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Sime~Gen Perspectives Newsletter

September 2000

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***** Feature Articles *****


Jean Lorrah sent this in.

Commonwealth was a major subsidy publisher a couple of years ago based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It went bust in 1999 after failing to fulfil its contracts with hundreds of writers. The union received numerous complaints about the publisher, as did other writers' organizations, consumer organizations, Canadian law enforcement, and the Better Business Bureau.

Commonwealth was run by a Donald Phelan. He and his wife are now operating "The Write Image". Guess what? It's a subsidy publisher that has failed to fulfil its contracts with numerous defrauded writers. Gosh, what a surprise!

Edmonton newspapers and the Better Business Bureau there have issued warnings about The Write Image.

Writers, stay away!

For more info on Commonwealth, The Write Image, and subsidy publishers in general, see the Web site of our colleagues, Science Fiction Writers of America: <>.


** Copyright

Some authors have had material stolen by a site called Uncover. The following press release gives information about recovering your copyright.

Freelance Authors Regain Copyright Control through Innovative Settlement

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 26

Document Provider to Obtain Permission before Selling Authors' Articles Electronically

Historic Legal Settlement Includes Class Notification to Authors

The settlement, believed to be the first class action lawsuit of its kind in the nation, instructs commercial document delivery services to obtain permission from authors before their creative works can be sold electronically via the Internet. The case involved a group of individual authors who challenged UnCover, an online document delivery service that sold copyrighted magazine and journal articles over the Internet without the authors' permission. UnCover pursued royalty contracts with many periodical publishers and paid copyright fees to publishers but not to individual authors.

The $7.25 million settlement, preliminarily approved by the federal court in Oakland, California, requires UnCover to expand its copyright permission and royalty payment system to include individual authors as well as publishers and to obtain certain specified forms of permission before delivery of such articles. UnCover will now also offer a licensing agreement with any author who requests it, paying royalties semi-annually. The settlement fund will come from other settling parties.

The settlement also uniquely initiates a search for thousands of authors, poets, and other academic and creative writers who may have had their works sold by UnCover in the past. Any authors who retained their copyright in any article delivered by UnCover between October 22, 1994, and July 12, 2000, may be eligible to participate in the settlement. Anyone whose written work has been published in a magazine or periodical is strongly encouraged to visit the special Web site <> where a potential class member can get complete information and submit his claim for a share of the settlement via the Internet. The Web site will be launched on Monday, July 31, 2000.

"Selling individual articles electronically without author permission has been an industry-wide practice. We believe the law does not allow the practice, and this settlement should go a long way to changing it," said the authors' attorney John Shuff of the national law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi L.L.P. <>, known for its broad experience in complex litigation. "We hope the industry will take notice and adopt the same permission procedures as UnCover."

The representative plaintiffs, a group of freelance and academic writers and poets, were Joan Ryan, Jim Tunney, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Lyn Hejinian, and Ron Silliman.

"The intellectual property owned by authors is no different from music owned by songwriters or images owned by photographers," said copyright attorney Dan Reidy of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Reidy of Sausalito, California, co-counsel with Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi L.L.P., referring to recent legal challenges to the electronic downloading and distribution of music and photos on CDs or via the Internet. "Authors have not only regained control of their work, but perhaps more important, they have regained control of their value," said Reidy. UnCover's founder, Ward Shaw, said that UnCover has long worked with publishers and rights organizations such as the Copyright Clearance Center and the National Writers Union's Publication Rights Clearinghouse to pay copyright for delivery of the articles researchers and others need. "We are happy to work with individual authors directly as well," said Shaw. UnCover <> maintains a database of approximately eight million articles -- increasing by approximately five thousand per day -- from more than seventeen thousand periodicals and specializes in supplying copies of articles from often hard-to-find scientific, medical, and technical journals and other publications.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the Summary Notice are available upon request. The settlement Web site, <>, will be launched July 31, 2000.

CONTACT: Daniel A. Reidy of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Reidy, 415-331-7500; Janette L. Ferguson of Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi L.L.P., 415-235-6649, cell 650-579-2709; or Michael Traynor, 415-693-2110 or Robert L. Eisenbach, 415-693-2094, both of Cooley Godward LLP.


