Bad books blocked and contracts queried
THE PUBLISHERS' Association has obtained an order in the High Court requiring internet service providers BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE to block access to seven sites that offer unauthorised copies of ebooks. These purport to hold around 10,000,000 ebook titles and have been making substantial sums of money, primarily through referral fees and advertising. None of this money has been going back to either the publishers or the authors of the works. See the Society of Authors' report at bit.ly/BadBooksBlocked
Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Commission on 11 June launched an inquiry into "certain business practices by Amazon in the distribution of electronic books". It says this is particularly to do with clauses that "require publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon's competitors and/or offer Amazon similar terms and conditions than to its competitors, or through other means ensure that Amazon is offered terms at least as good as those for its competitors." This "may make it more difficult for other e-book distributors to compete with Amazon".
And, though perhaps few Freelance readers are directly affected by the working conditions of artistes with 24 platinum discs to display in the toilet (for just 5 titles)... it may be of significance for the future of online creativity that one Taylor Swift forced the Apple corporation to backtrack on a plan to force musicians to give work away for three months to promote, er, Apple's new online music venture. The corporation announced on 22 June that it would pay for downloads from day one of the service: which incidentally received rather a lot of publicity.