massive copyright infringement suit against Microsoft that could potentially shed light on the issues being litigated in our historic copyright case, Authors Guild v. Google. But unlike Google, which has never so much as interrupted the practices we dispute, Microsoft responded by at least temporarily removing the software at the heart of Getty’s complaint.

On Thursday, Getty accused Microsoft of infringement and asked the court to compel the tech company to stop offering its Bing Image Widget, which allows web publishers to display and arrange unlicensed images from Bing Image Search on their websites. Microsoft responded on Friday afternoon by removing the beta version of the offending image portal.

Getty’s entire business consists of the licensing of stock photos, both offline and on. If Microsoft is allowed to freely provide copyrighted images to web publishers, Getty contends, its Internet revenue streams will dry up, and the injury will be “incalculable.” “In effect,” Getty’s court filing states, Microsoft “has turned the entirety of the world’s online images into little more than a vast, unlicensed ‘clip art’ collection . . . all without seeking permission from the owners of copyrights in those images.”

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

There’s no better way to start things off than by quoting from E. M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel (1927).

He wrote that a character (referred to here as “it”) in a book “is real when the novelist knows everything about it. He may not choose to tell us all he knows—many of the facts, even of the kind we call obvious, may be hidden. But he will give us the feeling that though the character has not been explained, it is explicable, and we get from this a reality of a kind we can never get in daily life.”

Forster ends his chapter on “People” by writing: “And that is why novels, even when they are about wicked people, can solace us; they suggest a more comprehensible and thus a more manageable human race, they give us the illusion of perspicacity and of power.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Diane Ackerman, Philip Appleman, Lisa M. Bakos, David Bezmozgis, Nina Wolff Feld, Paul Fleischman, Rebecca Jackson and Robert Pressman, Albert Russo, Pat Schories, Laurie Ann Thompson, Geoffrey C. Ward, and Ronna Wineberg. Titles below the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a $10,000 prize for emerging African American writers as well as a mixed bag of smaller prizes for fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. The deadline for all contests below is October 1.

The American Literary Review Awards is currently accepting submissions in the categories of Short Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry. Short fiction entries should not exceed 8,000 words and creative nonfiction should not exceed 6,500 words. For poetry, the entry fee covers up to three poems. Each winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the upcoming Spring 2015 issue. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: October 1, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Boston Review is currently accepting submissions for its Aura Estrada Short Story Contest. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. Any author writing in English will be eligible. The winner will receive $1,500 and publication in the Boston Review. Entry fee: $20 (includes a half year subscription to the journal). Deadline: October 1, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Mary Beard is a classics professor at the University of Cambridge and the subject of a profile in the September 1 New Yorker. Her latest book is Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up.

The magazine article is mainly about the constant attacks to which Beard is subjected because she is a smart woman who makes herself heard. She often appears on England’s BBC television. She said, “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.”

She is subjected to threats of “a predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” One tweet directed to her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”

TIME OFF: Bill Hayes is the author of The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy. In an essay called “On Not Writing” in The New York Times, he wrote, “To be a writer is to make a commitment to the long haul, as one does to keeping healthy for as long a run as possible. For me, this means staying active physically and creatively, remaining curious and interested in learning new skills, and of course giving myself ample periods of rest, days or even weeks off. I know that the writer in me, like the lifelong fitness devotee, will be better off.”

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry and fiction. The deadline for each contest is Sept 30.

The Hackney Literary Awards are currently seeking submissions for best unpublished novel. Length is open but the novel must be unpublished. The winner will receive $5,000. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: September 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry is an annual book contest sponsored by the MFA Program at California State University, Fresno. Manuscript should be original poetry, not previously published in book form, and should be 48-80 pages, with no more than one poem per page. The winner will receive $2,000, book publication by Anhinga Press, and 25 copies of the book. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: September 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

With schools starting to open this time of year, the Times Book Review offered many pages of comment about that timely subject.

Asked to recommend a favorite book about schools, Times staffer Ariel Kaminer, said, “A great many books have recently come out that ask hard and necessary questions about higher education. Its value. Its impact on America’s class structure. Urgent issues, of course. But for favorites? I have to go with Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise. A savagely funny send-up of academia (and the hyper-specific anxieties it can engender) that does not ever stoop to outright ridicule.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Rennie Airth, Julia E. Antoine, Carol Brendler, Marlene Targ Brill, Sandra Cuza, Kathryn Erskine, Lee Gutkind, Jessie Haas, Liza Ketchum, Mary Jo Putney, Chris Raschka, Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, Charles Sheehan-Miles, and William Wells. Titles below the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a mixed bag of poetry and fiction prizes. The deadline for each is September 15.

The University of Wisconsin Press is now seeking submissions for two poetry awards: the Brittingham Prize and the Felix Pollak Prize. Prizes are awarded annually to the two best book-length manuscripts of original poetry submitted. Each submission will be considered for both prizes. Each winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $25 per manuscript, but covers entry for both prizes. Deadline: September 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Literal Latté Essay Award is now open for submissions. Essays must be unpublished and should not exceed 8,000 words. The winner receives $1,000; second place receives $300; third place receives $200. Entry fee: $10 per essay or $15 for two essays. All entries will be considered for publication. Deadline: September 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Actress Lauren Bacall, 89, died August 12 in Manhattan. She was the author of two autobiographies, and is believed to have written them herself. One of her many strokes of luck was that her editor was Robert Gottlieb, probably the best in the business. Lauren Bacall, By Myself won a National Book Award in 1980. Now (1984) was the title of the second autobiography.

Her Page 1 obit in The New York Times ended with a quote: “I spent my childhood in New York, riding on subways and buses. And you know what you learn if you’re a New Yorker? The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing.”

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