SOLO ZONE    opinion

Ethics and Fees for Recycling Copyrights (first posted March 2004)
remains core issues in 2011

My Contention:

     The Internet has changed the commercial landscape, demanding new Federal Laws to govern the Use of Persona to Sell via the Internet. On-line book, music and video stores [Amazon.com, et. al.] must collect and pay out copyright and trademark use fees totalling $15 per recycled book, tape, or recycled disc (CD or DVD) sold for profit through their catalog when such a sale results from their search for a title-in-print from an active publisher with a registered trademark. This fee does not apply if and only if other negotiated use fee agreements are in place to cover the transaction.

As an Individual Contributor I Assert:

     The pairing of my name with any of my published titles evokes my persona as an author. Use of this pairing of information with the intent of selling anything constitutes use of persona to sell. Any use other than those to which I as the copyright holder have agreed to in writing constitutes an unfair use of my persona to sell. Cataloging for sale [amazon.com, et. al.] is different than cataloging for library reference. Offering recycled copies of a book alongside the publishers offering of a publication still in print is use of persona to sell. As such, these transactions demand compensation. For every unit sale of a work covered by copyright, a five dollar ($5) minimum fee is due and payable to the copyright owner at the time of sale. This fee does not apply if and only if other negotiated copyright use fee agreements are in place to cover the transaction.

As a Publisher of Books and CDs I Assert:

     A trademark is real property which may not be used without permission. For a sales catalog [like Amazon.com] to use a trademark to link to sites other than those approved by the trademark owner is an unfair use. For every unit sale of a work covered by trademark, a five dollar ($5) minimum fee is due and payable to the trademark owner at the time of sale. This fee does not apply if and only if other negotiated trademark use fee agreements are in place to cover the transaction.

As Both an Author and Publisher I Assert:

     A book or CD is a physical media which frequently carries copyrighted content. Purchase of a book or CD is purchase of the physical media and a license for a strictly limited use of this content. Possession of the book does not convey a right to copy this content. Nor does possession of the book confer a right to use the trademark, nor to use the corporate persona [trademark + title; trademark + author], nor to use the authorís persona [authorís name + title] to resell the physical entity of the book. For every unit sale of a work covered by copyright and trademark, a five dollar ($5) minimum fee is due and payable to the edition copyright owner at the time of sale. This fee does not apply if and only if other negotiated copyright use fee agreements are in place to cover the transaction.

In Summation:

     The internet business model demands that specific protection of rights in resale be offered to authors and trademark holders. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 recognized some of these issues but fails to embrace literary, musical and cinematic publishing as a generality. The DMCA otherwise neglects to consider copyright recycling for profit. Nationally, performing artists collect a use fee when recorded music, whether radio or in house, is played in any commercial establishment. That other individual contributors also have rights in resale is further substantiated by the Artistís Resale Royalties Act (California Civic Code, section 986). These same rights to be compensated for use of persona to sell need to be accorded by law to authors, composers, and screenwriters, and trademark owners if creative writing and independent publishing are to survive.

Charles Wehrenberg



OPEN LETTERS CIRCULATED VIA E-MAIL TO CONCERNED CITIZENS

e-mail subject: Author's rights in resale of recycled books and media

HEADS UP!
Are authors, composers, publishers and producers
simply supposed to accept
electronic fencing
of
stolen property?


Help amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or to create new laws governing the Use of Persona to Sell
before amazon.com and others turn the Internet
into a copyright thief's paradise.

     For the last several years I have been circulating the following letter to legal scholars, authors and business news reporters. This in response to my contention that Amazon.com and other online entities are engaged in unfair business practices. My essay entitled Ethics and Fees for Recycling Copyrights is now on-line at http://www.solozone.com/FAIR_USE.HTML. More recently, I have been soliciting the support of film and music interests for my proposed remedy. To that end I have been looking for allies on the US Congressional Commerce Committees and within the Motion Picture Association. Federal legislation is definitely required. The DMCA needs fine tuning. Without redress, this pernicious nuance of the new commercial terrain will become the Achilles heel of Hollywood as surely as it has seriously impaired book publishing.

Charles Wehrenberg
Solo Zone Publishing

------------------------------------------

To Whom It May Concern:

     As you well know, piracy is a hotly debated topic as Hollywood tries to contend with digital recording and file sharing. The book world is likewise reeling from the changes in the commercial terrain imposed by technology. I submit that a more fundamental issue than copy protection needs to be included within these discussions. New law needs implementation as the internet, search engines and other digital tools have brought into question what constitutes fair use of persona to sell copyright protected material delivered to the consumer by means of a proxy like a book, tape, film, CD, DVD.... My perspective is both that of an individual contributor with books in print, and that of a publisher with an active, registered trademark.

     In a nutshell, cataloging for reference (libraries) is intrinsically different than cataloging for sale (amazon.com) or cataloging for appropriation (Napster). Fair use of persona to sell becomes a key issue for works-in-print by active trademarks. Ethics and Fees for Recycling Copyrights (http://www.solozone.com/FAIR_USE.HTML) details my exceptions to specific on-line practices, and proposes a remedy.

     For an example of this impasse, go to Amazon.com -> books -> search: Will Ball by Charles Wehrenberg. The Amazon.com search will produce a correct listing for the new book at $15. It will also lists used books, currently one for $.75! What is wrong with this picture? This is an unfair use of persona to sell. It is infringement for profit. It is theft. As such, Amazon's Marketplace constitutes an electronic fencing operation on a global scale, recycled books today...counterfeit DVDs tomorrow. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act needs to clarify these fair use issues. My intention is to seek a legislative remedy, demanding a fee for such use.

Charles Wehrenberg
Solo Zone Publishing
www.solozone.com

.................................................

e-mail subject: NAFTA and author's rights.

NAFTA
versus
the American Library Association,
eBay and Amazon.com


?

     The assertion made by the American Library Association that a library has the right to present entire books on-line for general access flies in the face of NAFTA, among other things. Consider Chapter 17 of the NAFTA code, especially 1705:1(b) and 1705:2, available on-line at http://www-tech.mit.edu/Bulletins/nafta.html.

     A library is a service based upon the availability of books. By a book I mean the physical proxy of paper and glue, or plastic more recently, which contains copyight protected material. I submit that the fundamental service of the library is not presenting the information, rather it is is maintaining the physical environment wherein anyone might come to read a selection of books, physically. On-line presentations are inherently different; the physical proxy is nullified, and the whole transaction is a pure distribution of copyright protected material. For a library, or anyone unauthorized, to do this is an unfair use of an asset owned by the author and the publisher.

     Previously, I have taken definite exception to the current practice of offering a used copy of a book in print on the same web page as a new copy of the book in print, and for the disparity in charges assessed for the sale of a new book from the new publisher (~50%) versus the smaller fee assessed the used book vendor (~15%). Interestingly, Chapters 11& 17 of the NAFTA code would seems to suggest a path to confront these pernicious appropriations of copyright by on-line catalog merchants like Amazon.com and Half.com.

     My essay entitled Ethics and Fees for Recycling Copyrights can be found on-line at http://www.solozone.com/FAIR_USE.HTML. I will keep you apprised as I continue to explore these options.

Charles Wehrenberg
Solo Zone Publishing
www.solozone.com