There is a movie called "Insignificance" directed by Nicolas Roeg (The Man who fell to Earth). The synopses from IMDB:
"Four 1950's cultural icons (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy) who conceivably could have met and probably didn't, fictionally do in this modern fable of post-WWII America. Visually intriguing, the film has a fluid progression of flash-backs and flash-forwards centering on the fictional Einstein's current observations, childhood memories and apprehensions for the future."
Except they didn't use their names,and they are called The Professor, the Actress, the Ballplayer, and the Senator, respectively. Could this have been because of action from the same legal front?
The $5,000 is the advance against future earnings if the actually sells well. Most authors first books don't make money for the publisher. There is no "hollywood accounting" here, SFWA has audited publishers to make sure that they are actually are paying the authors for sales. So if your first book does sell well, you may make more than just the advance...but don't hold your breath! SF&F, Horror and such writers usually break into the field selling short stories. Then they sell a book, and their career is off and running. If they are good, and the public likes what they are writing, an author may start making enough money to quit their day job within 5 books...but, that is getting harder and harder to do.
Actually, there won't be any type of "Hollywood" accounting. Luckily, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), which also represents other related genres, like Fantasy, is a strong writers union, and the fact that many editors in the field are also writers,and usually a member of SFWA. That said, you are not going to make millions selling your first book, but depending on the publisher, you may get as much as $5,000 (US) for your first novel, or as little as zilch. That is, assuming your work is published as a paperback. You do better if the publisher decides to go with a hardcover edition, as usually they put out a paperback edition a year later, or more if the hardcover sales are strong.
Of all of the media fields, the SF&F publishing field is probably the most honest and transparent.
Chair, The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature, Aug 20-22, Ottawa, Ontario, http://can-con.org
I think that it is interesting that NBC's coverage of the sports part of the Games is very spotty at best, but their coverage of things like the cultural aspect is far superior to CTV's. NBC first of all had a great introduction to Canada by Tom Brokaw, then their coverage of the Opening Ceremonies was full of commentary including the background info.
It's about how important that country considers a symbol. Of course, the Presidential Seal is not an equivalent of the Aztec Stone Calendar, but their importance and the pride their respective countries ascribe to them are.
They may be able to trademark certain symbols...but what can be a real game killer is cultural appropriation. Mexico considers the afore mentioned symbols to be cultural symbols of their nation, and of the indigenous they are descendants of, the Aztecs. There are still over a million people in Mexico who speak the Aztec language as their native language.
As for the Greeks, well, if you started selling coffee mugs with the Parthenon on them at a place as famous as Starbucks, I am sure the Greek Government would have something to say about it...similarly, if you put King Tut, or other well known symbols of Egypt on the cups, Dr. Hawass would be on them so fast their heads would spin!
Or to put it in a way that Americans would understand...imagine if mugs had the Seal of the President of the United States printed on it...I am sure that President himself would raise a stink about it! It's that level of symbolism that we are dealing with here.
It's the old "if you can't innovate, then litigate!" business plan, but for musicians. U2 hasn't been innovative in a decode or so...so, they are probably do the let's look at suing everything we can to continue to make money! At least, that is what their rhetoric seems to be saying.
Is it time to add U2 to the list of "People/Companies that don't get it?", in the "proud" company of Metallica and SCO? We have only to wait and see...
It's bad news...for the publishers, that is. Under the present system, an new or not well known author, at least in the SF&F field, may make a $1,000 to $5,000 advance on their novel...and many of those books don't make back the money spent on them. That's how tight the margins are in the book field.
Now if the author set it up for download, and 50,000 downloads happen, and only 10% donate a dollar to the author, he is in the same boat, without any obligations to a publisher.
What we are going to loose is the editorial direction that publishers give the field. If you buy a book from TOR, you know you are going to get a well written book. If you buy a book from BAEN, it's bound to have a military or right wing slant on it.
And then there is still the thrill of getting the writer/artist to sign their work at conventions...so at very least, there is bound to be at least a boutique market for printed books.
Of course, if we didn't use trees to print on, but some weed or something, printing costs wouldn't be so astronomical...but that would only delay the inevitable...
Most artists do not do music to make money. They do it because they like to play music.
This is an important thing to remember, because of most of them could have a reasonable income, say equiv to $30,000 a year, most would be ecstatic to get that and be able to play music full time. They don't need millions dollars, they just want a living wage which will enable them to do what most people want to do...hang out with friends, get married, have kids, etc. Most musicians are just everyday people.
So rather than rig the system so that it only works when the artist is selling in the millions of dollars, we need to re-jig it so that artists make a living wage. That some will do better is a given...I maintain that given a model like this we would have more good music, less filler, and more people would hear good music. Music is part of life, even if you are not a musician.
Of course, if we set it up so that the musicians get paid a living wage, so, too will people within the record companies. We don't need CEOs who get a million dollar bonus every time they blow their nose! And I ask you, do you really think that anyone can really be worth HALF A BILLION DOLLARS as the CEO of a company? Over a lifetime, never mind as a yearly wage? I don't either. But this is a different conversation...
It's the same scam that the you hear the that the movie studios play. No movie has ever made money until the people who worked on it sue the studio...then the studio "proves" that the film actually lost lots of money, and technically the "talent" owes the studio money because of the advances they were paid!
The logical outcome of all of these rights grabs and other copyright insanity is that the only way you can put out an "original" song is to get a random number generator and use that to create the notes to a song!
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