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weekly round up july 27 2018 - the authors guild

Our round-up of key news affecting authors. In this week’s edition: Outcry over call for Amazon to replace libraries, Ta-Nehisi Coates is leaving The Atlantic, and more…

Behold This Disastrously Bad Op-Ed Calling for Amazon to Replace Libraries
Should we replace local libraries with Amazon stores to save on taxes? Definitely not. However, this was the argument put forth by an economics professor from Long Island in Forbes earlier this week. Understandably, the fallout from the article was so bad that Forbes removed it from its site—but not before it prompted a massive public outcry.

Copyright Office Rejects Larabar Packaging Copyright Registration Application
Above the Law
General Mills attempted to register a copyright in its Larabar logo. The Copyright Office rejected it on appeal for lack of sufficient originality. Under U.S. copyright law, a work must have a minimal amount of originality to be copyrightable, which excludes mundane or common elements and single words or short phrases. The Copyright Office determined that the logo’s bold letters against a red background encased in a rectangle did not meet the requisite level of originality.

NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute Wraps Its 40th Year
Publishers Weekly
The publishing institute offers extensive beginner training to people looking for more knowledge about the publishing sector. Highlighting the event, the institute invites back many of its prestigious alumni to give talks and lead workshops, including Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch and HarperCollins sales president Josh Marwell. Earlier this summer, Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger spoke at the New School’s similar Publishing Institute.

First House Republican Moves to Restore Net Neutrality
American Library Association
Net neutrality is the idea that internet providers should not have the ability to curtail your internet results based on willingness to pay. This idea came under fire this past year and the FCC’s net neutrality regulations were repealed. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) is the first Republican to sign on to a request for House leadership to hold a vote on the Congressional Review Act to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality rules. Could this be the beginnings of bipartisan support for the new bill?

StatShot Annual Publisher Survey Puts 2017 Estimated U.S. Revenue at $26.2 Billion
Publishing Perspectives
The largest yearly U.S. publishing survey shows that publishers’ revenues have been essentially flat in the past five years. Audiobooks, adult nonfiction, and children’s/YA were the only areas of clear growth. Particularly interesting, though, is that publishers’ sales to physical retailers were equal to their sales to online retailers.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Is Leaving The Atlantic
Washington Post
Coates is leaving The Atlantic and his decision stems in part from his public prominence at The Atlantic and the ties between him and the publication. “I became the public face of the magazine in many ways and I don’t really want to be that. I want to be a writer,” he said.

From Literacy to Diversity, Ideas Bloom at Romance Writers Conference
The Denver Post
“The conference brings together a combined 2,000 romance authors, agents and publishers for panel discussions, networking and a love of the craft. This year’s theme: Rethink. Revitalize. Renew.”

Google and Facebook are strangling the free press to death. Democracy is the loser
The Guardian
Open Markets Barry Lynn talks about the dangers of allowing Facebook and Google to remain gatekeepers of the news. “Thus far, regulators in Europe and the United States have entirely failed to apply such traditional anti-monopoly rules to Google and Facebook. This has left them free both to strip ad revenue from trustworthy publishers and to steer readers to and from publications almost at will.”