An article published on Thursday in, The Guardian, discusses a debate taking place in the British Parliament around a new “digital economy bill.”
One amendment in particular is stirring a lot of discussion about its impact on content online. The Guardian writes:
The new proposal – which was passed in the House of Lords by 165 votes to 140 – gives a high court judge the right to issue an injunction against a Web site accused of hosting a “substantial” amount of copyright infringing material, potentially forcing the entire site offline.
Critics say the major problem with this amendment is that a judge could shut down a Web site because of copyright infringement, even if the site’s manager didn’t put the content online.
What is left unanswered is how a company can be held accountable for every piece of content placed on its site. Many critics of this bill and others in Europe say it is most likely to result in the stifling of creativity, innovation and free speech. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act offers some protection against liability to Internet service providers and Web sites that host copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.
There are similar tensions over Internet content and privacy elsewhere in Europe. Last week the Italian court held three of Google’s top executives accountable for a defamatory video placed on YouTube by teenagers. And the French parliament approved a recent bill that will crack down on Internet piracy by banning people from the Web if they are caught downloading copyrighted content more than three times. source
Math of Publishing Meets the E-Book
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: February 28, 2010
Publishers largely agree, which is why in negotiations with Apple, five of the six largest publishers of trade books have said they would price most digital editions of new fiction and nonfiction books from $12.99 to $14.99 on the forthcoming iPad tablet — significantly lower than the average $26 price for a hardcover book.On a typical hardcover, the publisher sets a suggested retail price. Let’s say it is $26. The bookseller will generally pay the publisher $13. Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about $3.25 to print, store and ship the book, including unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers.
For cover design, typesetting and copy-editing, the publisher pays about 80 cents. Marketing costs average around $1 but may go higher or lower depending on the title. Most of these costs will deline on a per-unit basis as a book sells more copies.
Let’s not forget the author, who is generally paid a 15 percent royalty on the hardcover price, which on a $26 book works out to $3.90.
Without accounting for such write-offs, the publisher is left with $4.05, out of which it must pay overhead for editors, cover art designers, office space and electricity before taking a profit.
Now let’s look at an e-book. Under the agreements with Apple, the publishers will set the consumer price and the retailer will act as an agent, earning a 30 percent commission on each sale. So on a $12.99 e-book, the publisher takes in $9.09. Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about 50 cents to convert the text to a digital file, typeset it in digital form and copy-edit it. Marketing is about 78 cents.
The author’s royalty — a subject of fierce debate between literary agents and publishing executives — is calculated among some of the large trade publishers as 25 percent of the gross revenue, while others are calculating it off the consumer price. So on a $12.99 e-book, the royalty could be anywhere from $2.27 to $3.25.
All that leaves the publisher with something ranging from $4.56 to $5.54, before paying overhead costs or writing off unearned advances.
3:51am UK, Tuesday March 09, 2010
Rock giants Pink Floyd are starting a legal battle in the High Court later today over claims they have not been paid enough royalties.The band behind Dark Side Of The Moon, one of the biggest selling albums ever, have filed a case against their record company EMI.
They claim that the amount they get in royalties was miscalculated.
Pink Floyd signed with EMI in 1967 and have been one of the company's most profitable acts.
In the last 25 years, sales of their back catalogue have only been bettered by the Beatles. source
Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JAMES RISEN
Published: March 31, 2010WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.
In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.
The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.
The Justice Department said it was reviewing the decision and had made no decision about whether to appeal.
The ruling by Judge Walker. source