Readersforum's Blog

May 11, 2013

Harper Lee sues agent over copyright to To Kill A Mockingbird

mockAuthor claims she was duped into signing over the rights on her prizewinning book.

By Paul Harris

Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has sued a literary agent, claiming that he tricked the ageing writer into assigning him copyright on the classic book.

The move marks a rare step into the spotlight for Lee, who is known for keeping a low profile for such a household name, living quietly in a tiny town in the deep south of America and eschewing almost all media requests.

However, in a shock move, 87-year-old Lee has now filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan court alleging that Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee’s long-time agent, Eugene Winick, tricked Lee into signing over the copyright on the book.

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August 16, 2011

What Is Book Piracy?

By Andrew Losowsky

Books Editor,

Book piracy is nothing new. In the mid 500s, so the story goes, St. Columba copied by hand a manuscript St. Finnian had lent to him. The king was invited to call on the legality of the act; his judgement, “To every cow belongs her calf, to every book belongs its copy,” would certainly please publishers (and dairy farmers) today.

Yet the rulings of kings and judges do little to stop people trying to get hold of information. A few years ago, the main reason for piracy was because publishers were not keeping up with the needs of their readers; the Harry Potter books are only now appearing in a digital format via the Pottermore website, but back in 2005, people made their own digital versions instead.

Today, most major titles are available in digital editions as well as print. However, many people question why e-books are so expensive. They are often the same price, or close enough, as the print editions, despite the lack of paper, printing, warehousing, physical distribution and retail sales costs involved in their creation.

As more people start to use e-readers, the issue of piracy is only going to become more pressing for the industry. It is becoming a serious legal and professional concern, as the BBC recently pointed out in a radio documentary. Will illegal downloading lead to the collapse of publishing as we know it?

In an interview last year on the website The Millions, a book pirate going by the name The Real Caterpillar suggested a simple solution:

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March 25, 2011

Are eBooks Being Straight-Jacketed by pBook Thinking?

By Martyn Daniels

Today many see digital as an evolutionary and perhaps it’s the assumption that are being made in this thinking that is causing the issues, conflicts and challenges we face today. Some would suggest that some of the very basic assumptions being made and used to determine digital strategy may be fundamentally ungrounded and not safe.

First, many assume that the ebook is a replacement for the physical book (pbook). Many may accept that both will coexists for some time, but many also believe that eventually, pbooks as we know them today, will be displaced by ebooks. Secondly, we assume that because today we buy pbooks that this model will naturally apply to ebooks. This assumes that all transactions of ebooks will be outright purchase sales. Finally, we all tend to assume all books are for life and once bought are ours to own, build into our library and even pass on to the generations to come.

                                                                                                                                              …read more

March 15, 2011

Changing copyright laws could “stifle” literature, report finds

Filed under: Legislation — Tags: , , , — Henry Greeff @ 3:33 pm

By Lisa Campbell

Changing copyright laws in the UK could strike a blow to investment in literature, a report has found.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has produced the document for the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), which reveals that out of £4.3billion invested in new content in the UK, £1.6 billion was pumped into arts and literature alone. The statistics cover the year 2007.

The research also found that around 770,000 “original content creators”—from authors and artists to software developers—would be affected by any changes made to the UK copyright system.                                                                              …read more

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