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Industry News: DOJ suit could reduce DRM software, Wiley fights back against piracy, no Pulitzer fiction award angers many

April 21, 2012

DOJ suit against publishers could reduce Digital Right Management (DRM) software

Digital Rights Management (DRM) software is what prevents you from throwing a copy of your favorite book on a server someplace and letting everyone download it for free. Depending on your viewpoint, it’s an unnecessary and stupid intrusion borne of greed, or it’s all that stands between authors and authors who don’t get paid. This BusinessWeek article suggests that the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Apple and two of the big six publishers could result in selective weakening of DRM. Without the DRM software, it would be easier for you to buy a book for Kindle and transform it for use on your Nook. And if publishers are too nervous with Amazon’s market share, they could enforce DRM for Kindle versions, but not for others. From my perspective, the article was really about the fight against Amazon and the reduction of DRM was, at best, speculation.

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, Wiley asks for piracy trials

For Dummies publisher John Wiley & Sons is pushing for a jury trial of those accused of illegally sharing its e-books using bittorrent technology. Wiley says that one book, Photoshop CS5 All-in-One for Dummies was downloaded illegally more than 74000 times. At approximately $45 per copy, that’s more than $3.3 million in revenue from a single book (assuming people would had otherwise purchased one copy for each pirated copy). Copyright law allows a penalty of between $750 and $150,000 per instance of piracy, and Wiley has indicated an intent to pursue the lowest number. However, after negative publicity, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have stopped pursuing individuals who pirate their property and have started working to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to police the activity.

No Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year; lots of people peeved

After the supposed snub of fiction by the Pulitzer Prize board for the first time in 35 years, some members of the publishing community are speaking out. Publishers Weekly ran its list of books that could have been chosen. Huffington Post is choosing its Huffitzer Prizes. Some publishers created their own prizes. According to the judges, that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of quality in the fiction world. Susan Larson, one of the judges who selected the three books sent to the Pulitzer Board said the judges were “shocked…angry…very disappointed.” The three books sent to the board were Swamplandia by Karen Russell, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace.

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