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Feuds

Authors Guild Sues to Impound 7 Million Scanned Books

augui.gifThe Authors Guild has joined with the Australian Society of Authors, the Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ) and eight authors in a lawsuit over a collection of digitally scanned copies of seven million books. Recently these universities combined resources to create the HathiTrust digital collection at the University of Michigan.

The Guild aims to “impound” the collection until the matter is settled in court. Follow this PDF link to see the complaint. The copyright suit was leveled against HathiTrust, the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Cornell University.

The six authors who joined the suit included  novelists Angelo Loukakis, Roxana Robinson, Daniele Simpson, and Fay Weldon, children’s author Pat Cummings, poet Andre Roy, scholar James Shapiro and biographer T.J. Stiles. The University of Michigan planned to allow faculty and students to download copies of orphaned works in this digital collection.

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JCPenney Stirs Controversy with ‘Too Pretty to do Homework’ Shirt

JCPenney drove the Twittersphere bonkers this morning, selling 7-16 year old girls a new jersey that reads: “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.”

UPDATE: Spokesperson Ann Marie Bishop told ABC News: “We’ve immediately discontinued sales of that T-shirt. It was only online … We agreed that the shirt does not deliver an appropriate message.” The link to the shirt has been removed from the site, but follow this link to see an archived image.

The shirt featured hearts, flowers and an unfinished math problem doodled around the slogan, discouraging writing and math in a single swipe. What do you think? Follow this link to read more Twitter responses.

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Publish America Threatens to Sue J.K. Rowling

Publish America attorney Victor Cretella wrote a two page letter to J.K. Rowling‘s legal team, threatening to sue the author for circulating “a false and defamatory statement to the media.”

Earlier this week, Publish America offered to deliver customers’ books to Rowling’s home for $49. The offer has since been removed, but here’s a cached copy of the other from Google (via). The author’s spokesperson told the AP that Rowling would seek “appropriate action.” Cretella responded by attacking the statement, apparently attributing a passage from the AP article to Rowling’s camp.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter: “[Y]our client’s spokesperson, Mark Hutchinson, published a false and defamatory statement to the media, indicating that PA had been cited by industry watchdogs for ‘allegedly deceiving authors.’ Of course, there are no legitimate industry watchdogs who have ever said anything of the sort. The ones who have made such representations have been totally discredited … No reasonable person would ever rely upon anything they said. By doing so, your client and her representatives have subjected themselves to a defamation suit.”

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Muhammad Ali Sues Kobo Over Slogan

Boxing champion Muhammad Ali has filed a lawsuit against the eReader and digital bookselling company, Kobo.

Bloomberg reports that Ali’s complaint alleges that Kobo used his famous slogan, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” without consent. The slogan and Ali’s name both appeared in a Kobo advertisement featured in The New York Times.

Here’s more from the article: “Ali, 69, seeks a court order blocking Kobo’s use of the slogan and unspecified damages. The advertisement ‘made commercial use of the Muhammad Ali slogan and Muhammad Ali’s name without permission from or compensation to Muhammad Ali Enterprises,’ according to the complaint.” (via Publishers Lunch)

Ayn Rand Inspires Republican Attack Ad

Ayn Rand has inspired a group of conservative Christians to attack Republican leaders for reading Rand’s books.

The American Values Network launched a campaign (including the video embedded above) criticizing Rand’s atheism and the Republican leaders who celebrate her books.

Here’s more from the group: “GOP leaders and conservative pundits have brought upon themselves a crisis of values. Many who for years have been the loudest voices invoking the language of faith and moral values are now praising the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand whose teachings stand in direct contradiction to the Bible. Rand advocates a law of selfishness over love and commands her followers to think only of themselves, not others. She said her followers had to choose between Jesus and her teachings.” (Via Swampland)

Wall Street Journal Reporter Sparks Controversy with YA Readers

Wall Street Journal reporter Meghan Cox Gordon criticized themes of “explicit abuse, violence and depravity” in YA fiction over the weekend. As of this writing, her controversial essay has received 71 comments and 152 responses on Facebook.

Here’s more from the article: “Now, whether you care if adolescents spend their time immersed in ugliness probably depends on your philosophical outlook. Reading about homicide doesn’t turn a man into a murderer; reading about cheating on exams won’t make a kid break the honor code. But the calculus that many parents make is less crude than that: It has to do with a child’s happiness, moral development and tenderness of heart. Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it.”

What do you think? The YA community responded with scores of online essays and the #YAsaves twitter hashtag. Below, we’ve listed tweets from several popular YA authors. The video embedded above features the band Tiger Beat performing their musical homage to the genre “YA Song.”

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V.S. Naipaul Claims No Female Writer Is His Equal

Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul made a few more enemies in a Royal Geographic Society interview. According to The Guardian, the novelist told an interviewer that he does not consider any female writer to be his equal.

Naipaul (pictured, via) remarked: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me … My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don’t mean this in any unkind way.”

Angry readers have responded in the article’s comments section and on Twitter. The Guardian to create “The Naipaul Test,” analyzing readers’ ability to guess an author’s gender.

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HuffPo Lawyers Seek Dismissal of Blogger Lawsuit

The Huffington Post‘s lawyers have urged a New York City judge to dismiss Jonathan Tasini‘s lawsuit filed on behalf of unpaid bloggers on the site. The filing argued that “no rule of statutory or common law, in New York or elsewhere, recognizes such a remarkable and unwarranted intrusion into the relationship between publishers and contributors.”

In April, Tasini (pictured, via) filed a class action lawsuit against Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post and AOL. The suit includes an estimated 9,000 unpaid bloggers and seeks damages of at least $105 million.

Here’s an excerpt from the motion (PDF link): “many of the 216 blog postings cited in the Complaint demonstrate on their face that Mr. Tasini took full advantage of the platform The Huffington Post gave him. They show, for example, that Mr. Tasini used his Huffington Post blog to sell copies of books he authored, to link to his personal ‘micro-blogging’ account at the Twitter.com website, and to announce one of his Senatorial campaigns and solicit donations for another.” (Via PaidContent)

HuffPo Lawyers Seek Dismissal of Blogger Lawsuit

Stephen Hawking vs. Colton Burpo: Is Heaven For Real?

 

In the video embedded above, ABC News pitted a 12-year-old boy from a bestselling book against a physicist with some bestselling books, asking the classic question: “Does heaven exist?”

On Sunday, Stephen Hawking told The Guardian: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Journalist Diane Sawyer challenged the physicist through an interview with Colton Burpo,  the boy who recounted his near-death experience and trip to heaven in the popular book, Heaven Is for Real. What’s your opinion about the newest installment of this age-old debate?

World Net Daily Founder Threatens Legal Action Over Esquire Parody

This morning Esquire published a parody news story claiming that World Net Daily columnist Jerome Corsi would pulp all the copies of his book, Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President. The post included fake quotes from the author about the book.

World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah had this statement: “We are exploring our legal options right now … There is no question of damages from this irresponsible attack. This book was released yesterday. Our author is in day two of a media tour. This report is playing havoc with a bestselling book – and there is little question that is the intent.”

Esquire added this update to the controversial post: “[They] accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That’s why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all.”

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