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Posts Tagged ‘Association of American Publishers’

AAP Criticized by Open Access Advocates

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Jennifer Howard reports that the Association of American Publishers has landed in hot water with university presses and research librarians, as well as open-access advocates, thanks to a new undertaking that is billed as an attempt to “safeguard the scientific and medical peer-review process and educate the public about the risks of proposed government interference with the scholarly communication process.” That effort, known as the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine (PRISM) is seen by open-access advocates within the scientific and library communities as just another bid by the AAP to clamp down on such efforts and infringe on the ability of scientists to conduct free and open research.

Brian D. Crawford, chairman of the executive council of the AAP’s professional and scholarly publishing division, acknowledged that the strength of the negative reaction had taken his group by surprise. “We did not expect to have encountered the sort of criticism that we have seen thus far,” Crawford told The Chronicle. “We were truly hoping to establish this as a way to have a very productive dialogue on what are important and nuanced issues.”

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Department of Non-News: A Quarter of Americans Don’t Read

While the AP’s story jumping off a recently conducted poll certainly sounds the doom and gloom alarm – oh gasp, one in four people in America don’t read! – and has now led to Association of American Publishers president Pat Schroeder to slam Conservatives who don’t read with an explanation that “The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes,’” – the problem I have is a distinct lack of context. What percentage of Americans didn’t read in 1980, or 1960, or hell, 1900? A smaller one, no doubt, but has the decline truly been as precipitous as we think? And by “reading” is it book format, or can we count reading online, text messaging, IMs and other information-gathering techniques as reading?

Point is, if you’re going to bitch and moan about the declining readership, give me a framework. Or accept that we are by and large preaching to a converted audience for 99.99% of published books.

Authors Guild Denounces “Dead Celebs” Bill

Yesterday the Authors Guild sent out an alert to its members that the organization, along with the Association of American Publishers, have publicly denounced a bill on the floor of the New York State Legislature that could allow heirs the legal right to block the use of photographs and other likenesses of deceased public figures who passed away after January 1, 1938. PW Daily explains that if the bill passes, it would create a “posthumous ;right of publicity’” that could, potentially, threaten the work done by historians, biographers and even novelists.

The bill has been introduced in two forms, according to Authors Guild sources. The Assembly version, which the Guild says could be voted on very soon and “would most likely pass,” and the Senate one, which the Guild thinks is “on a slower track.” Because the two versions of the bill do not exclude literary works from their scope, the Guild has urged its members to oppose the legislation by contacting their representatives. AAP director of communications Judy Platt, who said said “the bill, as written, is a disaster,” added that it is already being supported by some high profile celebrities like Al Pacino and Yoko Ono. Michael Gross also supports vetoing the bill and explains why: “Put simply, the bill stifles free speech, and in America, we don’t do that unless there’s a compelling reason. In this case, there is no compelling reason.”

BEA Forced to Cancel Bon Jovi Concert

The planned Saturday night benefit concert featuring Jon Bon Jovi and Amy Grant is no more. Book Expo America announced late yesterday that concert benefiting the Book Industry Foundation, which is comprised of the Association of American Publishers‘ (AAP) Get Caught Reading Campaign and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) was scuttled after the concert’s main sponsor, Flying Dolphin Press, informed BEA that Bon Jovi’s forthcoming book BELIEVE was postponed indefinitely from its original November 2007 publication date. “It is with great regret that Flying Dolphin Press announces that Bon Jovi will not be performing at BEA in June,” the Random House imprint said in a statement to BEA officials.

“I cannot begin to express my regret about this development, and I apologize profusely to all our many attendees who I know were looking forward to this event,” said Lance Fensterman, Event Director for BEA. “At the same time, I also want to say that I do know that Flying Dolphin feels terribly about this and I know they approached us with the firmest conviction and every belief that Mr. Bon Jovi would perform. Unfortunately, as we all know in this business, things change fast and books do, on rare occasions, get postponed. This can sometimes be a bitter pill, especially for those of us who work in the event planning business.” When asked why the event couldn’t just proceed as scheduled with Grant, Festerman emailed back, “Grant on her own would be a big investment (financially due to staging needs) for just her (and either the publisher would have to cover that or it would come out of the charities take—neither a great option). It seemed clearer to call it, and readress it if we have the line up.”

Refunds will immediately be issued to everyone who has already purchased a ticket. Show organizers note that it is not necessary to call BEA for a refund and that all ticket holders will be notified in the next two to three weeks via email once their refund has been processed. Yet should another headliner become available, or even someone who could successfully share the bill with Grant, Festerman hinted that the show might still go on: “Our minds are very open,” he says.

Google Gets Attacked on Several Fronts

With the Association of American Publishers‘ annual meeting in full swing today, the prevailing theme is what to do about Google‘s plan to digitize all books ASAP. Which is why, as the Financial Times’ John Gapper reports, Microsoft plans to launch a fierce attack on Google over its “cavalier” approach to copyright, accusing the internet company of exploiting books, music, films and television programs without permission. Tom Rubin, associate general counsel for Microsoft, will say in a speech in New York that while authors and publishers find it hard to cover costs, “companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the back of other people’s content, are raking in billions through advertising and initial public offerings.”

Further, according to the speech published in today’s WSJ, Rubin will say that Google’s plan “systematically violates copyright, deprives authors and publishers of an important avenue for monetizing their works and, in doing so, undermines incentives to create”. It a sentiment that the University of California, Berkeley now seems to agree with, according to Peter Brantley‘s blog. “Can we say it was a mistake?/For it was a mistake/The goal is undeniably grand, and good/The means have left much to be desired” Brantley states, poetic-style, in rather blunt fashion. And in case the message wasn’t clear, he later adds “Can we say it? The deals are not fair. We were taken advantage of. We are asked to be grateful for something wondrous where we could have achieved more for ourselves and demanded more from others. We let this happen and we should not have. Now we must count on the beneficence of others. We need speak of the bitterness, laugh at our own stupidity, and move forward.”