30 October 2006

Devil's Night

There's more than a bit of devilishness in the news today. (And in me, of course.)

  • Pearson, the parent of Penguin, is reporting record nine-month results, and is allegedly on course for a record year. The credulous might note that Penguin (or, at least, Pearson) authors have nabbed two major UK-based prizes this year, resulting in some increase in sales (less than one would think, though). The sardonic might note that it's easier to report record results when one squeezes one's suppliers (authors) in the contract terms... and then shift foreign-rights income into a subsequent reporting period so one can hold onto the money for an additional six months. The pessimistic might note that a significant element of the gain—at least, it's significant enough for Pearson's press releases to highlight it—comes from increased advertising revenue at the Financial Times, and wonder when that bubble will burst.
  • It appears that term-paper mills—or, at least, one of the most prominent ones—are drawing undesired attention. From lawyers. One of the bigger ones (that operates through at least six different website names) has been sued for copyright infringement... via a class action complaint in the Southern District of Illinois (that's right, it includes Madison County). One interesting aspect of using a class action is that a winning plaintiff is automatically entitled to attorney's fees, even if the judge might want to deny them based on the particulars of the case under the copyright law fee-shifting rubric. Class certification should be a slam-dunk, based both on the law of the Seventh Circuit and the facts (hint: I've had several previous contacts).
  • Sharing term papers appears to be slightly less perilous than sharing audiovisual media files, though. The former just involves money; the latter may involve a felony conviction. This is an excellent example of why relying on technology to protect one's privacy is not the smartest thing one can do, whether that privacy concerns unlawful acts or mere embarrassment.
  • The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band is releasing its first new album in over two decades tomorrow. I won't be lined up to grab it, but it looks more interesting than one might expect from half a band, both of the surviving members of which are eligible for Social Security. It's perhaps a departure from the sound one would have expected after Who's Next and Who Are You, but I suppose that's to be expected.

I'd offer to send a Devil's Night greeting card, but then you'd need to know the film from which I drew that line.