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Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

Legal check-in: February updates

Jenna Gilligan wrote earlier this week about the recent indie suit against major publishers in regards to DRM, which has prompted us to take a look at what else in publishing is still bubbling away in the American justice system. Here are updates on a few recent publishing-related cases.

Penguin Random House approved in the US

What sweethearts. On Valentine’s Day, the US Justice Department approved the proposed merger between Random House and Penguin. While they’re still waiting to hear from European authorities, Canadian authorities, and other legal stakeholders on the deal, the US approval is a big deal. After all, this is from the country that brought you the likes of the Sherman Act, Ida Tarbell, and the Standard Oil bust. So if the US thinks it’s okay, it’s got to be aboveboard… right?

Department of Justice sets date for Macmillan

Speaking of aboveboard trustbusting: According to Publishers Weekly, the Department of Justice and Macmillan will announce a settlement in mid-July. Macmillan is opting to settle the lawsuit instead of pursuing a trial because, PW says, “the fact that as the last remaining publisher holdout, Macmillan faced the possibility of being responsible for not only its own treble damages but for those of the other publishers as well.” This leaves Apple holding the bag as the last defendant standing in the lawsuit. Want a refresher on the DOJ lawsuit? Check out Appazoogle’s archives.

Sherlock Holmes’ day in court

On a lighter note, one author is trying to sue the Arthur Conan Doyle estate under the claim that Sherlock Holmes et al should be in the public domain. Check out the cause’s website at www.free-sherlock.com. You can also read commentary on the case from the Economist, the L.A. Times, and GalleyCat, to name a few. And while you’re at it, look up the BBC’s Sherlock. (Which seems to have had no qualms paying the Doyle Estate’s licensing fee.)

About Leah Thompson

Writing and publishing professional in the Boston area.

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