Tag: lawsuit

Publishers Use Lawsuit to Pick a Fight with Audible!

In August, we reported that seven U.S. publishers had filed a lawsuits against Audible, claiming the popular audiobook platform’s new captions program violates copyright law.

Audible Captions scrolls a few words of AI-generated transcription to accompany an audiobook’s narration. In effect, Captions users would have access to the audiobook’s text in a roundabout way without having to purchase a copy of the e-book. However, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New York “didn’t give permission to publish a text version of their titles to Audible, noting that the text rights require a separate agreement.”

 

Image via the wall street journal

 

The rapidly changing digital publishing landscape has often presented a challenge to book publishers, as it seems the definition of what a book even is must change in the world of e-books and audiobooks.

 

Maria Pallante, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers

Image Via Alchectron

 

Maria Pallante, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, commented on the case:

What’s at stake is the viability of the publishing industry and the ability to rely on copyright law.

Audible has denied the new feature on their app violates any rights or agreements. In a a statement on August 23rd the company said that:

Captions was developed because we, like so many leading educators and parents, want to help kids who are not reading engage more through listening…This feature would allow such listeners to follow along with a few lines of machine-generated text as they listen to the audio performance. It is not and was never intended to be a book.

 

 

Since the captions would be machine-generated and not transcribed and edited, Audible admitted “up to 6%” of the text may have errors. In the lawsuit, publishers argued The Captions program would then harm their reputations as “as trusted and valued stewards of their authors’ works.”

The program was set to begin as early as September 10th, though this lawsuit will definitely complicate the release. Thankfully, Audible can still launch for works for which there is no permissions issue, such as public domain works and Audible or Amazon published titles.

 

Audible App

Image Via Author’s Guild

 

Audible is facing a fierce legal battle against a cohort of publishing giants. The plaintiffs in the case include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Chronicle Books, and Scholastic Corp. It’s difficult to tell what the outcome of the case will be this early on. But it’s definitely going to be an important event for the future of publishing.

 

 

 

Featured Image Thanks To Mary Scibilia 

‘It: Chapter 2’ Might Be In Some Big Trouble…

With the second trailer debuting last week to a great reception , it would seem that things couldn’t get any better for the sequel to the second adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, but you know what they say: what goes up must come down.

 

Stephen King's 'It'
Image Via Amazon
 

Alas, this is only the second time Stephen King’s gigantic book has been adapted. Previously, the book was adapted in a two-part miniseries that debuted on television screen in 1990.

 

1990's It
Image Via IMDB
 

This version, infamous for staring Tim Curry and a young Seth Green, became synonymous with the novel until the new film  came out in 2017. However, Frank Konigsbergand Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they had acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. Konigsberg and Saitsky developed the miniseries from beginning to the end of pre-production, only leaving after Telepictures merged with Lorimar. Despite the merger, they retained company credit on the miniseries.

Konigsberg died in 2016 at the age of eighty-three, but Sanitsky, sixty-seven, is still alive. He might not be doing so well, however, since he is suing Warner Brothers.

As per Variety, Sanitsky is claiming the studio breached his contract by making the film adaptations, IT and IT: Chapter Two, without him.

The suite alleges two things. 1) Warner Brothers never consulted Sanitsky or Konigsberg about either film, and 2)  Warner Brothers stopped forking over profit statements for the miniseries back in 1995.

For the record, Warner Brothers issued its first participation statement since then in March, saying they owed the two $1 million. Santisky says that number is significantly understated, given that they are entitled to 10% of net profits of any remake, which the suit alleges would tally up to tens of millions of dollars.

 

2017's Pennywise

Image Via Pride

For the record, It was met with widespread critical and audience acclaim, boasting a a critical census of 85% with an average rating of 7.24 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes, and was a massive commercial success with a worldwide gross of $700 million.

While IT: Chapter 2 has yet to make it to theaters, it’s expected to make a ton of money once its release in September. Sanitsky intends to get paid or take Warner Bros. to court, through his and Konigsberg’s partnership’s corporate entities. They are represented by Dale Kinsella of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump and Aldisert.

In the meanwhile, Sanitsky now working on a film adaptation of Stephen King’s Tommyknockers, which he and Kongisberg also produced a TV adaptation of. As for Pennywise…

 

Pennywise dancing

Image Via Giphy

…he will dance his way into theaters this September 6th .

 

Watch the trailer below!

 

Featured Image Via The Wrap

Author Dropped by Publisher Over Tweet Sues for $13 Million!

Remember Natasha Tynes, the author who shamed a a Metro Worker on Twitter and subsequently lost a book deal? Well, now she’s suing her ex-publisher for $13 million!

 

Natasha Tynes

Image Via NewsFeeds

For those who don’t remember, Natasha was riding the red line of the Washington, D.C. Metro when she saw an MTA employee eating her lunch on the train.

 

 

Yes, the rules state you shouldn’t do that, but people get hungry. Do you ride the train to work? The bus? Ever get hungry and eating something, like a cracker? Or do you, like me, take a sip of water?

Then you’re breaking the rules and, normally, nobody cares!

