Link Of The Week- FaceBook Infringes On Publicity Rights

August 1, 2017



This is a link to an article about FB’s policy of using well known artists’ names in other people’s ads. Specifically as advertising keywords. This is something you should be aware of because Amazon has similar issues. So far, it looks like their stable of lawyers are keeping things at bay…….

Let me know what you think. I’m very curious!

Link Of The Week…And Other Interesting Tidbits

January 17, 2012


By: Stacey Purcell

The saga continues with the debate on Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act. Wikipedia is the latest website to protest the upcoming vote. They will go dark on Wednesday to demonstrate their objections- the opposition say several of the items in the act would stifle innovation. Jimmy Wales who is the co-founder of Wikipedia confirmed this decision by tweeting, “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

They are joining forces with other big names like Yahoo, Amazon, and Google who are also protesting the verbiage of SOPA.

I understand that they have concerns about stifling creativity and innovation, but is anyone concerned with the artists who are losing billions of dollars to thieves? Are they trying to draft a more workable act- one that satisfies them while still protecting intellectual property? Can it be done or are they mutually exclusive?

Now for some links to cool spots for writers:

1. He is CEO of one of the biggest publishing houses and has plenty of insightful things to say about our industry. Rachel is a literary agent who has great advice on how to improve your writing, get an agent, and find a publisher.

3. Rob has wonderful ideas on helping authors sell tons of books. He supplies practical advice on all levels of marketing.


Enjoy your week!!!

Let Me Steal Your Book!

January 5, 2012

Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man.  ~Emily Dickinson


By:Stacey Purcell

I would like to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was an author who wrote a novel. This novel took two years to create, many dollars spent polishing their work, sleep lost worrying about their story, and hundreds of hours taken from their families and friends. This creative endeavor came at a high price.

The author persevered and finished. Hooray, a novel is born. Now what?

Now they spend months, maybe years, sending it out to agents and editors. More money, more worry, more time away from their “life”. Perhaps it works and they score an agent/ editor. Perhaps they decide to publish it themselves. Whichever road they take will require more of everything including ulcer potential. (And they say writing isn’t glamorous!)

One way or another, the book is published and available for sale. Their hard work will now pay off.

Not so quick. The book goes on sale at 10am. By 10:30 it’s offered for free at a variety of web sites and the author won’t ever see a dime. And they lived happily ever after…..


Unfortunately, instead of being a fictional piece of writing, this is more like a documentary. Music, photography, art, scientific discovery, books (and the list goes on) have all been stolen from their creators. I believe this not only hurts the creator, it hurts the economy and damages the driving force of what makes most countries thrive. Nations are built and maintained by the innovators, the creators of the next new thing to make our lives better- whether it is a new source of entertainment, a breakthrough in medicine or a streamlining of a business.

“Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet Inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws.” Rep. Goodlatte

If the reward for that hard work is stripped away, the innovations will slowly fade away as well. We compromise our health as a nation.

There are two Acts before our governing bodies that are designed to help protect the theft of intellectual property. SOPA and PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and Pro-IP Act/ Protect IP Act) Both are designed to do more than the current “safe harbor” system that is in place. If a creator finds that a web site is offering their material without their permission, they must submit a notice telling them to take down the material and then the site is given a certain amount of time to take it down. SOPA would override the “safe harbor” system and “allow a judge to immediately block access to sites that are found guilty of hosting copyrighted material.”

SOPA is a bill that expands law enforcers and copyright holders ability to fight online piracy. Actions, through this, could include barring advertising networks and payment companies, like Pay Pal, from doing business with the site in question. They can also require Internet service providers to block access to these sites.( At the moment, the most we can hope for is that a web site in another country will positively respond to our request to take down our books. Law suits would be completely futile.)

As with any other major change, it is difficult. Vehement, passionate arguments can be made for both sides. Companies like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Twitter, FaceBook, Zynga, Mozilla, eBay, and LinkedIn posted an open letter to the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives outlining their arguments stating that SOPA would stifle creativity and innovation on the internet that has created many jobs. It also said that it would be a threat to our cyber-security. (Not sure I understand that one.) Yahoo has also reportedly dropped its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over their support of this bill.

Naysayers state that it will threaten online freedom of speech, threaten users uploading content, have a negative impact on websites that host user content, it’s a general threat to web-related businesses, it’s a threat to internal networks, and threatens open source software. They agree that something has to be done about this piracy but think that the wording is too vague and is open to misuse.

