SCOTUS Slowly Killing the Struggling American Author?

Below are some excerpts from an article I came across this week called “The Slow Death of the American Author.”  I thought it was fitting because it’s about the impact of a recent Supreme Court decision on struggling writers.  Legal stuff and writing stuff, that’s nice.  Anyway, what I got from the opinion piece was that the  decision hurts the poor and helps the rich.  Surprise, surprise.  Enjoy:

LAST month, the Supreme Court decided to allow the importation and resale of foreign editions of American works, which are often cheaper than domestic editions. Until now, courts have forbidden such activity as a violation of copyright. Not only does this ruling open the gates to a surge in cheap imports, but since they will be sold in a secondary market, authors won’t get royalties.       

This may sound like a minor problem; authors already contend with an enormous domestic market for secondhand books. But it is the latest example of how the global electronic marketplace is rapidly depleting authors’ income streams. It seems almost every player — publishers, search engines, libraries, pirates and even some scholars — is vying for position at authors’ expense.
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3 thoughts on “SCOTUS Slowly Killing the Struggling American Author?

  1. Reblogged this on Between Worlds and commented:
    No one’s really helping us writers out. We’ll have to help ourselves somehow… As someone who hopes to make a living from writing someday (far, far in the future, probably), I do not like this news.

  2. I don’t understand this decision. I do buy a lot of used books. I never even thought about how that hurts the author. But this decision by the court means the author is royally screwed! I don’t get it.

  3. I think you’re right that the author doesn’t get any royalties when we buy books at used book stores, but that’s been the norm for a long time. From what I understand from the article, this decision allows booksellers to buy books for cheap overseas and then resell them (which was a copyright violation in the past). So now authors will receive less $$ from initial book sales unless they have the clout to negotiate strong foreign sale rights.

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