Fine print to plain english: things to look out for as a Kindle World author

Photo Courtsey of  Jemimus Attribution 2.0 Generic

With books like Fifty Shades of Grey flying off the shelves, the question of the commercialization of fan fiction is once again at the forefront. While fan fic authors have been steadfastly devoted to their art since before the Internet, emerging technologies have brought about new scrutiny to what this community really means for traditional media giants and who, if anyone, should be able to profit from fan fiction.

About a year ago, Jeff Bezos decided to set aside some digital real estate just for the fan fic community. Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is an e-book publishing platform for fan fiction, and works like this: Amazon partners with copyright owners, like Alloy Entertainment, who license to Amazon its fan fiction publication rights. These licensors are known as “World Licensors,” and by licensing their “World,” fans can create and profit off of their fan fiction through a royalty system.

Among the first “Worlds” that made up this new universe were CW’s Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars. Kindle Worlds has since added G.I. Joe, Veronica Mars, and seventeen other Worlds. The question is, why would readers buy works from Amazon when there is an endless supply of free fan fic from other Internet sites? Fanfiction.net, for one, is the world’s largest fan fiction archive and forum where writers and readers come together to do just this.  The recently launched Archive of Our Own (created by the Organization for Transformative Works) is another space online where fans have come together to share their  fan faction and other original fan works in a non-commercial space.

The difference of utilizing the Kindle Worlds platform has been boiled down to three main points: (1) monetization for authors (each e-book costs between $0.99 to $3.99, but this is set by Amazon); (2) does not require constant Internet connectivity; and (3) a minimal level of quality that Amazon ensures by having final say on what will be made available. See Kindle Worlds Publishing Agreement Section 7(c).

On that note, we’re going to get real with the Kindle Worlds Publishing Agreement. Here’s what we found to be important to keep in mind if you are, or are considering to become, a Kindle Worlds author.

New Media Rights #Oneof1000 Celebration

Are you #Oneof1000?

New Media Rights was founded on the idea that legal services provided for the good of the public should take into account not only the financial need of a client, but the social good generated by the client’s activities.  As part of that mission New Media Rights provides direct legal services that help hundreds of people every year. Earlier this summer we passed the 1000 mark, that is to say we’ve provided direct legal services in over a thousand matters since 2010! And we think a little celebration is in order!

In order to celebrate we’ve got two big things planned. 1) A campaign we’re launching to get the word out about just how many people we’ve helped and grow our supporter base, and 2) a celebration we’re inviting you to August 21st at our new headquarters.  You can get tickets to the event here.

New Media Rights @ VidCon 2014!

New Media Rights is excited to announce that we’ll be returning to VidCon 2014, THE conference for YouTubers. VidCon will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center June 26-28. And this year you’ll have a chance for a double dose of NMR copyright YouTube goodness!

If you’re attending the industry track, catch Executive Director Art Neill on the “Copyright on YouTube?” panel at 3pm Thursday in room 213.  In addition to Art, the panel will feature in house council from innovative companies like Corridor Digital and Loudr.

If you’re attending on the community track, you'll also have a chance to catch an awesome panel on copyright entitled appropriately enough “Copyright on YouTube” at 11am on Friday in room 202. Jon Bailey, the voice of Honest Movie Trailers will moderate the panel which will focus on the practicalities of copyright on YouTube.

So if you’re at VidCon, please stop by and check out these amazing panels!

Executive Director Art Neill to speak on user-generated and "fan" content at Copyright Society of the USA's Annual Meeting

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill will be speaking on a panel Monday June 8 regarding user-generated content and fan productions at the Copyright Society of the USA's 2014 Annual Meeting.

FYI: US Copyright Office registration fees have increased

As of May 1, 2014, the US Copyright Office has updated its fee schedule resulting in increased fees across most of its services. The following are three of the most relevant changes:

  • Fees for online applications are now $55, up from $35.
  • Fees for paper applications are now $85, up from $65.
  • The price of determining if some works are in the public domain is now $200 an hour, up from $165 an hour.

However, not all online registration fees are going up. If you have a single work to register (like a book) that was not a work made for hire, the registration fee will remain $35! A complete list of the new fees can be found here.

