Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 21 Sep 00 18:24
Wendy, that was back in the dark ages. I stopped being a journalist in 1987.
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Thu 21 Sep 00 23:23
<scribbled by fsquared Fri 22 Sep 00 14:51>
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Fri 22 Sep 00 14:53
Just a reminder to everyone reading along on the Web: if you have comments or questions, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the hosts will post them for you! In the next 2 posts, I'm going to hide some information about lawsuits currently underway. Picospan users, type "o 54" and "o 55" at the OK prompt to read them. Engaged users, click on the links and the full posts will pop up.
Author's Guild suit (fsquared) Fri 22 Sep 00 14:56
Bass lawsuit (fsquared) Fri 22 Sep 00 15:01
Wendy M. Grossman (wendyg) Sat 23 Sep 00 04:59
Going back to Fawn's original question ot how we can convey the issues were deal;ing with to the public, I'm not sure it's possible. The publics images of writers are Stephen King, "overpaid" Hollywood screenwrights, and whoevers book/column offended them most recently. I mean, the *general* public. I'm a *writer* and I dont notice bylines most of the time. wg
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 23 Sep 00 13:43
I wonder if it's because we don't "hear" their voices?
Neil Glazer (neil-glazer) Sat 23 Sep 00 13:47
Re: <54>, that's my case. Michael Boni (the guy mentioned in the press release) is my colleague. The Laney case is a "companion" case. There's a third which was filed in the Northern District of California. A motion to consolidate the three cases for pretrial purposes has been filed, and will be heard in November by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. BTW -- The information in the August 15 press release is now somewhat dated. We filed an amended complaint in the Southern District of New York on Friday, adding several additional class representatives, including E.L. Doctorow, and naming new defendants, including Contentville. There have been one or two other developments which I am not yet at liberty to disclose, but I think I'll be able to some time early next week. If you are a freelance writer, there's a good chance that you will be affected by these related cases. We are seeking disgorgement of past profits, and an injunction requiring the defendants to pay writers going forward for syndications, republications, second serializations, or any other use of their works.
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sat 23 Sep 00 21:39
And, as a side note, the overpaid Hollywood Scriptwriters (of whom I am occasionally one) (and 90% of whom do not earn a living wage) are rumoured to be going on strike in May, mainly over internet rights.
Wendy M. Grossman (wendyg) Sun 24 Sep 00 04:42
I hope you heard the tongue in the cheek when I said overpaid. I was thinking of William Goldman's constant insistence on the undervaluing and underappreciation of writers in Hollywood. I hadn't heard the incipient strike was over Internet rights; more that it was about the right to residuals, etc. And tyhat the studios were trying to stockpile shows. wg
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sun 24 Sep 00 09:33
Residuals, electronic rights, reprint rights...still the same concept of someone else continuing to profit from my work. Go screenwriters!
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 24 Sep 00 11:35
Internet would be part of it. Hollywood is always asking for all rights, for all eternity, in all media now existing and yet to be invented, throughout the universe. When I got my only Hollywood contract, I imagined the short film based on my story being enacted with butterflies for pixels on the planet Mars. Covered!
Wendy M. Grossman (wendyg) Sun 24 Sep 00 16:09
I once had a helluva time getting a photo of a guy from ILM that I interviewed; the film (Terminator 2) was no longer on general release, the studio sent me to the home video dept, which said the company had been sold, which said... eventually I went back to ILM and said, Look, this is ridiculous, they don't own the *guy*, just give me a picture. wg
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sun 24 Sep 00 22:17
Literary agent Richard Curtis explains why all this stuff is important thusly: "To keep profits up, [publishing] houses have had to resort to what someone once called The Blockbuster Mentality, paying more and more money for superstar authors and abandoning their commitment to new and promising voices. Not only are authors discouraged, editors are too, because they are thwarted from achieving their mandate to help authors produce interesting, entertaining, and compelling works of literature." You can read his entire long (but funny and informative) screed on why control of content is control over the entire book industry here: http://www.elibrarybook.com/articles/curtis.htm
Wendy M. Grossman (wendyg) Tue 26 Sep 00 07:04
http://www.greenmagazine.com/2000/09/000925a.asp is a survey of online payment rates, which are substantially lower than the $1 a word "gold standard" that has held sway since 1965. wg
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Tue 26 Sep 00 21:33
Who did they survey, though?
Paulina Borsook (loris) Fri 6 Oct 00 00:18
there's also an issue that 'writing' has for some people come to mean 'the loss leader i create so i can get on the lecture circuit/consulting track'. these people create 'books'... which are often, well, we dont need to elaborate on what they are. advertorial/white paper/business plan/documentation is more like it. there's that great running motif in 'get shorty', about how anyone can write... another tweak to this (heard this from a former freelancer) is that since the economy is roaring along, publications have created more full-time inhouse editorial postions so dont need to rely on freelancers as they did.
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Fri 3 Nov 00 08:42
That's a really good point. Books can be many things to many people, and unfortunately authors are now expected to earn their shillings talking to people. I'm one of those people who has learned to do that--giving lectures to college students that I find interesting and meaningful (paid guest lectures on American history and media education). But I have other friends who HATE to do public speaking. So what happens to them? I also love the process of incubating a book. I spent two years traveling around the country at considerable expense for my last one. I know other people who can pop 'em out every year, some excellent, some not. (My first book is arguably better, though it took a shorter time to write, so who knows?) In any case, the whole issue of writing has become very much market-driven, even for academics, even for poets, for everyone. And all the time spent cultivating an image usually takes away from writing time.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 3 Nov 00 09:19
That makes sense. To be marketable, you are better off as a celebrity. To be a celebrity, you have to invent a public self to then become a caricature of. Not everybody's cup of tea. I'm surprised about the idea that the money is in speaking. My main interaction with authors on speaking tours has been with people who would show up anyplace for free to promote a book. (But my view may be warped, since I am pretty far on the fringe of loving to do public speaking and I often talk for free or for transportation.) How much crossover is there? Do writers agents book speaking gigs nowadays, for example?
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Fri 3 Nov 00 15:09
I have a separate lecture agent, and for the kinds of books I do, which sell well to the college/academic audience, I'm booked mainly to colleges, which tend to be steady (and rewarding, but exhuasting) work, but lower paying in general than corporate speeches.
Neil Glazer (neil-glazer) Tue 7 Nov 00 11:44
For those following the legal front, the Supreme Court granted certiorari this week to review the Tasini case. Which means at least four justices probably have some problem with the second circuit's decision upholding the rights of freelance writers. Of course, minds can be changed, but this is not a good development.
another goddamn latte-swilling caribou (mattrose) Wed 7 Mar 01 23:50
I had to post this somewhere. Harlan Ellison is again spitting mad. This time it's at the wrong people... http://www.speculations.com/kick.htm the site's been slashdotted, see here http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/03/08/0159200
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 8 Mar 01 05:03
Wow. That's something to see. And it references "information wants to be free," a slogan which, uh, got itself free.
Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Thu 8 Mar 01 11:05
Uhm, this is news? I mean, I guess there are people who haven't heard about it before now, but really....
Angus MacDonald (angus) Thu 8 Mar 01 12:36
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