Not satisfied with simply getting free advertising from search engines like Google, media companies in one country after another have tried time after time to force Google to pay for all the visitors that Google sends to their websites.
This idea has been tried in Germany, Belgium, and France, and it is currently being considered in Spain. So far none of the attempts have had much success (although the French media did squeeze a token payment out of Google), and today I learned that a newspaper cooperative in Germany is going to mount a second attempt to force Google to pay for the free advertising it gives them. Continue reading
I was waiting for this shoe to drop.
The WSJ reported yesterday that the US Dept of Justice is asking questions of publishers. It seems someone at the DOJ has noticed that 2 years have passed since 3 major US trade publishers settled an antitrust lawsuit over a conspiracy to fix prices, and the DOJ wanted to see if the trio weren’t back up to their old tricks. Continue reading
Hot on the heels of news that Oyster had signed a trio of publishers comes new reports that their competition is doing the same.
Earlier this week the kid-focused service Epic announced a deal with Capstone Young Readers to add 500 titles to Epic’s current catalog. The new additions include licensed titles from DC Entertainment, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Tony Hawk and Warner Brothers. Epic offers Netflix-style subscription access to nearly 4,000 ebooks for kinds aged 7 to 12 for $9.99 a month, and currently offers an iPad app. Continue reading
When it rains, it pours.
Hot on the heels of reports of 2 indie ebook retailers filing antitrust lawsuits against Apple and 5 publishers comes a new story of a new antitrust lawsuit. Judge Denise Cote, aka the bane of Apple’s existence, certified a new class action lawsuit on Friday against Apple and HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. Continue reading
The Publisher’s Association announced on Monday that they were launching a year-long e-lending pilot program which would study the effects of ebook lending in libraries.
According to the announcement, the goal of the pilot is to conduct research into the impact of ebook lending in public libraries on authors, publishers and on the library service. The Publisher’s Association says that they want to find “a suitable and sustainable model for all stakeholders”. Continue reading
Never one to take NO for an answer, RoyaltyShare founder Bob Kohn filed an appeal today over the recently approved settlement agreements between Macmillan and Penguin and the DOJ.
It seems that Mr. Kohn wasn’t satisfied when Judge Denise Cote ignored his amicus curae pre-trial filing in September 2012, and he wasn’t satisfied when the judge shot him down when he made the same arguments in a post-trial session last month, becasue he was back _again_ last week with a new filing that made the same old arguments. Continue reading
BitTorrent launched a new commerce platform today that promises to offer artists and authors a new way to sell directly to fans/readers.
It’s called BitTorrent Bundle, and it’s going live today in a private alpha test with 8 launch partners: FADER, Cinedigm, The Collective, Gravitas Ventures, Converge Studios, Topspin, Interloper Films, and Tim Ferriss. Continue reading
A couple days ago the web clipping service Findings announced that they were dropping support for Kindle notes and highlights. This service used to be able to extract notes made on your Kindle and let you share them online.
Another part of our service has been the ability to make your Kindle reading more social by importing and sharing your Kindle highlights. A few days ago, Amazon formally notified us that they believe this functionality violates their terms of service. We don’t agree with them but as a small startup, we know a few things.
Findings puts the blame on publishers, an easy target. And this complaint is echoed in some of coverage of this story, particularly at Techdirt. Continue reading
PaidContent has updates on a couple of e-book-related lawsuit stories today. First, Judge Denise Cote has approved the $69 million everyone-but-Minnesota lawsuit settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. The payments won’t happen until next year because of a “fairness hearing” to be held on February 8th to allow those opposed to have their say against it.
Cote previously issued an order waiving her own right to collect the 25-cents-to-$1.32 refund under the settlement, just to avoid any possible appearance of conflict of interest I suppose. Though I’d think it’s easy to do when the most you could get out of it would be $1.32 anyway.
The three-ring circus continues. Apple, the two non-settling publishers, and the Authors Guild have filed legal briefs in response to the Department of Justice’s proposed settlement with the three publishers who are settling. Unsurprisingly, they’re all against it, and tend to share similar arguments. One kind of funny thing here is that, though the judge had asked them to make their oppositions clear during the public comments period, these filings after it ended represent the first peeps we’ve heard out of some of them in terms of their precise feelings about it.
Apple insists (PDF) that by forcing those publishers to terminate their agency pricing contracts with it, the DoJ is punishing Apple a year before it even comes to trial. Bob Kohn, whose own brief I mentioned the other day, is against allowing Apple to skate while Amazon gets to terminate its own agency contracts—because Apple could use its “most-favored nation” clause, in which it is allowed to match the lowest price of a given e-book anywhere, to scoop the price advantage of non-agency without having to pony up its wholesale cost.