April 4, 2006

All I Hope Has To Be Said About This Venal DaVinci Code © Suit [11:14 pm]

And worse, it’s not even a terribly good (or well-written) book! Steal This Book

The co-authors of a 1982 work of nonfiction, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” are suing the novelist Dan Brown, author of “The Da Vinci Code,” for breach of copyright. They charge that Mr. Brown’s novel stole their hypothesis — which, in case you’ve been holed away for the past few years rereading Proust, is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married, and a shadowy group called the Priory of Sion has protected their descendants over the centuries, fending off dark, contending forces inside the Vatican.

But what those in that London courtroom seem not to realize is that the novel has always been a confidence game. Early in the 18th century, the English novel came into being when a sometime jailbird gulled his readers with the counterfeit memoir of a certain Robinson Crusoe. Across the Channel, plenty of readers took narratives like “Manon Lescaut,” by the Abbé Provost, a convicted forger, as the historical accounts they pretended to be. No surprise that our ancestors’ mischief has lingered in the literary bloodline, especially when it comes to fiction masquerading as history.

“Writers have to avoid taking material from other writers,” one of the plaintiffs, Michael Baigent, has declared, unappeased by the fact that Mr. Brown’s book makes explicit reference to his. “It’s part of the deal, really.”

Tell that to the author of “A Tale of Two Cities,” who not only boasted of having read Thomas Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution hundreds of times but also credited it with having “inspired me with the general fancy of that story.”

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Web-Based Self Promotion Pays Off [10:56 pm]

Webcast singer snapped up by Sony

Sandi Thom, 24, is now on the books of RCA/SonyBMG after signing with the label at her flat on Monday night.

She built up a daily audience of more than 100,000 people around the world.

Speaking on British television, Sandi said she could not believe what had happened and that her life had “changed dramatically.”

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A Little Copyright Nicety [10:49 pm]

Buried in this article: Billboard to Begin Ranking Ringtones Sales [pdf]

Master ringtones have been popular for years in Asia and Europe, where use of handsets with better ringtone fidelity is more common than in the United States. But as more multimedia-friendly mobile phones have entered the U.S. market, users have increasingly opted to customize their phones with master ringtones.

That’s good news for recording companies and artists who perform on an original track, because they reap royalties from master ringtones along with songwriters and publishers. Recording companies and performers don’t get a cut of the synthesized ringtones.

The U.S. ringtone market is expected to exceed $600 million in sales this year, up from $500 million last year, according to BMI, a major performing rights organization that represents songwriters, composers and music publishers.

Billboard estimates global ringtone sales racked up $4.4 billion in 2005, up from $3.7 billion the previous year. Much of that growth was due to sales of master ringtones, according to the magazine.

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