On January 20, from 2-4:30, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, ASJA, the National Writers Union, NWU, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are sponsoring a workshop to examine what the Google Book Settlement means to authors. James Grimmelmann and Lynn Chu are both scheduled to speak, and additional speakers will be announced. The event is scheduled to take place at the New York NWU office, 256 w. 38th St., 12th floor, between 7th and 8th. Attendees should RSVP by calling 212-997-0947 or sending an e-mail to asjaoffice AT asja.org. (Put “Google settlement” in the subject line)
Following a preliminary examination on December 22, District Court Judge John Monaghan declared Canadian science fiction author Peter Watts should be bound over for trial on charges of assault and resisting arrest. If convicted, Watts faces up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Science fiction author Peter Watts was stopped by US border guards on his way home to Canada on December 8 and beaten and pepper-sprayed before being arrested. Watts faces a felony rap for assaulting a federal officer, which can carry a two year prison sentence and a lifetime ban from the United States. A legal defense fund has been set up to aid Watts in his defense.
Shane Senter has pled guilty to four counts of the indictment against him. When sentencing occurs later this month, he is expected to receive 5 years probation, not be allowed to own, operate, manage or control a business where he takes payments/deposits up front, and be ordered to pay restitution.
New Line Cinema has reached an undisclosed agreement with the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and HarperCollins Books over royalties from The Lord of the Rings films. The estate alleged that they had not seen a single penny from the successful movie franchise and the dispute was threatening production of the two-film version of The Hobbit, scheduled to begin filming in 2010.
The estate of author Adrian Jacobs is suing J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury for plagiarism, claiming that “substantial parts” of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were copied from Jacobs’s 1987 novel The Adventures of Willy the Wizard — No 1 Livid Land. Bloomsbury has responded saying “The allegations of plagiarism made today, Monday 15 June 2009, by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue.” Jacobs died penniless in 1997 and his estate previously made the plagiarism claim in 2004. According to Bloomsbury, in 2004, “The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard.”
“Clark Rockefeller” (a.k.a. Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and Christopher Chichester) has been convicted of kidnapping his daughter. “Rockefeller” is also considered a person of interest in the disappearance of sf fans John and Linda Sohus in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Although evidence concerning the Sohus’s disappearance wasn’t permitted at his kidnapping trial, the investigation into “Rockefeller’s” link to the Sohus’s is continuing.
Shane Senter, currently facing two felony theft charges and four misdemeanor counts of unfair or deceptive business practices relating to his attempts to create Jumpcon, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Senter previously filed for bankruptcy in 2000, but that case was dismissed by the courts. According to the filing, Senter has debts in excess of $8 million, including two small-claims judgments awarded to science fiction fans.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to hear Victor Horadam’s appeal to a 2008 ruling, settling a lawsuit over the Andre Norton estate rights. Horadam claimed that Norton’s will stipulated that he should receive royalties on all Norton works published following her death. Sue Stewart, Norton’s long-time care giver claimed that the will gave her rights over any posthumous reprints and only gave Horadam rights over works published for the first time after Norton’s death. Horadam won the initial trial, which was reversed upon Stewart’s appeal.