Intellectual Property

Author Responds to Salinger Lawsuit

The New York Times has an update on the legal battle between 90-year old author J. D. Salinger and Swedish writer Frederik Colting (pictured below), author of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.” Colting claims that his novel is not a sequel to “Catcher in the Rye,” but rather “a complex and undeniably transformative exposition about one of our nation’s most famous authors, J.D. Salinger, and his best known creation, Holden Caulfield.” Salinger says "it is a rip-off, pure and simple".


Here is Colting's p.o.v. (legal documentation).

Harry Potter Publisher Bloomsbury Denies Plagiarism Claim

The worm has turned for author J. K. Rowling. Now she's been accused of plagiarism.

"The allegations of plagiarism made today, Monday 15 June 2009, by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue," said a statement from Bloomsbury, which publishes Harry Potter in Britain.

"This claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously."

In an earlier statement, Jacobs' estate said that it had issued proceedings at London's High Court against Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for copyright infringement.

"The Estate is also seeking a court order against J.K. Rowling herself for pre-action disclosure in order to determine whether to join her as a defendant to the ... action," the statement read.

It named the estate's trustee as Paul Allen, and said that Rowling had copied "substantial parts" of "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard -- No 1 Livid Land" written by Jacobs in 1987. Reuters (Canada) reports.

Have You Looked At The ROARMAP?

ROARMAP is the Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies. A note out on SERIALST this morning mentioned that sometimes Open Access policies are adopted by institutions but not made known. Librarians and others concerned by this can log policies of their institutions with ROARMAP so that a broader picture of prevailing policies can be painted.

Brewster Kahle - How Google Threatens Books

Brewster Kahle: If approved, the settlement would produce not one but two court-sanctioned monopolies. Google will have permission to bring under its sole control information that has been accessible through public institutions for centuries. In essence, Google will be privatizing our libraries.

A Book Author Wonders How to Fight Piracy

The specter of piracy of my books materialized for me several weeks ago when I typed the four words “wayner data compression textbook” into Google. Five of the top ten links pointed to sites distributing pirated copies. (And now, it’s six.)

To add insult to injury, the top ten doesn’t include any page that actually sells my book, although they do point to several pages at Amazon and other sites that sell newer books by other authors. Other search strings do a better job and find the textbook’s page at Amazon.com.

The piracy of music and movies has been a challenge for the industry for many years now, but the book business seemed to avoid the problem. That is rapidly changing.

An article in Tuesday’s Times by Motoko Rich suggests that more and more people are discovering how easy it is to read e-books on new gadgets with high-resolution screens, such as the Amazon Kindle and various smartphones. Digital copies are no longer poor cousins to the nicely bound copies printed with jet-black ink on acid-free stock.

So what am I supposed to do?

Article continued here.

Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

Article by Tim O'Reilly from 2002 that I think is an interesting counterpoint to the NYT article: Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web

The O'Reilly article is: Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

Another person stated it this way: "Piracy" is a tax on success.

Bootlegging Dickens: Author Looks At 'Bookaneers'

Hollywood is constantly battling overseas bootleggers. But in the 19th century, publishers in the United States made a fortune bootlegging British authors — even the biggest, like Charles Dickens. That's the backdrop of Matthew Pearl's latest work of historical fiction, The Last Dickens. Pearl talks to Guy Raz about "bookaneers" and the perils of early author tours across America.

Story on "All Things Considered"

Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web

This New York Times story covers the latest dust ups between authors and their work showing up on the Web.

"Ursula K. Le Guin, the science fiction writer, was perusing the Web site Scribd last month when she came across digital copies of some books that seemed quite familiar to her. No wonder. She wrote them, including a free-for-the-taking copy of one of her most enduring novels, “The Left Hand of Darkness.”"

Steinbeck Heirs Seek To Slow Google Books Settlement

A group of authors and the heirs of others, including representatives of the estate of John Steinbeck, and of the musician Arlo Guthrie, are asking a federal judge to delay by four months the deadline for authors to decide whether or not to participate in the settlement of a landmark class-action lawsuit against Google.

The settlement, which would establish a complex mechanism for authors to grant rights to digital versions of their books, has been criticized by various parties. Some groups plan to oppose some of its provisions.

Full story in the NYT

'Digital Barbarism' Wages Online Copyright Battle

On "All Things Considered"

Author Mark Helprin wrote the novels A Soldier of the Great War and Winter's Tale. And two years ago, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that inspired a huge online backlash.

In the op-ed, Helprin argued that the term for copyright protection should be extended to protect the author's individual voice from the pressures of the digital age. For his boldness, he faced the digital wrath of those who feel the term of copyright protection should be reduced or eliminated altogether.

He's responded to the backlash in the form of a book, Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto.

One of the most prominent opponents to Helprin's idea to extend copyright has been Lawrence Lessig. He's a professor of law at Stanford University and the founder of Creative Commons, a system that allows creators to opt out of certain copyright protections.

Full piece here.

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