It's your turn to tell the FCC how to protect and promote the Open Internet

On Thursday, May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a 4 month rulemaking asking for "public comment on how best to protect and promote an open Internet." For months, regulators, consumer advocates, and service providers have wrestled over what the next steps should be after a court decision that threw out the FCC's previous open internet rules, adopted in 2010.

Now its your turn to share your ideas with the FCC. How we can promote and protect the Internet as a vital resource for years to come?

New Media Rights develops public interest principles to improve the efficiency of the DMCA notice and takedown system

In November of 2013, New Media Rights responded to the Department of Commerce’s inquiry regarding the formation of a multistakeholder process to create a set of best practices for the DMCA notice and takedown process. That multistakeholder process has begun and New Media Rights wants to ensure that the voices of independent creators, small user generated content sites, internet users and remixers are represented.

As a first step, New Media Rights joined with a coalition of public interest groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Knowledge and The American Library Association, to submit a set of principles for improving the efficiency of the notice and takedown system. These principals will not only make the process more efficient for all stakeholders but also make sure that creativity and free speech are not unnecessarily chilled. 

New Media Rights joins Electronic Frontier Foundation in urging reconsideration of dangerous Garcia v Google copyright ruling

New Media Rights has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an Amicus Brief urging a federal appeals court to reconsider it's decision to order Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video in Garcia v Google.

Most of our work at New Media Rights is preventative and transactional, focused on helping people avoid legal problems and lengthy court battles before they begin. In this case, however, we've joined in filing this Amicus Brief because the recent decision, if not reconsidered, will have negative consequences for free speech that will directly affect the creators and innovators we assist.

As it stands, the court's decision threatens to create sprawling, poorly defined copyright protection in a variety of creative contributors, altering the way that copyright law protects contributions to film and video productions.

Fortress of Attitude defeats false bots takedown on YouTube

In January 2013, we brought you the story of Fortress of Attitude who had their song “PS Gay Car” removed after it was misflagged for violating “TOU #4 Section H”, that is using Bots or other automated means to inflate a YouTube video’s view count. The good news is that video and its view have been fully restored only four months after the last appeal to YouTube! Granted we’re not sure which of our many appeals resulted in the video being restored since Fortress of Attitude never received any notice from YouTube that the video had been restored.

The bad news is that this is the only successful appeal we’ve seen in over a year of covering this issue. And even worse, despite the February 14th blog post from YouTube that seemed to indicate YouTube would start adjusting view counts of videos accused of bots inflation instead of removing videos; we’ve seen a recent influx of unsuccessfully appealed wrongful bots takedowns.

As much as we want to celebrate Fortress of Attitude’s victory, the reality is the bots problem on YouTube is still very real.

April Newsletter: NMR victories for consumer transparency and broadband access for students at the FCC!

Spring started with a bang here at New Media Rights. At the FCC our work set the stage for making consumer complaint data more accessible and ensuring that more students across the United States have high speed internet access then ever before at schools and libraries. We brought the fight against content bullying to South by South West Interactive. All the while helping creators, entrepreneurs and internet users with complicated legal questions. While we catch our breath, here's some details on what we've been up to.

We shaped and passed an FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on improving broadband access in U.S. schools and libraries

On Friday, March 28, the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to modernize and improve the way we bring high-speed broadband to classrooms and libraries around the county.  New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Interns Marko Radisavljevic and Kyle Welch were directly involved in the research, drafting, and proposal of this recommendation. The other co-chair of the Broadband Working Group is Mia Martinez of the National Asian American Coalition, pictured below with Art Neill and her NAAC colleague Ruriko Sato on March 28 after passage of the E-rate recommendation.



New Media Rights conducted an extensive review of the FCC’s E-rate program, including analyzing a vast amount of input on the program from a variety of stakeholders. Based on this research, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped lead the efforts to draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to modernize and improve the 18 year old E-rate program for the 21st century.  The recommendations include both general priorities as well as specific process priorities that will improve the E-rate program. 

You can learn more about our work on E-rate here.

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