Thursday, June 25, 2020

Defund Writing Associations?

CC by 2.0 Fred Merchan

It has long been apparent that Romance Writers of America struggles with issues of diversity leading to the collapse of the board this February. their past mis-steps included a profound failure to respect of include people based on race as well as GLBTQ+... and even more trivial publishing options like e-publishing or erotic content.

Meanwhile, International Thrillers Writers failed to act after a serious harassment issue at a convention, and "all lives matter" themed BLM statement, and yesterday all of their board members resigned except for the two co-presidents.

Did you also notice that in June the Board president and chair of the Poetry Foundation also stepped down after issuing a vague and non-specific BLM statement? Not only as the usual symbol of contrition but because doing so makes space for better representation on the board.

And later in June a similar set of circumstances saw 63% of the board members of the National Book Critics Circle stepped down.

It is a fairly common observation that as non-profit organizations grow they also become more conservative and less likely to make bold ideological statements or take related actions -- or indeed change very much at all.

The ostensible reason is to represent a broad representation, but this representation tends to focus heavily on the paying membership or industry representatives.  And this group tends to be white, affluent, and urban or suburban.  It tends to be the group currently most financially successful in the profession for prevailing and historical reasons.

But will the processes that created the old Boards, somehow now be able to fill those same seats with fundamentally different people who represent fundamentally different goals?  Because if we dig back into the theory large and increasingly archaic organizations are often unable to reinvent themselves so profoundly.  What happens is that new groups form in new ways and gradually grow up to replace them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

NEW MARKET Belong Books

Belonging Books is seeking romance fiction" submissions of all lengths from and about minorities—people of color, people with disabilities, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, etc."

Founded by Kit Willihnganz, L.S. Quinn, Anna Risher, and Robert Gatewood

See also
[Dec 2019] Belonging Books Prints Inclusive Love Stories

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Red Sofa Literary Agency Self-Destructs

Red Sofa literary agency imploded last night with tweet from the founder causing the immediate withdrawal of agents Amanda Rutter and  Stacey Graham.

Authors have also separated from Frederick as their agent including Andrew DeYoung and Tim Hanley.

Dawn Frederick tweeted that she had called police in response to the looting of a gas station.

Fredericks posted a response on her website. Frederick is the only remaining agent at Red Sofa.

see also

[Jun 1 2020] Foz Meadows

And now

[Jun 10 2020] Frederick is getting lawyers to try and suppress people tweeting or retweeting about what happened
[Jun 22 2020] At least 4 C&Ds have now been sent, Frederick in a hole and still digging

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Cocky Christine Feehan

Just when we thought it was safe to use words again....

A trademark application for the word 'dark' in a book series.

 Because that's totally unique to her series, natch.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Cocky Tamer?

The latest title trademark dispute to hit the news relates to two book series using the term "Tamer".

On one side is MSE Media which has registered a trademark.   A.k.a. author Michael Scott-Earle.

On the other Isaac Hooke and his Monster Tamer series.

On the MSE side:

  • The Hooke series doesn't just happen to use the same term they have very similar tropes such as being harem books where monsters and women are... tamed (cringe).

On the Hooke side

  • MSE has filed trademarks on DRAGON SLAYER and other pretty damn generic terms.
  • It's a commonly used word in the sub-genre. Draco Tamer-David Belwisk, Animus Tamer-DL Runeborn, Goddess Tamer-Neil Bimbeau etc etc et-fucking-cetera.
So in a scale from real trademark infringement (1) to Cockygate shenanigans (10) I would call this a sold 9.5

When is an Agent not an Agent: TV Writers and Conflicts of Interest

A dispute between TV Writers an Agents has blown up recently over a familiar sounding problem.  Specifically, that when agents are also TV producers they stop representing only the interests of the writer.  Agents that are also publishers should take note.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Article 13

Europe has now passed a copyright bill that includes the controversial Article 13.  As someone who wanders widely on the internet, I see some communities celebrating this as a much-needed defense against privacy, and others as the decriminalization of memes and fan-fics.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and largely unclear at this point.  This article uses some pretty vague language to say that online media platforms must make efforts to prevent unauthorized sharing of copyrighted works.  That is, they can't just ignore the problem and maybe respond to take-down notices when they feel like it.

This is likely to narrow the current zones-of-tolerance for some less transformative types of fan-sharing and fan-works--and mistakes are bound to be made.  The main methods of achieving compliance will be automated processes and false positives will abound.  But requiring any kind of less-error-prone manual assessment would quickly make content sharing platforms slower or more expensive to access.

Essentially this bill represents battle that large rights-owners (such as music organizations) have won over large content-sharing platforms (like Google and YouTube).  It was never really about small scale producers or users and the outcomes for us are bound to be mixed as blunt instruments are employed by both sides. 

I just hope that everyone can now start to have a more nuanced conversation about the difference between acts of exploitation like plagiarism and piracy, and acts of fan engagement like live-streaming video-game play and creating fan-works.