"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser
The Court Battle that Could Determine the Fate of the Book Industry:A Review & Analysis

From Copylaw

Law Offices of Lloyd J. Jassin


A Battle Over Words on Paper Will Determine the Digital Future

Because many in the book trade were not thinking about future technologies that would enable readers to license or purchase digital books, old contracts are being dusted off and ambiguous language scrutinized by lawyers like myself to answer the question, “Who controls eBook rights?” In the case of pre-Internet contracts, author and publisher often ascribe different meanings to the phrase “in book form.” Where the grant of rights can be interpreted in more than one way, it can lead to disputes, and, in the case of Jane Friedman’s Open Road, expensive and distracting litigation.

Depending upon how the case brought by HarperCollins is decided, or resolved, the big six multinational, New York-based, publishers (and their cousin to the north, Harlequin) could either score a copyright and unfair competition protection windfall, or meet their digital Waterloo. Only time will tell.


No comments: