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TeleRead Links: International pricing, knuckle dragging, revising copyright, and more
July 27, 2015 | 3:22 am

When Selling Virtual Products Abroad, Don’t Put Prices On Autopilot (TechCrunch) For our experiment, we selected six different currencies — Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, British pound, Mexican peso, Malaysian ringgit and Saudi riyal. Over six months, we charged various prices for the app in each of the currencies to see how sales and revenue would respond. The TeleRead Take: This article is about a study looking at the effects of setting prices of virtual goods individually by country rather than letting the currency converter translate your USA price into other countries’ currencies. Although the study considered pricing smartphone...

TeleRead Links: Amazonopoly, AlphaSmart, libraries and the Internet, and more
July 26, 2015 | 4:37 am

Why Amazon monopoly accusations deserve a closer look (Fortune) As with other one-time high-tech leaders (IBM, Microsoft, Google) Amazon’s dominant market share suddenly seems too much. In letters to the Justice Department, the authors’ and retailers’ groups claim that Amazon is squeezing publishers, punishing writers, driving bookstores out of business—and violating antitrust laws. They want Justice to investigate. Is there anything to their arguments? The TeleRead Take: Nope! Well, actually, this article is a lot better than the usual “Woe is us! Deliver us from Amazon!” piece. The author is cognizant of his own prejudices, for one thing, and does his best to...

Orphan works copyright law controversy: Don’t panic!
July 20, 2015 | 9:30 am

It seemed important to lead with those two words, in large, friendly headline letters, based on the breathless “everybody panic!” takes that have been spreading around this matter lately. I’ve seen them popping up in my Facebook friends lists, and otherwise sensible people have been taken in—to the point where one of them ended up having to post a retraction after they read a more balanced take on the legislation involved. So let’s look at what’s going on. In June, the Registrar of Copyrights issued a 234-page report (PDF) on the problem of orphan works. Here’s a shorter article...

TeleRead Links: E-books by phone and candle? Apple Siri and music hassles. Streaming vs. ripping.
July 18, 2015 | 2:02 am

candleUSBIndoor candle device is designed to keep phones charged (Phys.org) An emergency generator for your phone at time of power outages? That's an offer in the form of a crowdfunded-campaign item called Candle Charger. It offers USB power when you need it, designed to keep phones souped up when the grid cannot. Two ingredients are involved: a candle and water, together behaving as a little indoor power plant for smartphones, to make sure you stay connected no matter what. The TeleRead Take: It seems too good to be true, but apparently not—Biolite also makes a Peltier-cooler-equipped campstove for device charging in the...

TeleRead Links: Google fights spam but patents obvious AI techniques, ALA and copyright, Paradise Lost, and more
July 14, 2015 | 11:33 am

Gmail is finding smarter ways to keep spam out of your inbox (Mashable) In 2012 Gmail missed 1% of spam messages, according to Google. Now, it only misses 0.1% of spam and only 0.05% of email ends up in the spam folder when it shouldn't, but the company thinks it can improve on those figures. The TeleRead Take: Seriously, who likes spam? I personally double-filter my email stream, running it through SpamAssassin on a Linux box before forwarding it to Gmail. Given that I’ve had the same email address for almost 20 years, it’s on all the spam...

Unauthorized Mass Effect RPG temporarily nominated for three ENnie Awards
July 2, 2015 | 11:37 am

mass-effect-fateHere’s an odd little self-e-publishing story that hits unexpectedly close to home for me—in the literal sense. Over the last few days, ENWorld announced the list of ENnie Award nominees for 2015—the yearly role-playing-game-industry fan-based awards that are given out at Gen Con here in Indianapolis. This list of nominees included the Mass Effect role-playing game in three different categories: Best Electronic Book, Best Free Product, and Product of the Year. Based on BioWare’s landmark sci-fi video game trilogy, Mass Effect was written by long-time RPG-industry veteran Dan Mappin. It used the Open Game Licensed Fate...

Another ‘Permission Culture’ Landmine
June 24, 2015 | 10:25 am

copyrightFrom our friends at Techdirt comes this insane story about yet another copyright landmine we all need to be worrying about falling into: the 'freedom of panorama' principle. As Tim Cushing explains: "Photographing public structures could soon become copyright infringement. At this point, there's no unified "freedom of panorama" across European countries. Some recognize this as a right inherent to citizens. Others feel any photographic reproductions of structures in public spaces are a violation of the creators' rights." Cushing goes on to comprehensively detail the ramifications a potential copyright reform to this law would have, including restricting the use of historical photographs...

Morning Links: Orphan works. Fighting the bad guys. WiFi-powered cameras and Big Brother.
June 5, 2015 | 9:36 am

U.S. Copyright Office Releases Report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization (InfoDocket) The Report documents the legal and business challenges faced by good faith users who seek to use orphan works and/or engage in mass digitization projects. The TeleRead Take: Slow progress on this issue, but still, progress. I think this is an important, and often overlooked topic. -- Five Authors Who Will Inspire You to Fight the System (Book Riot) Activism is exhausting. It’s all very well to say that you’re going to be proactive and fight the power but actually doing it?...

UK Green Party digs itself in deeper over copyright
April 28, 2015 | 2:25 pm

logo@2x  In response to the earlier outcry from writers and other creatives against the UK Green Party's apparent proposal to reduce the duration of copyright to just 14 years - with also some initial ambiguity over whether this was 14 years after the creator's death or 14 years after the work's first appearance - the Greens have released a communique on their party website that only appears to make things worse. The UK Society of Authors said in response to the original furore: Our stance is that copyright needs ‎strengthening, not weakening. Authors and other creators make their livelihood from their intellectual creations and...

UK Green Party copyright limit proposal repels authors, artists
April 27, 2015 | 10:25 am

The UK Green Party, with just two weeks to go to the General Election, appears to have screwed its support with one influential constituency, writers and artists, through an ill-founded and poorly discussed policy proposal on copyright terms. The draft commitment to press for a shorter copyright term of just 14 years - versus the current UK norm of 70 years after the death of the author - apparently caught the entire creative community by surprise, and provoked a backlash when it did break cover. First tweeted by UK author Linda Grant (see the illustration), the Green Party proposal, with "to reduce the...

The Erosion of National Autonomy in Copyright
April 23, 2015 | 1:25 pm

copyrightThe fantastic and informative Michael Geist has a great analysis in today's Morning Links about the latest gambit in the copyright wars: a term extension which will protect sound recordings for an additional 20 years. Geist cites numerous reports done in other countries which suggest the benefit to artists from this extension will be extremely minimal. One report he cites---and a Canadian one, at that---says this: "Adding 20 years of protection would contribute 2.3% to the present value of royalties under a 7% discount rate, assuming that the flow of royalties remains unchanged during the whole period. Under identical assumptions, extending...

Should Copyright Live Forever?
March 25, 2015 | 2:25 pm

cpoyrightWe've probably all seen that little graph which was making the rounds last year, which showed that longer copyright terms---thought to protect authors and make them more money---can actually make authors LESS money by keeping legitimate works out of the marketplace. Techdirt has a fascinating case study up this week which illustrates how this happens. The short version is that a company called Night Dive has made a business out of sourcing obsolete computer games, cleaning them up for modern devices and then releasing them for sale in today's marketplace. This is not a shady operation, though---they do their legwork to...

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