** READ A GOOD STORY, DO A GOOD DEED, submitted by Jean Lorrah

Have you been longing to read one of those Zhag Paget~Tonyo Logan stories that people have been talking about on this list for four years now? Felt left out because you couldn't get to the Sime~Gen parties at WorldCon or Darkover, the only places you could hear these stories read? Or heard one and wished you could have a print copy to take home?

Well, the first Zhag~Tonyo story, "Reflection of a Dream," is now available for you to download and read, as part of a new program Jacqueline and I have inaugurated, called "Read a Good Story, Do a Good Deed."

Jacqueline has contributed a non-Sime~Gen story called "A Mother's Curse," so we have two entirely different tales to entice you.

And all of this is in aid of Karen Litman, whose difficulties are far from over despite all the help fans have offered so far. Therefore, we have decided to supply something of value for the contributions people are making. (Editor’s note: For the benefit of readers who have not heard, Karen Litman is a long-time Sime~Gen fan who has been suffering extreme financial difficulties.)

You will find the full explanation and instructions for download at <>.

We hope you enjoy the stories, and that they bring in more help for Karen!


** Congratulations to Margaret!

Jean Lorrah reports that our own Margaret L. Carter was the recipient of an Eppie (the award given by EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection) for her novel, DARK CHANGELING, for BEST HORROR NOVEL.

The awards were given out at the EPIC conference in Omaha 26 August.

Margaret says DARK CHANGELING is at <>. Psychiatrist Roger Darvell has a very unusual midlife crisis!




***** News *****

* Romance Updates

Carol Castellanos has announced that the Christine Feehan & Amanda Ashley chat logs have now been posted at < >.

She also has a Charlotte Boyett-Compo Spotlight at < >.


* Different Harlequin Opportunity

Jean Lorrah sent this in.

Harlequin/Silhouette is actively seeking books for their new project, "CITY GIRL BOOKS." This is not a series, but will launch in late 2001 with four books and will continue to publish two books a month. This is open to published and unpublished authors (unpublished authors will need to have a complete manuscript but a partial can be submitted for review).

Joan Golan, Silhouette Sr. Editor, described CITY GIRL BOOKS as follows: These are NOT romance novels but rather a "coming of age, starting life in the city"; a "Bridget Jones meets Sex in the City"; "Single, urban gal in any big city"; or "Don't focus on Mr. Right, but rather Mr. Wrong(s) on the way to Mr. Right."

Needs to have a satisfying ending -- not necessarily in the arms of Mr. Right but at least away from the Mr. Wrong(s) she is with in the book; can include: roommates from hell, local hangouts, life on the fast-track, just attempting and trying to get started in business world, matchmaking moms ... basically the heroine can struggle with anything "realistic"; more realistic language, sex (w/ Mr. Wrong); sharp, sassy dialogue; tone is light with humour -- witty.

Technical points:

Acquiring editors: Joan Golan (NY), Birgit Davis-Todd (Canada), Samantha Bell (London), Tessa Shapcott (London).

Single-title at 100,000 words.

First or Third Person.

Present or Past Tense.


* Ratings

As of 20 August, the domain, is ranked #69963 out of 901156 domains in the database.

The first number keeps getting smaller while the second number keeps getting larger, which means our position is RISING. We are still in the 8th percentile but moving steadily toward the 7th.

We are in the top 8% of most popular sites on the Internet as measured by sites linked to us.



Jacqueline announces that Doreen Dabinett's saga of Jason and Vidal, interstellar agents extraordinaire, continues with "One Step Forward," Part 2 of A NEW BEGINNING, now posted in COMPANION IN ZEOR 13.


Have fun reading this one! I loved it.

It'll take a while to download; it's nearly 300K.


* Founding 400

Karen Litman reports that "as of August 23, we have 315 pre-orders





***** Sites to Remember *****

Sound files of Jacqueline Lichtenberg pronouncing Sime~Gen vocabulary words can be found at < >.

To sign up for classes, go to <>.

To volunteer, go to <> for the latest openings.



*Please Note all material posted on Official Virtual Tecton is copyright (c) by Sime~Gen Inc. and all rights are reserved. To get your Sime~Gen(tm) material sanctioned for web posting or to get permission to repost from official materials e-mail, contact Sime~Gen (tm) is the trademark of a fictional universe) copyright (c) by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986 and Sime~Gen Inc. 1999, 2000.

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