- The Morning Coffee – 24 January 2014
- Story Surgeon is a New Type of Fair Use, Not Copyright Infringement
- John Biggs’s Crowd-Funded Mytro Book Project Relied on the Oldest Form of Crowd-Funding
- Map: Where in the World are comiXology and Digital Comics Fans?
- Amazon Launches New Christian Publishing Imprint
Posted: 23 Jan 2014 09:30 PM PST
Top stories this Friday morning include a look at how copyright infringement can coincide with popularity (link), why reading superhero comics is like a deal with the devil (link), why you should read books by monsters (link), DRM-free audiobooks (link), and more.
Posted: 23 Jan 2014 01:24 PM PST
There’s a fascinating post over on Writer Beware today which links to a new Kickstarter project and cries copyright infringement. Victoria Strauss, editor of Writer Beware, is concerned by a new app called Story Surgeon.
I would disagree with her interpretation, actually.
According to the description (it’s clearly stated) Story Surgeon is going to give readers the ability to edit an ebook and create a custom version of the ebook. They can then save the changes as a separate file, and then share the edits (the user’s work) online so anyone who owns a copy of the ebook and the Story Surgeon app can recreate the edited version of the ebook. It won’t enable you to share the ebook itself, just your own work.
Arguably that is not copyright infringement any more than taking a pair of scissors to a paper book and then explaining online how to duplicate your efforts.
This is certainly the first time that I have heard about someone trying to develop an app to share the instructions to edit a file, but it’s not the first time that I can recall reading about fans, parents, and other parties re-editing works for one reason or another.
For example, back in 2001 a Star Wars fan edited the commercial release of The Phantom Menace to create The Phantom Edit. This was in the pre-Youtube era, and that movie was probably the first most famous re-edited work which probably inspired many of the custom movie trailers, fan flicks, and other fan generated content found on Youtube today.
There’s also the gamer dad who reprogrammed The Legend of Zelda so his daughter could play Link as a girl. And it was only last month that Slate published an article about a parent rewriting The Hobbit as she read it to her daughter, only in the new version Bilbo is a she:
Do you see what I did there?
I just gave you a couple examples of a positive way for someone to use and share an app like Story Surgeon which might possibly be copyright infringement, but only a cad would argue against them.
And that’s not the only way this app could be used. What if one reader used it to create and insert their own glossary or map index? This could prove useful when reading large fantasy novels like the Game of Thrones, ones where the reader cannot keep track of the hundreds of characters in a dozen locations. What if a teacher created their own annotation file for a Shakespeare play being read in class? Or what if (giggle) Story Surgeon were used to edit Bram Stoker’s Dracula so it resembled Twilight?
None of those uses are infringing, so clearly Chris Meadows was right when he argued that this app has numerous non-infringing uses. Sadly, that’s probably not going to stop someone from complaining and getting the app pulled from Kickstarter, though they might not have to bother.
This funding campaign has only raised $170 of the $15,000 requested, so it’s probably not going to go anywhere.
The post Story Surgeon is a New Type of Fair Use, Not Copyright Infringement appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 23 Jan 2014 10:36 AM PST
Crowd funding websites, be it Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or what have you, are very popular right now and are getting a lot of press. But the idea of crowd-funding is quite old, and as John Biggs has shown us with his soon to be complete Mytro project sometimes the older methods still work better.
Back in early December 2013 John announced that he was writing a book called Mytro, a YA novel about a secret train system that runs under New York City, and was raising funds to he could self-publish it. John has been regularly posting about the Mytro project ever since he launched the funding round, and he was back again today to share details on where the money came from and discuss the effectiveness of his crowd funding efforts.
You might recall that he started the crowd funding for his YA novel on Indiegogo, but that was just the beginning. He reports that contributors found the project via Facebook, Google, and even the Techcrunch website.
Now, you might think that Indiegogo was how most of the contributors discovered the project, but you would be wrong. Most of John’s funds, and most of his contributors for that matter, came from direct mailings. Rather than rely on the flashiest crowd funding tricks, he instead relied on one of the oldest. He’s been sending out mass emails for about a month now, and so far he has raised over half his funds ($9,376) from email alone:
I am one of the people who has been getting those emails, so I was deeply curious to see just how well it worked. I don’t like spam any more than the rest of you, but as you can see from John’s data this can be an effective way to raise funds.
The chart below (click to enlarge) shows the amount of contributions over time. Do you see the 3 huge spikes starting on or about 15 December? Those are from the email blasts, and so are some of the smaller spikes in January.
So do you think this is a choice that indie authors should make?
IMO that would really depend on whether they know enough people. Remember, John’s mailing list came from people who had exchanged emails or who had “submitted their email to my Mailchimp account”. He didn’t go out and buy a mailing list (what I thought when I got the first email), and that is probably why this technique worked.
If you buy a mailing list, chances are the emails will get caught in a spam filter. I can’t speak for any other service, but Gmail is very good at catching unsolicited emails. John’s emails, on the other hand, went into my inbox because of my previous contact with John.
This funding method would probably work best if it matches the interest of your network of contacts. For example, a non-fiction title which focuses on a specific part of a specific industry could be crowd funded if the author knows enough people in that industry. And that’s just one example, I’m sure there are others.
The post John Biggs’s Crowd-Funded Mytro Book Project Relied on the Oldest Form of Crowd-Funding appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 23 Jan 2014 07:50 AM PST
ComiXology reports that they saw great growth in 2013, and as part of showing off how well their international plans are progressing they released the following heat map. This service now offers over 45,000 comics and graphic novels from more than 75 publishers, and that immense catalog is proving to be popular around the world.
ComiXology was the most popular non-game iPad app for 2013, and it is also the top iOS Book App in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, & many more. 51% of comiXology users are outside the US and can be found in countries as diverse China, Brazil, and India.
The post Map: Where in the World are comiXology and Digital Comics Fans? appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 23 Jan 2014 07:12 AM PST
Amazon expanded on their publishing efforts today with the launch of a new imprint. Brilliance Publishing, the audiobook publisher that Amazon acquired in 2007, will take another step into print publishing with the launch of Waterfall Press.
This new imprint will specialize in faith-based non-fiction and fiction in a variety of genres. Waterfall Press non-fiction will aim to provide spiritual refreshment and inspiration to today’s Christian reader, while fiction will include stories in the romance, mystery, and suspense genres.
Three titles have already been scheduled to be released in 2014, including Mark Buchanan’s The Four Best Places to Live, Cherie Hill’s When You Need a Miracle, and The Quiet Revolution by Jay Hein. Waterfall Press also has 3 shorter works scheduled for 2014.
Waterfall Press will be edited by Tammy Faxel under the auspices of Grand Harbor Press. Brilliance launched this publishing division in December 2012, and over the past 13 months it has published numerous self-help and inspirational titles in print, digital and audio formats.
Along with Jet City Comics, Day One (short literary fiction),and StoryFront (short fiction), Waterfall Press is the 4th new publishing imprint launched by Amazon in the past 6 months. It joins sister imprints 47North, AmazonCrossing, AmazonEncore, Amazon Publishing, Grand Harbor Press, Kindle Worlds, Lake Union, Little A, Montlake Romance, Skyscape, Thomas & Mercer, and Two Lions in the Amazon Publishing family.
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