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Monday, September 12, 2016

Are you being censored?

Here's the press release, as I received it, without any changes:

Index on Censorship opens nominations for the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards and Fellowship

[PRESSWIRE] London, United Kingdom - 12 September, 2016 -- Beginning today, nominations for the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship are open. Now in their 17th year, the awards honour some of the world’s most remarkable free expression heroes. Previous winners include Chinese digital activists GreatFire, Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat and Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.
  • Awards honour journalists, campaigners, digital activists and artists fighting censorship globally;
  • Nominate at;
  • Nominations are open from 12 September to 2 October 2016.
Beginning today, nominations for the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship are open. Now in their 17th year, the awards honour some of the world’s most remarkable free expression heroes. Previous winners include Chinese digital activists GreatFire, Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat and Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.
Index invites the general public, civil society organisations, non-profit groups and media organisations to nominate anyone (individuals or organisations) who they believe should celebrated and supported in their work tackling censorship worldwide.
There are four categories in Index on Censorship's Freedom of Expression Awards:
• Arts for artists (any form) and arts producers whose work challenges repression and injustice and celebrates artistic free expression.
• Campaigning for activists and campaigners who have had a marked impact in fighting censorship and promoting freedom of expression.
• Digital Activism for innovative uses of technology to circumvent censorship and enable free and independent exchange of information.
• Journalism for courageous, high impact and determined journalism (any form) that exposes censorship and threats to free expression.
Relevant nominees are also eligible for the Music in Exile Fellowship, which supports musicians whose work is under threat.
As awards fellows, all winners receive one residential week of networking, advanced training and consultancy in London (April 2017) followed by 12 months of bespoke support to amplify and sustain their valuable work for free expression worldwide.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index, said: “The Freedom of Expression Awards not only showcase but also strengthen groups and individuals doing brave and brilliant work to enhance freedom of expression around the world. These are true heroes - people who often have to overcome immense obstacles and face great danger just for the right to express themselves. I urge everyone to nominate their free expression champion - make sure their voice is heard.”
The 2017 awards shortlist will be announced in late January. The winners will be announced in London at a gala ceremony on 19 April 2017 at The Unicorn Theatre.
For more information on the awards and fellowship, please contact:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Help stop online piracy by checking your books

I got this press release that is of interest to authors.

Publicist of the Year Leads Awareness Campaign to "Check Your Books"

Agoura Hills, CA, March 31, 2016 ( - ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Publicist of the Year, author and advocate Rhonda Rees is orchestrating a campaign to alert authors and publishers to “check their books” to correspond with World Book and Copyright Day, on April 23, 2016
She is asking that during the month of April they run Google, Bing, or other searches to see whether or not their work is compromised by being offered for “free” without their knowledge or permission.  She would like authors and publishers to plug in the title of their book, or books, the author’s name, and the words ‘free downloads’ to spot what comes up.   
This is a subject that Rees knows about first-hand.  Her US copyrighted, trademarked, registered and award-winning book, Profit and Prosper with Public Relations®:  Insider Secrets to Make You a Success was being offered as a free download on several sites without her consent.
Rees isn’t the only one that this situation is happening to.  Thousands of other unsuspecting authors across the globe are also left vulnerable to unscrupulous Internet thieves.     
According to Rees, “It’s not just the famous recording artists or celebrities that are being ripped-off anymore.  Instead, online book piracy is having an impact on the average author in a very big way.”
According to the Association of American Publishers, the publishing industry as a whole has lost $80 to $100 million dollars to online piracy annually.  From 2009 to 2013, the number of e-book Internet piracy alerts that the Authors Guild of America received from their membership had increased by 300%.  During 2014, that number doubled.   In 2016, these numbers are expected to go much higher. 
For the past couple of years Rees has been working tirelessly to help bring this little-known topic to public attention.  The Bulldog Reporter publication honored her with their Publicist of the Year Gold Award in their Stars of PR competition for her efforts. In addition, she was also named Publicist of the Year by the Book Publicists of Southern California, winning their IRWIN Award (Industry Recognition of Writers in the News.)
As an author, publicist and publisher, Rees has lent her voice by appearing in the media and online, and by contributing feature articles, such as in IP  Her aim is to educate the public, and to open up a dialogue between authors and publishers, organizations, policy makers and law enforcement.   
She is now asking for authors and publishers to run searches to see whether or not their work is being pirated.  Rees offers important suggestions and tips, and outlines what they can do should they find themselves in this tough situation.   Listen to her Author U podcast:
After World Book and Copyright Day this April 23, 2016, she will continue her fight against the online piracy of books.   Rees has made contact with the Global Intellectual Property (IP) Center, a division of the US Chamber of Commerce, the Authors Guild of America, the Counterfeit Report Company, the Piracy Trace Business, and numerous organizations such as IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association), SPAWN (Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network), and BPSC (Book Publicists of Southern California.)
World Book and Copyright Day is an annual event sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to help promote reading, publishing and copyright issues.  It is observed in over 100 countries, from private businesses, schools and voluntary organizations that come together to pay tribute to authors and books.  The April 23, date is the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, and the birth or death date of other well-known authors such as Miguel de Cervantes, Maurice Druon, and Halldór Laxness. 
Rhonda Rees is available for interview.  For further information, contact Rhonda Rees via her website:  You can also follow her on Facebook,LinkedIn or Twitter @ReesRhonda.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Time to clean out the shed