But Natasha Tynes did. She cared so much she snapped a picture of the woman’s face and posted about the incident on Twitter in a now deleted-Tweet.

 

The tweet in question

Image Via BBC

A separate account for the Metro service promptly responded:

 

Nnatasha Tynes' Metro Response

Image Via BET.com

Tynes couldn’t have foreseen the wrath with which her tweet would be met. People did not take kindly to what they perceived as a minority writer threaten the livelihood of another woman of color.

Deleted Tweet defending Tynes

Tynes was quick to delete her tweet, but the damage was done. According to the Huffington Post, “Los Angeles publisher Rare Bird Books canceled plans to distribute Tynes’ upcoming novel, They Called Me Wyatt, which was already being preordered” before going on to “[urge] its California Coldblood imprint ― a brand that operates under Rare Bird ― to do the same.”

California Coldblood announced this via Twitter:

Not the best look for Tynes.

Tynes is now suing Rare Bird Books for breach of contract citing, available here. The lawsuit accuses Rare Bird Books of having “sabotaged” her book in addition to defaming her.

The suit notes that Tynes not only reached out to the transit authority on Twitter to ask that the employee not be disciplined, but also contacted Rare Bird executive Robert Jason Peterson with the excuse that, since she was raised in Jordan, she didn’t think of the racial implications of humiliating a black woman on Twitter. According to this lawsuit, Peterson told Tynes, “You’ll get through this, we’ve got your back.”

Rare Birds Books

Image Via Deadline

You can read Rare Bird Books’ response to the enormous lawsuit here.

For context, the fact Tynes called Metro didn’t matter in the slightest. Two days before the incident Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik sent an email ordering transit officers to “cease and desist from issuing criminal citations in the District of Columbia for fare evasion; eating; drinking; spitting, and playing musical instruments without headphones until further advised.

So this whole thing is happening because Tynes thought someone was breaking the rules when, in fact, she wasn’t. Some advice, if you want to complain about someone, don’t do it on Twitter.

 

 

Featured Image Via BuzzFeed

Rare bird books logo

Publisher Responds to Dropped Author’s $13 Million Lawsuit

After igniting a scandal all her own, Natasha Tynes’ publisher, Rare Bird Books, decided to no longer distribute her latest book They Called Me Wyatt, which was set to release under one of the publisher’s imprints this year.

What was the scandal all about? Well, on her morning commute, Tynes snapped a picture of a mass transit employee having her breakfast on the train and proceeded to use that photo to call out that employee on social media:

When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was, ‘worry about yourself.’

IMAGES VIA TWITTER

Tynes has since deleted the tweet, but you can’t erase anything from the internet once it is out there. Screenshots of her tweet are still making the rounds, which isn’t surprising considering she was attacking an African American woman on the DC transit. This was the issue the publisher had its qualms with stating “Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them.”

Now after publicly shaming this employee, making herself and her publisher look bad, she is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million. Rare Bird Books’ attorney, David S. Eisen, has responded on behalf of the company, pointing out that “the complaint filed by Natasha Tynes is baseless for a host of reasons.” The publisher is in no way responsible for her actions, nor did they take any part in defaming Tynes. But can you blame the publisher for not wanting to be associated with her?

The publisher notes that while Natasha Tynes is seeking to be paid for damages, her book only had fifty copies preordered, while about only 100 were set to printed and distributed. They add that the book was not well received through early reviews.

Featured Image Via Bookmate

400 Million Copy Bestseller Nora Roberts Sues for Plagiarism

One of the world’s bestselling authors, romance novelist Nora Roberts is suing Brazillian author Cristiane Serruya for plagiarism, seeking up to $25,000 in damages.

 

Related image

Left: Nora Roberts, Right: Cristiane Serruya | Image via Jornal O Global

 

 

According to a US News article, the lawsuit began on April 24th and Robert’s allegations were reported Rio De Janiero’s morning papers. Roberts’ case calls Serruya’s romance novels “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the [Roberts’] books.”

Roberts also stated:

“If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.”

 

Nora Roberts wants to turn the situation around by donating any proceeds to Brazilian Literary organizations. Hopefully that will help spread more original writing and creativity.

On the subject of plagiarism, Roberts made a post on her blog entitled Not A Rant, But A Promise. This post revealed extensive research Roberts has done on the organized system of plagiarized books. We may not see it, but it happens on a “professional” level every day, with teams put together to hire cheap ghost writers and even tutors to teach writers how to scam the system.

If Serruya is proven guilty, her lawyer Saulo Daniel Lopez says that “[she] could be forced to pay from the proceeds of her books”. Cristiane Serruya has defended herself against Roberts’ allegations, stating that she is using software to analyze her books. She stated:

 

My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts.

 

Unfortunately for Serruya, she already has an alleged reputation as a plagiarist. According to US News:

 

Serruya has faced allegations from several other writers and even inspired the Twitter hashtag #CopyPasteCris. In February, author Courtney Milan titled a blog posting “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot,” and cited numerous passages from Serruya’s “Royal Love” that closely resembled Milan’s “The Duchess War.”

 

So far things do not look like they are in Serruya’s favor, but in the end, if Roberts wins, hopefully the money is put to good use.

 

Featured Image via CBS