Prism DuroSport Insider Blog

A look behind the scenes at the DuroSport Electronics Corporation

April 1, 2009

Who Is the Authors Guild and Why Don’t They Want You to Smell Your Electronic Books?


Written by
Nero

Earlier today I was very excited to tell all of you about our new Smell of Books product, but now it seems that we have a small problem. An organization calling itself “The Authors Guild” has just sent DuroSport a very threatening letter.

I am not sure, but I believe that this so-called guild is the government department that oversees the bohemians who write the stories. I am checking with our lawyers right now to see if we must respond to this nonsense, or if I can give the letter to Vladimir to shred.

In the meantime, I would like to let you, the customer, know that we are doing everything we can to protect your right to smell your electronic books.

Here is the full text of the letter from “The Authors Guild”:

To whom it may concern:

The Authors Guild has recently been made aware of a new e-book related product called “Smell of Books”. This product has allegedly been designed to improve the e-book reading experience by simulating the smell of a real book.

While the Authors Guild supports efforts to improve the digital reading experience, we believe this product represents a significant threat to the development of aroma rights, and as such, will adversely impact the rights of our members.

It is important to note that in the digital era, books, and the smell of books, have been decoupled. In the future we expect authors to participate in the development of custom aromas for their books. These olfactory rights constitute a derivative right to be licensed separately. The preservation of these rights is essential as authors explore new markets and distribution channels.

Allowing unauthorized third parties to provide the “scent” for a book substantially changes the underlying work to a degree that infringes upon the author’s copyright, not to mention artistic vision.

Today the Authors Guild is calling on the DuroSport Corporation to remove the Smell of Books product line from the market. Furthermore, we are advising our members to refrain from licensing aroma rights until we have more clarity on this issue.

7 comments for this post.

  1. Pingback from Authors Guild attacks Smell of Books; Dear Author responds | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home on April 1st, 2009 :

    [...] calling itself “The Authors Guild” has demanded that the Smell of Books line be removed from the market. Here is an excerpt from their [...]

  2. Comment from Stephen Peters on April 1st, 2009 :

    I can’t believe this. Those guys would steal the pencils out of our hands if they thought we’d use them to write “the,” “or,” or any of the other important writerly words that are already protected and cannot be said out loud!

    Hey, where’s my pencil?

  3. Pingback from Authors Guild Continues Overreaching. Claims Olfactory Rights Belong to Author | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary on April 1st, 2009 :

    [...] From the Authors Guild statement: It is important to note that in the digital era, books, and the smell of books, have been decoupled. In the future we expect authors to participate in the development of custom aromas for their books. These olfactory rights constitute a derivative right to be licensed separately. The preservation of these rights is essential as authors explore new markets and distribution channels. [...]

  4. Comment from v1m on April 2nd, 2009 :

    If they outlaw third party smells, then only every third in a party will smell!

  5. Pingback from The Smell of Books | UNC Press Blog on June 27th, 2009 :

    [...] very first day of April started off badly for the company. The mails brought a somewhat threatening letter from The Author’s Guild that read, in part: ” While the Authors Guild supports efforts [...]

  6. Comment from zipthwung on July 17th, 2009 :

    There was a lawsuit a while back where the US Mint sent a cease and desist order to the makers of “The Smell of Money” air fresheners. What is interesting about that is they weren’t suing for the use of the “money” image (you can make play money) but rather, were worried that the makers were implying that the masking scent was actually money (an alternative form of currency with intrinsic worth – scent rather than gold). In effect, this is what I think the Authors Guild is worried about (i.e. clarity) What if people get hooked on a scent that gets branded like “Tom Clancy” or “Danielle Steele” – stories that may smell like expensive red herring, or worse, like the authors themselves.

    Let us hope this gets resolved – I am no fan of air fresheners that merely mask the scent of the bakelite case of the e-reader.

  7. Pingback from Smell of Books Fails the Sniff Test | Medialoper on January 23rd, 2010 :

    [...] In an unfortunately, but not entirely surprising, twist the Authors Guild has threatened DuroSport claiming the company is violating author’s olfactory [...]