Friday, May 18, 2007

Couldn't Haven't Put it Any Better Myself

"We're not against the technology; we're just against the technology being used to lock up rights."

This is Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, in today's New York Times, talking about the organization's criticism of a new clause in Simon & Schuster's contract with authors. S&S is seeking to void the customary reversion of rights to authors when book sales trickle to near-nothingness. Under the new language, the publisher could hold off on reversion so long as there is still a threshold of traffic in newfangled print-on-demand formats.

I applaud the Authors Guild's position. I also question how it squares with its role in the sellout copyright class action settlement that our slate of objectors has appealed. Like its partners in pusillanimity, the National Writers Union and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Aiken's group specializes in locking the barn door after the horses have escaped.


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