Random House Loses in E-Books Ruling

A federal judge in New York ruled that authors Kurt Vonnegut and William Styron could publish previously written novels online without the consent of their book publisher.

Judge Sidney Stein's ruling struck down a lawsuit that Random House filed against the authors after they signed deals to publish their works at www.rosettabooks.com. Stein said the publishing house could not claim rights to the authors' e-books because the format was not included in their book contracts.

While the lawsuit was filed in February, rosettabooks.com continued to sell titles by the authors through downloads that cost about $6. Downloads are available in Microsoft Reader, Acrobat Reader and Acrobat eBook formats.

Vonnegut is the author of such novels as “Slaughterhouse Five,” while Styron is best known for his book “Sophie's Choice.”

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