So who’s right? I don’t know. I can only share what I think- I believe the spirit of SOPA is something that is desperately needed. Right now, the creator has to hunt down rogue sites, craft a letter and hope for the best. I know of an author who took it a step further and also contacted all the advertisers and host of the web site stating she would make it public knowledge that they supported online piracy by placing their businesses on said site. It seemed to work for her. So now we not only have to try and write books, juggle our private lives, and learn how to be marketers, we have to be internet sleuths and strategic blackmailers.

The spirit is right, but what about the wording. So much of it is in “legalease”, it’s difficult for a lay person like me to tell. I don’t want a community like they have in China where everything is censored or blocked. Would SOPA allow that to happen? Well, when they figure it out and put it in plain English- I’ll let you know.



If you are interested in this issue, this is a nice place to start.

“Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”

September 15, 2011

No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.  ~Russell Lynes

By: Stacey Purcell

I’m sure a lot of you have read about author Kiana Davenport’s trouble with a large traditional publishing house. In case you haven’t, I’ll do a short re-cap. This author signed a deal for a book that she wrote which was due to come out in 2012.

So far, so good.

Ms. Davenport has won numerous awards, been previously published and by all rights is a wonderful writer. She is also a fashion model who lived the high life and spent most all of her money. She submitted and was accepted by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin books. The terms for her new contract were less than what she used to command, but she needed the money that the advance would pay.

Just prior to this arrangement, she came across Joe Konrath’s blog about self-publishing and turned to him for help. With a bit of guidance, she sold a collection of short stories and was successful! She then published a second collection and  the proverbial poop hit the fan!

 “The editor shouted at me repeatedly on the phone.  I was accused of breaching my contract (which I did not) but worse, of ‘blatantly betraying them with Amazon,’ their biggest and most intimidating competitor.  I was not trustworthy.  I was sleeping with the enemy.”

Kiana Davenport immediately hired a lawyer. (Good for her!) He pointed out that the first collection was published before she signed the contract, so they turned their attention to the second collection and demanded that she take it off line, erase all mention on the internet about her short stories and that she submit in writing that she would not publish any of her back log items while her current book was with them. (That would represent a good two or more years of her life.)

Can you say straight jacket?

She refused. (Yay!) They terminated their contract and demanded her advance back. They are also holding her novel hostage until she sends them the money. That’s the whole sordid affair in a nutshell.

My first response to reading about her plight was disbelief. I simply couldn’t believe that an established business under the banner of an even bigger company would resort to classic bully tactics fronted by their legal department. After spending several hours researching articles posted by several amazing bloggers (lawyers included), I can say I was wrong. Do they not realize writers have blogs? Stories like this WILL get out and spread like wild fire.

Authors are urged to remember they are “professionals” in most every writing group out there. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it ad nauseum to always be on my best behavior, remember this is a profession, dress appropriately etc. etc. etc. So I ask the question, “How professional was it that the editor screamed at her over the phone? How professional was it that they called her agent offering treats so she would move forward in the right spirit?” I would also answer the questions by saying that they seem to be on shaky legal ground.

I haven’t seen the contract, I can only interpret the actions by both parties. If the publisher thought they had an iron clad legal stand, there wouldn’t be such an emotional outburst on the editor’s part, and they wouldn’t have tried to offer incentives for her to agree to their terms.

“The vice president and publisher of that house called my agent, offering extra little sweetmeats if I would just capitulate and ‘adopt the right spirit going forward.’  This somewhat sinister and semi-benevolent attempt at mind-control fascinated me.”

I think someone at Riverhead omitted the clause about what they would allow her to publish or not publish during the tenure of their agreement. I also think that if all of the above is true, then they are in breach of contract. By terminating the contract and demanding the advance back, on baseless grounds, they are now in the wrong. I believe they are bluffing by demanding the advance back and I’ll bet that her lawyer is telling her much the same thing. **Remember, I’m not a lawyer and am only expressing my thoughts.**

This whole story makes me sad. Not every publisher is a bad guy, some actually support the idea that the author is out there drumming up business and making their presence known on line. It seems to me that it’s a win-win situation and a model that would help traditional publishers stay afloat in this tumultuous time. Scenarios, like this, hurt everyone and I hope that the coming days as the landscape dramatically changes in our business, we will see calmer, more rational behavior from all.