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Kristine Kathryn Rusch, John Sargent: Major publishers learning, trying new things with e-books
December 18, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Here are an interesting juxtaposition of posts that just came to light today. In the first, Kristine Kathryn Rusch at last returns to blogging about the publishing industry with an end-of-year post that is both interesting and scary. Last year, I wrote an open letter asking the Big Five publishers if they’d learned anything from the Apple verdict. In her new blog post, Rusch suggests that they have, and it might not be good news for the authors who sign with them. Touching once more on the sales problems inherent in publishers no longer being able to schedule book...

Appeals court judges ask probing questions in Apple e-book anti-trial case
December 16, 2014 | 7:56 pm

Yesterday, the appeals court heard testimony from Apple and the Department of Justice relating to the e-book anti-trust trial appeal. To my surprise, two of the three judges seemed amenable toward Apple’s point of view. They expressed concern over why the publisher collusion was such a bad thing when it was for the sake of stopping monopolist Amazon, and hinted that Judge Cote might have erred when she ruled that Apple’s behavior constituted a pro se anti-trust violation—a violation so obvious that it doesn’t need the “rule of reason” test applied to it. Apple attorney Theodore Boutros asked for...

Apple music DRM case wraps up with final witness
December 14, 2014 | 11:07 am

The Apple iTunes DRM case proceeds apace. After finding a replacement plaintiff to supplant those who were found not to have bought iPods during the required time period, the case moved forward, hearing reluctant testimony from a former iTunes engineer who worked on blocking the interoperability of competitors’ music DRM with iPods. (The engineer basically rehashed the same arguments Apple’s made all along: Apple had to lock out competitors because the music labels demanded it.) This was the case’s last witness; it will go to jury deliberations next week. As I’ve said before, this case could potentially have profound...

Judge Cote rules DRM removal for fair use is not copyright infringement
December 10, 2014 | 8:52 pm

The Apple anti-trust case continues to have some interesting fallout. The EFF today issued a press release concerning Judge Denise Cote last month dismissing some charges in a related case, trumpeting that Cote had ruled that stripping DRM for fair use purposes is legal. I’ve read the 20-page opinion, and I’m not so sure. Here’s what I know. The case pertains to Abbey House, the operator of the “BooksOnBoard” e-book store. In March, 2014, Abbey House (and two other defunct e-book store operators) filed suit against Apple and the Agency Five alleging that their implementation of agency pricing...

Apple iPod DRM case heats up, but might still fizzle
December 7, 2014 | 12:37 pm

The wheels of justice grind slowly, and sometimes a bit of grit gets stuck in the gears. This seems to be the case with the ten-year-old lawsuit against Apple over the DRM policies it used to enforce on iTunes Music Store music and iPods. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s started moving again, and the testimony and depositions have been interesting to follow. But now it looks as though, just as it’s getting started again, it may come to a complete halt. Locking Out Competitors At heart, the case has to do with the way Apple continually...

Magazine publishers unhappy with Apple Newsstand
October 16, 2014 | 10:01 pm

newsstandDigital magazines for tablets have long had a number of problems, not the least of which being that it’s considerably easier for people to make their own “magazines” via RSS readers or other content aggregators such as Flipboard. But Digiday reports that magazine publishers are finding Apple’s Newsstand app problematic in new ways as well. In iOS 7, Apple changed the way Newsstand worked so users were no longer notified if there was a new issue of their magazine available. It doesn’t let users put shortcuts to their magazines on their home screens either. Its ability to download issues...

iOS 8 initial impressions
October 10, 2014 | 10:28 am

ios 8I've been using iOS 8 for several weeks now, long enough to get an impression. My overall reaction is that it's a perfectly good operating system, but it's not revolutionary. Also, many of the more interesting features (responding to messages from the lock screen) are more useful on the iPhone. So keep in mind that I'm only using it on an iPad. If you remember the upgrade to iOS 7, it was a huge change. Everything looked different. Not so with iOS 8. Upgrading looks virtually the same until you start to dig in and start to turn things on. I...

Remember all that anti-Amazon tax snark? Your turn, Apple
October 1, 2014 | 12:17 pm

PenguinAmazon-haters who used the media/retail giant's European tax policies as a stick to beat it with may soon be looking for a new theme: at least if they want to continue to cast Amazon as the sole villain in the piece. Because the European Commission has issued a letter asserting that the Irish state gave tax-related state aid to Apple to support its operations there, in contravention of European Union law. According to reports in the BBC and elsewhere, Apple is enjoying a 2 percent tax rate on many of its European activities by declaring them through its Irish subsidiary. According...

Looking back at Michael Bromwich’s report on Apple antitrust compliance
September 20, 2014 | 5:19 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve had much to say about the Apple antitrust suit. I’ve been a bit busy to write much for TeleRead in general, what with my new day job and things. Nate on The Digital Reader has some good coverage of the main points of interest: Apple Agrees to Pay $450 Million in eBook Antitrust Lawsuit Judge Okays Apple’s $450 Million eBook Antitrust Settlement Amazon Sends Out Email Concerning Apple’s Antitrust Settlement There’s also a new, related case in which three defunct e-book stores...

PACER to restore ten years of deleted records; is still obnoxiously expensive
September 20, 2014 | 9:37 am

pacerLogoI thought I’d mentioned this at the time it happened, but I apparently didn’t. Last month, the court records database PACER deleted ten years’ worth of electronic federal court documents in the course of a hardware update. This sparked an immediate backlash from lawmakers. Now Ars Technica reports that the US government Administrative Office of the Courts will return most of those files to the database by the end of October. It’s nice that they’re doing the right thing, but the shortcomings of the PACER system are aggravating. The system charges ten cents per downloaded page, including for lists...

Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Apple Watch shows Cupertino has lost the plot
September 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

AppleFor anyone following the checkered history of digital wearables and smartwatches, the advent of the Apple Watch drips with bathos. It's like watching a flabby, ageing Mr. Incredible-style former superhero lumber up for the big confrontation, only to discover it's all over. Apple's days of identifying and defining entire new consumer product categories are long in the past. The window was wide open for years, well signposted, speculated on - and Apple missed it. Financial markets and analysts alike were less than overwhelmed by the Apple Watch and the companion iPhone 6. The Register tracked Apple's stock price initially hiking to $102.92...