Judge Rules In Favor of HarperCollins Over Open Road in Ebook Case

Publisher’s Weekly reports the judge ruled in favor of HarperCollins in the long-running ebook copyright infringement lawsuit concerning Jean Craighead George’s Julie of the Wolves.

“Having accordingly relied on the words of the contract, this Court holds that, by its language, the contract grants to HarperCollins the exclusive right to license electronic publications, a right which was infringed by Open Road in its unlicensed e-book publication of Julie of the Wolves,” held judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

The critical point of the contract language apparently being:

Specifically, paragraph 20 of the 1971 contract states that HarperCollins “shall grant no license without the prior written consent of the Author… including uses in storage and retrieval and information systems, and/or whether through computer, computer-stored, mechanical or other electronic means now known or hereafter invented…”

The judge was not convinced by Open Road’s argument that the above language was in reference to storage in electronic form rather than sale.

Emergence by K. L. Schwengel Released

Emergence, the second book in IMP K. L. Schwengel’s Darkness & Light fantasy series is available now. (The first book in the series can be found here: First of Her Kind)

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Emergence, by K.L. Schwengel cover

(Click to buy on Amazon)

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of who wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

B&N Leadership Change May Signal Refocusing on Physical Book Retailing

Barnes & Noble allowed CEO William Lynch to resign a couple days ago after the Nook business suffered a massive loss over the holiday quarter. Lynch was the driving force of the Nook business and rather than replace him, they’ve put the Nook business in the hands of the company’s CFO, Michael Huseby. Hard to interpret that as anything but deemphasizing the ebook business in anticipation of spinning it off for sale, especially with the founder, Len Riggio, taking over at the top and talking about getting back to the basic bookstore business. More at Reuters.

Judge Finds Apple Guilty of Conspiring to Fix Ebook Prices

The title says it all. Apple lost.

From Reuters:

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found “compelling evidence” that Apple violated federal antitrust law by playing a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices.

Apple responded:

Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing. When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. We’ve done nothing wrong.

There’s a lot of truth there about increasing competition, but that’s sort of beside the point of conspiring to raise prices and eliminate price competition while doing so.

It seems unlikely this will have much further impact on the ebook market. The publishers settling took care of that already. It’s just a dent on Apple’s reputation and pocketbook at this point.

THE GATHERING DEAD Free on Amazon this Week

IMP Stephen Knight’s zombie apocalypse thriller The Gathering Dead is available as a free ebook on Amazon until March 29.

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The Gathering Dead coverThe Horde Is Always Hungry…

The zombie apocalypse has begun, and Major Cordell McDaniels is given the most important mission of his career: lead a Special Forces team into New York City to rescue the one man who can stop the ghastly virus that reanimates the dead.

But as a growing army of flesh-eating corpses takes over the streets and a violent storm renders airborne extraction impossible, McDaniels struggles to find a way out of the Big Apple. The odds of anyone getting out alive plummet further when slaughtered members of his own Special Forces team join the ranks of the gathering dead… with their military skills intact!

Self Publishers: Avoid Autharium

Over at The Passive Voice, there’s an important discussion about Autharium.

On the surface, this looks like the typical aggregating service for self publishers. They take your book and put it on a whole bunch of retailer sites, consolodate all that sales info, and pay it all in one lump sum, all for a small cut of royalties.

While Autharium apparently does those things (and adds some bells and whistles) there is something rather insideous in their terms of service. They say on the surface in various plain-english explanations that they don’t own your copyright, behind the scenes their terms grant them exclusive and perpetual licensed rights to exploit your uploaded content basically forever, even if you remove the story from their site. So, you write the next Fifty Shades or WOOL and suddenly trade publishers are courting you–sorry, those rights are not yours to exploit–they’ll apparently have to negotiate with Autharium.

This is not a self-publishing assist. This is a trade publisher, and a terrible one. Avoid Autharium.

Stick with the tried-and-true Smashwords or the new kid on the block Draft2Digital.

Random House Revises Hydra Imprint Terms

Public pressure that started with the SFWA appears to have played a big role in Random House revising the terms for all four of their digital-first imprints: Hydra, Alibi, Flirt and Loveswept. They’ve announced the basics on their site.

Authors now have the option of a more typical advance and royalty model contract, or the zero-advance net revenue split modified to remove the provision where the author pays the costs of publishing. The reversion terms are also clearly defined now. All in all, these look like a more reasonable baseline proposal for negotiating a final contract.