Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do You Music Share?

Earlier this week the House Judiciary Committee introduced a new bill to strengthen the federal government's ability to enforce intellectual property law. Created in response to the increased counterfeiting and piracy around the world, the Intellectual Property Act of 2007 (Pro IP ACT) is one of the most significant pieces of copyright legislation in the past ten years.

The act is 69 pages long, so of course there are many components, but here is what I expect to be the most significant parts. The Act will: 1) strengthen criminal and civil laws for copyright and trademark infringement; 2) appoint officers to work with foreign countries to help combat piracy and counterfeiting abroad; 3) and establish as part of the executive branch the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative, whose goal is to enhance law enforcement coordination both nationally and internationally.

Overall, I think that this is a necessary step to combat what has become a frustrating situation for businesses and artists alike. However, I do think the bill might fail to properly address the innocent infringer (someone who mistakenly thinks that the copying is fair use) and doesn't properly recognize the distinction between illegal copying for personal, as compared to commercial use. As you can imagine, fans of music sharing are freaking out right now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The New Starbucks Book

Let me start by saying that I love Starbucks. Each morning as I walk to work I pick up a Vente Caramel Macchiato, and the first taste always makes me shudder in pleasure. In addition, I loved A LONG WAY GONE, the memoir by Ishmael Beah, the former child soldier of Sierra Leone, a previous Starbucks book selection, and their newest pick, BEAUTIFUL BOY by David Sheff, looks good.

However, I'm still not convinced about the way in which Starbucks selects the books for their program. Starbucks hired William Morris to scout books and negotiate deal terms. But if Starbucks wanted a scout, why didn't they hire one instead of a literary agency? And I'm not sure you can convince me that it's possible for an WMA agent to be unbiased when one of their authors end up competing against a book from another agency.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advice on Freelance Writing

Want some good advice on how to achieve freelance writing success? Check out this article by my client Jonathan Bender, which will appear in The Writer in January 2008.