Now that the rain has gone away for at least a week, it's time to empty out the shed, sweep and bug bomb it, and put everything back. Of course, putting things back means sorting, tossing, donating and selling as much as possible. Since work assignments have been anything but steady in recent months, selling will be my top priority.

The mess from last year, which you see in the photo below, is now in the storage shed, and not much better organized. Every time I get started on the job, something comes up and I have to leave it. Sometimes it's an unexpected rainstorm, but usually it's something else that might not be as important, but which is much more urgent.

A couple years ago, it was a broken leg. Last year it was a badly sprained wrist and bruised elbow. This year I hope to get the job done without any such interruption. I'm still incredibly clumsy, but if I take it slowly and get some help from a nice neighbor, I think it will get done.

I've been clumsy and accident-prone ever since I cracked my skull a few years back. I had a concussion, and my brain swelled up. It's taken lots of time and effort to find ways to compensate, but I'm getting there. I still have no good sense of time, and words often fail me, but I have had some slight improvement. I'm afraid my eyesight will never quite be the same, but I have eyeglasses now.

Life is good, for the most part. I've been better, but I've also been worse.

Do publishers have the same rights as broadcasters?

In Europe, publishers do not have the same rights as video and audio media when it comes to copyright law. That situation might be abut to change.

I got the following press release this morning:

European Commission considers new law to protect press diversity and quality journalism in Europe

[PRESSWIRE] London, United Kingdom - 14.03.16 -- The European Commission’s Vice-President Ansip announced the imminent consultation on a publisher’s right today, 14 March, which could ultimately lead to much-needed greater legal clarity in copyright for press publishers.

Publishers are not currently acknowledged in EU law as rightsholders. The expected change would put press publishers’ rights on par with other content producers such as broadcasters, film producers and phonogram producers with a related right that would afford publishers more licensing and negotiation opportunities.
Importantly, a new publisher’s right:
  • would have no impact on contractual relationships between publishers and journalists, nor on the existing provisions in law dealing with the transfer of rights in certain Member States. A new publisher’s right would seek only to protect the investment and the creative endeavour of putting together and the making available of the published edition, not the individual article;
  • would have no impact on readers’ ability to link and share articles by multiple share buttons
  • would not lead to a links tax
  • would not conflict with any legal exceptions to copyright including for teaching, illustration, research and private use
EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said: “It is high time that press publishers were treated in law the same as all other content producers. In this digital age, licensing is complex, particularly in the context of 24/7 content production and distribution over multiple platforms. 
“We welcome the European Commission’s support for an independent, free press in Europe and for understanding our urgent need for new, digital-appropriate legal rights in line with other content producers. A professional press publisher is subject to significant costs for the employment of, and legal protection of, highly-skilled journalists; for the financing, production and management of print and online editions, and for being legally answerable for the accuracy and quality of their content. A new publisher’s right would go some way to protecting that investment and supporting innovation in the sector.”
Note to Editors:  National laws have been introduced in Germany and Spain to address specific issues regarding the exploitation of publishers' content by third parties. Any European solution for a publisher's right should be applied without prejudice to such national laws, and must be forward looking, neutral, sufficientlybroad and flexible to be future proof for the years to come.  It must set an overall high standard of protection of freedom of the press, by recognising that a press publication is a creative endeavour and without this incentive to invest, it would not exist.
Access the Frequently Asked Questions here.
For further information and comment, please contact 
Heidi Lambert on Tel: +44 7932 141 291
Angela Mills Wade on Tel: +44 1865 310 732 or

