The Know Your Rights Blog


It would be a major understatement if one were to say that the COVID-19 pandemic created only ripples of change throughout the world of business. Everything from how we get our groceries to our daily news has shifted.

Perhaps nowhere else were more seismic changes felt than in the world of publishing. Publishing schedules have shifted, with some titles moving to future seasons, while other titles were outright cancelled. Publishers were forced to move to more agile production models and modes when faced with printer shutdowns, shipping delays, and store closures.

Even the world of rights faced a shift in business as licensors first paused to consider how their business might change in the face of multiple book industry conferences canceling and going virtual. First the London Book Fair was cancelled only two weeks before it was scheduled to open, then Barcelona, then New York, and on and on up until the Beijing Book Fair went fully virtual.

The lastest change in rights fairs was confirmed this week with the announcement of the Virtual arm of the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the largest and most comprehensive rights fairs in the world. As of right now, organizers still plan to hold an in-person conference, but it's unknown how successful (or how well-attended) it will be as large publishers from around the world have pulled out of attending, and even the guest of honor country for this year, Canada, have postponed their attendance until next year.

Here at GPC, we intended to make this our first big year back on the conference circuit, and were making plans to attend Frankfurt until COVID-19 hit. After seeing the issues other exhibitors and agents hand with receiving refunds when fairs canceled or went virtual, we made the difficult decision to stay home but do our best to put forth a strong presence online as we could by registering as virtual attendees where we could.

With the exhibition companies making it as easy as possible to create an online catalog presence, we're taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase our clients at both the Beijing International Book Fair (which is virtual only) and Frankfurt. Beijing is launching this week and the Frankfurt online show will be up and running in September.

We feel this is an optimal opportunity for our clients to dip their toes in the international market with very low risk and potential for big rewards. The additional upside of establishing partnerships before the 2021 fairs get going translate (pun intended) to a win-win situation.

If you're thinking of testing your list internationally, now's a great time. And GPC is here to help you if you need a hand in getting materials out there. Give us a shout!

#bookfair #licensing #rights #frankfurt #beijing #foreignlicensing

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We first mentioned the CASE Act back in 2016 (see post here), and have had high hopes for the bill to pass into law after it passed the House by a majority vote on October 22, 2019. It moved to the Senate, and seemed to have similar support there until Senator Wyden of Oregon placed what's called a "hold" on the bill.

Senators don't need to have a specific reason for these holds, and it appears that Senator Wyden is interested in seeing the bill languish and die without debate. A group of advocates from across the publishing, music, art, and photography industries (in conjunction with officers from Senators Kennedy and Durbin) have been talking with Senator Wyden's office in an attempt to hammer out details that would move Wyden to remove his hold. To this day, there have been many back-and-forths, but little progress forward.

One of Senator Wyden's chief complaints about the bill is that it would result in frivolous copyright infringement lawsuits that would "bankrupt grandma." This opinion has been voiced before by organizations such as EFF, but is a fallacious argument in that the CASE Act is meant to be a voluntary review of an infringement suit by a tribunal of copyright experts. Either party can opt out of the review, and if they move forward, there are limits on the damages that could be recovered.

The IBPA's Advocacy Committee (of which our own MJ is a member) put out a call to action last week to encourage community members to contact their Senators to bolster support for the bill in the hopes of pushing for a live unanimous consent vote on the Senate floor soon. This "Live UC" would force Sen. Wyden to voice his objections to the bill, and allow other senators to articulate their support.

You can help in the effort by encouraging your senator to support the CASE Act. Go here for a quick and easy way to reach out to your representative.

#copyright #CASEAct #JustOne #infringement

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We are pleased to report that our own MJ has been appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Independent Book Publishers Association.

This is a working committee for IBPA, tasked with tasked with identifying, prioritizing, and developing strategies to address issues of concern to independent publishers.

Read the full announcement from IBPA here.

Congratulations, MJ!

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