Much Ado About Nothing: The Brouhaha over #AmtrakResidency’s Terms of Service

bildeYou may have heard, if you’re friends with writers, that Amtrak, inspired by an exchange on Twitter, has come up with a really cool program called #AmtrakResidency where writers can catch a cross-country train (with Amtrak picking up the fare) and trek across the states while working on their next big novel. Truth be told, there is something very cool about writing while on a train. The world is your television, and seeing the country rush by you—given the atmosphere of riding the train across our majestic landscape—is nothing short of inspiring.

No, “rush by” is not the right description. From the window of your Amtrak observation desk or sleeper car, a cross-country odyssey unfolds all around you.

It all sound very poetic, which is why some crusaders of truth, justice, and “Your Content is YOURS” did a massive deep-dive into the terms of the #AmtrakResidency Program and  speculate there is trouble at mill when it comes to your content. Nuzzled within the terms of giving you, the author, free train fare in exchange for this opportunity to write, Amtrak reserves “the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy the name, image, and/or likeness of Applicant and the names of any such persons identified in the Application for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing. (taken from #6. Grant of Rights of #AmtrakResidency Program)”

This sent some in the writing community into a right tizzy. New York Times Bestseller Diane Duanne warns on her blog “Never sell anyone world rights to any of your writing. Ever. Ever. Because who knows if that one piece of writing is the one that would have made you famous worldwide and rich beyond the dreams of avarice? Or more to the point, what if they later do something with your writing that is absolutely opposite to your intentions and which you find harmful or offensive? You’d have no recourse there either.”

She used bold AND italics. Wow. This must be serious. Continue reading

The Dwarf Detective is on the iPhone, waiting for your call!

Hey, everyone!

New Singing Sword Cover

cover artwork by J.R. Blackwell

While you all know that the dwarf detective is one for the low-tech solutions like Beatrice and a good battle-axe, you may not know that the award-winning The Case of The Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery is now available for the iPhone! Sure you can download Billi on the iPhone and iPod Touch in audio but now you can pick up a copy of Billi’s first big case as an iPhone application. Along with The Case of The Singing Sword, the Fey Trickster is also causing (double) trouble at the iTunes Store with Chasing the Bard also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Take a look and show the love. Let iPhone and iPod Touch users know that Double Trouble has now hit the iTunes Application store.

And yes, The Case of The Pitcher’s Pendant and Digital Magic are both en route. Stay tuned…