Dog-eared and Dispatched: October 18, 2015
Google wins out over the Authors Guild in a historic Fair Use decision, while publishing industry diversity continues to be absent and digital startups remain effervescent in the face of disappointing recent news. Ready? Set? Read!
Ten years ago, the Authors Guild and several individual writers sued Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., over Google’s then-newly introduced book-scanning service, the Google Books Library Project, which makes snippets of print books searchable and available online. The authors claimed this deprived them of revenue, while Google argued that it would actually boost book sales by making it easier for readers to find books they needed. In 2013, Judge Denny Chin ruled in favor of Google, and this latest decision is the result of an appeal by the Guild to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals said Google’s scanning is a “transformative use which augments public knowledge by making available information about Plaintiff’s books” and that “Google’s commercial nature and profit motivation do not justify denial of fair use.” The Court of Appeals cited the 1994 case Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. with regard to the transformative use. Though the Authors Guild and their lawyers have indicated they will probably file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for another appeal, it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will even take it “since this case keeps consistent the law of fair use among the circuits.” [Reuters, Google Books Library Project, Publishers Weekly, Adweek]
- Are you located in the Portland, OR metro area? Don’t miss All Fines Forgiven, a book-themed variety show, this upcoming October 23rd. Special guests include soul musician Whitney Mongé, and authors and poets like Arthur Bradford, Amelia Gray, Natalie Graham, Carola Dibbell, and Dao Strom.
- Publishers Weekly has released their annual industry salary survey, which reveals average compensation for men at $70k, for women at $51k, and for diversity (or lack thereof) at a whopping 89% white. Both white and nonwhite respondents think diversity in the workplace has not been improved, while the opposite is true for diversity in titles.
- Self-publishing service Smashwords has partnered with Gardners Books in a distribution agreement that will allow self-published authors to have their books available in bookstores and libraries.
- At this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, another round of dizzyingly large book deals has been made, while digital startups proliferated despite recent purported setbacks in various e-book services.
- For Ada Lovelace Day on October 13, Melville House aggregated a list of eight organizations that support women in STEM.
- As what it means to be a publisher is redefined, Niels Peter Thomas, MD of Springer Fachmedien, suggests that Twitter “is an open-access publisher producing very short books.”
- Speaking on October 15 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Profile Books’ owner Andrew Franklin describes the atmosphere in some big publishing houses as “toxic” and says camaraderie in smaller houses is probably better.