Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tolkien Estate Settles LoTR Suit; Hobbit Films Unchained

According to Variety, the Tolkien Trust and HarperCollins have settled a lawsuit with New Line, which had hobbled the production of New Line's Hobbit films. The suit was over no small matter. The Tolkien estate claimed they were due over $200M from the LoTR films.

Here is the full Variety article on the Hobbit films lawsuit. Here is The Hobbit Movie website. (They have Hobbit bling you can buy, and stuff about the movie, too.)

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Stephen King's Text Message Horror Story

This is one of two posts today involving (U.S.) federal law with fiction-writing sidebars. In this story, Simon & Schuster sent text messages promoting a Stephen King book (Cell). In 2006, a woman who'd signed up for a ring-tone service with promotions for the service received a Stephen King book promotion. She alleged this violated consumer protection laws and sought a class-action suit.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that sending SMS messages potentially violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits companies from using automatic telephone dialing systems to make calls to cell phones unless the owners have consented.

This 2009 ruling reverses a previous one, equating text messages with voice calls. It is not clear from the story what the connection is between the Simon & Schuster text messages and the ring-tone service. It would seem that if the ring-tone service were serving unrelated ads to their customers, it would be the alleged culprit [unsolicited layman's view]. Here is the rest of this Media Post News article.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Internet Archive Opposes Google Settlement

Internet Archive has objected to the Google settlement on orphaned (out-of-copyright) works. They're specifically concerned that Google gets special protection that should be available to other content providers (such as the Internet Archive). In their letter, they are asking the Justice Department of the U.S. to intervene in the court case.

Internet Archive has several logs in the fire. They are best known, perhaps, for the "wayback machine," whereby you can look at the content of websites as they existed in the past. I listen to their newsgroup (a whopping 3 emails/year or so). They're also keenly interested in long-time archival methods of physical and digital content. They worry about digital media standards and physical storage media degradation. (Recently, NASA had to hire some specialists to recover early mission photos from an "ancient" storage tape format, using the only known tape drive of that kind; Internet Archive worries about such things.)

In the present matter, Internet Archive feels they deserve protection equal to that which they believe Google is getting unilaterally. Here is their letter to the Justice Department. They're going the Justice Department intervention route rather than joining a suite because they don't believe their specific interests are served in the present suit.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beware Writer Beware, Again

A lawsuit against the operators of the Writer Beware website hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has been dismissed by the judge in the case. The case was brought by a literary agent ALLEGEDLY noted by Writer Beware.

Writer Beware is a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) which "shines a light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes and pitfalls."

Web visitors should beware, though. The SFWA site was hacked and infected with a trojan. This has been ALLEGEDLY cleaned, but be especially cautious if you have an old or out-of-date browser. (Yes, even you MAC owners.)

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