- Jason McClure of law.com asks Does DOJ care about antitrust any more? Of course, this assumes that the DOJ ever cared during this administration (or the preceding three, for that matter). If it had, perhaps the PGW fiasco might not have the impact on publishing. It's not that much of a problem when two midsized publishers plan to merge, but the artificially broad market definitions imposed to evade antitrust scrutiny result in monstrosities like the pending merger among RIAA behemoths. We have to rely on the Europeans to show some sense... and that's not a good thing.
- Somewhat more amusingly, eBay is back in court in France for unauthorized merchandise. Last time, it was Nazi memorabilia (it's illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in France at the same time as Le Pen's nutcases are resurgent). This time, it's counterfeit Louis Vuitton stuff. This is actually an interesting issue for civil procedure geeks like me; as the case has been described, any judgment obtained in the French courts will not be entitled to respect in any US court, which is going to make things very interesting. Of course, I have no respect for the underlying dispute, or at least the items at issue in the underlying dispute, so maybe I'm just a bit too jaundiced.
- Sly, cunning, and bearing considerable watching. There has been an unfortunate anticompetitive (are you listening, DOJ?) trend in US publishing to delegate the slush piles to agents. That leads to nonsense like the unlamented Sobol "contest" as a means to evade the strictures. And all it takes is a multimedia conglomerate to make this even more disturbing. Miss Snark is not impressed; Writer Beware is guardedly noncommital; and I'm irritated, because this is a classic example of why allowing the agents to manage publishers' slush piles is anticompetitive. The key is this: There appears to be no chance for the prospective authors to negotiate anything about their contracts, should they "win."
- Then there's the question of what happens when a novel makes it to Hollywood. The negotiation process is bad enough; when one tells the studio "no, you can't take the copyright in the underlying novel," the studio has a tendency to try to slip in another clause elsewhere in the option to do so. (I've seen this happen five times... in one negotiation.) Those who love sausages, novels, or films should probably not watch them being made. At least there's USDA oversight for the sausage-makers...
- Of course, the fun isn't over when there's a script on the table. There are still other issues to resolve. Peter Jackson went on a little trip to make King Kong. When he had been there and came back again, he found Otho Sackville-Baggins occupying his home. And Lobelia has already made off with the silverware...
- Last for today, there's an effort underway to pardon the last witch convicted in England. And we're not talking about the seventeenth century, either it was 1944.
13 January 2007
at 06:43 [UTC8]
Yet more short items with little discernable connection between them...