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December 13, 2012

At Random House, Employees Will Enjoy 5,000 Shades of Green

50By LESLIE KAUFMAN

Random House had its corporate Christmas party on Wednesday night in New York, and word is that Santa likes bondage. A lot.

Markus Dohle, the chief executive of Random House, promised employees — from top editors to warehouse workers — a $5,000 bonus to celebrate a profitable year. The cheering went on for minutes, according to people in attendance.

Call it 5,000 shades of green.

This year, Random House had the good fortune to publish E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” about an inexperienced college student who falls in love with an older man with a taste for trying her up and whipping her, among other delights. The book has topped the New York Times paperback best-seller list for 37 weeks and counting. The sequels “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” have been in the top five for a similar amount of time.

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December 9, 2011

Is It Plagiarism? Publisher Says No

By JULIE BOSMAN

Another novel, another accusation of plagiarism. Except this time, the publisher is standing by its author.

That publisher, St. Martin’s Press, has steadfastly defended Lenore Hart against charges of literary fraud in the writing of her novel, “The Raven’s Bride,” released earlier this year. The book contains passages that are markedly similar to those in “The Very Young Mrs. Poe,” a 1956 novel by Cothburn O’Neal, who died in 2001. Both novels are centered on Virginia Clemm, the first cousin and child bride of Edgar Allan Poe who inspired the poem “Annabel Lee.”

The similarities were highlighted by Jeremy Duns, a spy novelist, on his blog last month, and on Web sites devoted to Poe. Also last month, The Guardian noted that Ms. Hart had defended herself by saying she and Mr. O’Neal drew on the same sources.

After taking time to review the allegations, St. Martin’s issued a statement this week saying it was “satisfied” with Ms. Hart’s explanation.

Mr. Duns said that they are all in denial. “It’s unbelievably plagiarized,” he said, sounding exasperated.

Publishers are extremely sensitive to charges of plagiarism, considered among the gravest sins in the literary world, and in some cases are quick to respond. Last month, for instance, Little Brown & Company pulled a mystery novel from the shelves when it was discovered that the writer had lifted material extensively from James Bond and Robert Ludlum novels.

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November 9, 2011

For Stieg Larsson Fans, New Editions to Savor

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By JULIE BOSMAN
Fans of Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster “Millennium” trilogy can count on a few more editions to collect.

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the final book in Mr. Larsson’s series, will be issued in paperback in February, his publisher said on Monday, after spending 70 weeks on the New York Times hardcover fiction best-seller list.

A movie tie-in edition of the first book, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” will be released on Tuesday, ahead of the film’s release in the United States on Dec. 21. Russell Perreault, a spokesman for Vintage Books, part of Random House, said the publisher is planning to ship more than 1.3 million paperback copies of the newest edition of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” in November.

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October 29, 2011

Philip K. Dick Estate Files Suit

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
 
Are those who made “The Adjustment Bureau,” based on Philip K. Dick’s story about fate and attempts to change it, trying to alter the past? Mr. Dick’s heirs say they are.In a lawsuit filed here Thursday, Mr. Dick’s estate charged Media Rights Capital and others involved with “The Adjustment Bureau,” which starred Matt Damon, with trying to avoid at least $500,000 in bonus payments by declaring Mr. Dick’s original story, “Adjustment Team,” to have been in the public domain. But, the suit says, they did so only after having repeatedly paid fees under purchase agreements for the story, and after tapping the Dick estate for promotional help.

Released by Universal Pictures in March, “The Adjustment Bureau” took in about $128 million at the worldwide box office, according to Boxofficemojo.com. The movie was openly based on a story written by Dick in 1953.

According to the suit, which was filed in the United States District Court here, George Nolfi, the film’s writer and director, first took an option on the story in 2001, then repeatedly renewed it. A month after the movie was released, however, Media Rights Capital, which financed the film, told the estate it had discovered the story to be in the public domain, partly as a result of its publication in 1954 in a magazine called Orbit.

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