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Media trends

I got this press release today, and I think it might be of interest:


[PRESSWIRE] London, United Kingdom - 24.02.16 -- For the fourth year running, the European Publishers Council (EPC) is delighted to bring to its members, key policy makers and interested journalists the latest data in global media trends. A free copy is available to the press on request.

The 500 data sets and 60,000 words of analysis tell the story of a seismic transformation in content development and publishing for newspapers and magazines:
• Social Media: Reading an article or news story is in the top five activities on Facebook: publishers have proactive social media strategies and social media advertising is on the increase. 
• Mobile: Publishers are adopting “mobile-first” strategies to deal with changes in competition and consumer behaviour – interaction and attention; but this affects profoundly production, distribution, monetisation, and content development.  Most consumers will be using their smartphones to access media content by 2019, going straight to specific articles (not the publication’s home page) and getting there via social media and not by search.  When they get there, today’s consumers want high quality, personally relevant content including on-demand video clips.  In the US, people using mobile to read newspapers has gone from less than 40% in March 2014 to more than 70% in March 2015.
Advertising: internet advertising is poised to overtake TV advertising but ad-blocking is a serious and expanding threat to publishers' revenues as it spreads from web to mobile.
EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade commented: “Amidst these data sets, there are reasons for optimism and excitement about the future, despite the challenges regarding global adspend for newspapers and ad-blocking on web and mobile sites.  There are many new opportunities, notably in mobile and social media, and, arguably, greater opportunity than ever to make content appealing and accessible to record numbers of consumers of all ages via their smartphones.”
Over the next year or so, the media will be subject to new and revised EU regulations in the fields of copyright, data privacy, audiovisual media services, text and data mining, and Big Data.
Angela continued: “We hope that our Global Media Trends Book will help to steer regulators and opinion formers towards appropriate and market-driven regulations based on actual worldwide digital content and usage trends. The press is a unique sector, where our values are as important to us as our profits but we do not operate on a level playing field with the big, techno-media players. Professional journalists need to be paid, trained, resourced and legally protected by their publishers.  Quality content is expensive.  However, regulators can help protect a free press by taking our important differences into account when legislating and making sure our pursuit of the provision of reliable information, analysis and entertainment is helped, not hindered to the benefit of all in Europe’s Digital Single Market. For in order to perform our vital role in society, our traditional media need to be financially viable.”
The EPC would like to thank Martha Stone and the World Newsmedia Network for another year’s excellent collaboration.  We would also like to thank the 60 contributing research companies for their ongoing support of this valuable resource for publishers, researchers, academics and media industry stakeholders.
For a free press copy of the report, or for further information, please contact Heidi Lambert at or
Tel: +44 7932 141 291 or Angela Mills Wade on Tel: +44 1865 310 732

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cats breaking loose

This morning at 5, I was awakened by the sound of Blacky and Inky hissing at a raccoon. Sleepily  wondering how a raccoon got into my house, I yelled, "Hey!"and feebly attempted to sit up in bed with three cats sitting on me.

Guffy was also sitting on me. (Sorry, I can't find my photo of Guffy AKA Tuffy 2nd.)

Oh, there's Guffy!

Then I remembered that the spare cats, who usually stay outside (by their choice, not mine) were inside when I went to bed. I'm not sure how long it was before I was able to get up and shut the back door,which Sweetie and Bobby had bullied open.

Bad cats!

By that time, I was fully awake and unable to get back to sleep. So I've been dragging all day, but my house is once again raccoon free.

Thursday, January 7, 2016