Japan is planning on augmenting their copyright law in early 2015 so publishers can actually go after e-Book pirates. This should assist the entire industry and hopefully speed up the rate in which e-Books are produced.
The old copyright law just protected physical books from unlawful print and distribution by people who did not have the right to do so. This caused difficulties for publishers who made e-book versions or sold digital manga. If an e-Book was found on a file sharing site, or if the author bypassed the publishers traditional content delivery channels and sold the e-Book on their own, there was little the publisher could do. Only the copyright holders were able to go to court. This made it difficult for e-book publishers to properly deal with an unauthorized digital publication, which led to the proliferation of pirated content.
Once this new amendment to the copyright law is complete the Japan Patent Attorneys Association is recommending changes to author contracts so it falls in line with the recent changes made in France. It is important to have separation between the traditional publishing contract and the digital side of things. Currently in Japan most authors have the exact same royalty rate for print and e-Books.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Dai Nippon Printing has released their first e-reader called the Honto Pocket. It has been available in Japan for the last few weeks and the company intends on making a number of e-book anthologies available to purchase by the end of January and will be opening up an online bookstore in February.
The Honto Pocket basically has no place in the modern world, it is a throwback to how e-readers were made as cheaply as possible five years ago. This little device has a five inch screen with a resolution of 800 X 600. It does not have a touchscreen, so you will have to navigate around with the D-Pad. It does not have wireless internet access and many bloggers in Japan are saying once books are loaded on it, there is no way to actually delete them. Oh, best of all, it has two AA batteries to power it.
This e-reader is available at many different bookstores in Japan. There are a few e-Books that come loaded on it, but the publisher is trying to get people to buy a few anthologies. You can buy 100 titles by Agatha Christie for ¥74,800 or 43 books featuring detective Hercule Poirot for ¥ 32,800.
In a few months the company will be launching an online bookstore, where you can purchase content to your computer and then plug the e-reader into it to sync over all of the e-books you buy. Not very intuitive.
I would not recommend this e-reader to anyone. You can buy plenty of great devices in Japan such as the Sony, Kindle or Kobo e-readers. They all have WIFI and allow you buy books right on them. The Honto Pocket is certainly budget friendly, but so was the Extaco Jetbook Mini, and that didn’t sell well.
There has been a dramatic change to French Intellectual Property Code in regards to publishing contracts being offered to authors. Any new contract that publishers give to an author will now include a provision for digital distribution in e-Book form.
The amended French Intellectual Property law clearly states that a publishing contract not only covers the "manufacture of copies" but also the "realization in a digital form".
How does this new change effect French authors? Well, when they get a contract from a publisher to distribute their book to bookstores all over France there has to be a new provision about e-Books. The contract will now be divided into two different segments – traditional and digital. This will hopefully put authors at ease, because in the contract it will be established what the digital royalty rates are and how much they stand to earn when someone buys the e-book.
The publishing contracts entered into before 1st December 2014 will comply with this new obligation of separate parts, only if these contracts are amended for a specific reason.
I think its great that publishing contracts have separation between digital and physical distribution. Before, everything was just lumped into the one category and hopefully now authors will see a better royalty rate for their digital book sales.