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In re: Books

31 July 2012

In re: Books, a conference on law and the future of books will be held at New York Law School on October 26-27, 2012.

From the website:

The book is up for grabs. Digital distribution is upending the publishing industry, changing how writers and readers find each other, and challenging long-settled notions of what a “book” is.

The social and technological upheaval is matched only by the legal one. Who owns electronic rights? Is indexing infringement? What is for sale mean online and globally? Will ubiquitous scanners mean ubiquitous piracy? Who owns bibliographic metadata? Will no one think of the orphans? Agency or wholesale? What does reader privacy mean when books have brains? The answers we give to these questions will define the future of books.

Link to the conference website.

Books in General, Legal Stuff

7 Comments to “In re: Books”

  1. There’s an awful lot of yammering/concern for books, but I never seem to see an article with similar concern for the well-being of writers. Besides our own echo chamber, no one mentions how dreadfully we’ve been treated, how we’ve been cheated out of money rightfully due us and that practice continues, and no one wonders how we will make it in a brave new world where no one seems be be able to get their fuzzy little heads around the notion of what a “book” is.

    So like kids on the playground who feel abused, we’re taking our balls aka “books” and going elsewhere, where we’re welcomed. Suddenly the bullies are scared*&^%$#@! and they start asking stupid questions “Who owns first plate?” “Who’s going to keep score?” “What color will our uniforms be?”

    Or like Ewan Step In It Whatshisname. “They’ll be back. You can’t play ball by yourself. That ball’s gonna burst. 12, 18 months. Well 24, well…soon, mark my elitist words.”

    What does for sale mean??? Maybe I don’t understand the question. Maybe they could ask Mercedes-Benz a company that manages to have cars for sale globally and never wonders who owns the front seat.

  2. brendan stallard

    “Maybe they could ask Mercedes-Benz a company that manages to have cars for sale globally and never wonders who owns the front seat.”

    Barbara,

    A very good point.

    Publishing has shown the economic truth and trustworthiness towards it’s creators as TinPanAlley and the Film Trade for years.

    A bit of re-balancing would be no bad thing.

    brendan

  3. “The answers we give to these questions will define the future of books.”

    All sales hype. If anyone thinks for a moment that the answers to those questions by this class will define the future of books, they are living in another world.

    “Will no one think of the orphans?”

    *sarcasm mode* That one alone should change the world!

    • Depends on what they mean by orphans. Do they mean the last line of a paragraph, deposited by itself at the top of a new page? Or do they mean orphaned works, still theoretically in copyright but with the copyright holder MIA?

      The first is hyperbole. The second… might indeed have some effect on things.

      • While I’m sure orphaned works are an issue, and worth discussing, I doubt the answer to that question will determine the future of books. The whole thing sounded a little on the hyperbole side of things, like you’d expect to see in a marketing ad for the Ronco slicer/dicer. 😉

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