The Daily Square – Shave Your Beard Edition

February 25th, 2008 · 4 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Today’s links of interest:

  • The Ethicist – New York Times
    Note the first item, in which a group of individuals seeks solutions to acquire an out-of-print (and not likely to go into print) book. The addendum is interesting, but the question remains essential: when will publishing make a serious, industry-wide digital push of back catalog?
  • It?s Time to End the Format Wars in the Ebook Industry
    Jane at Dear Author builds upon our frequent commentary about the stupidity of forcing format wars on consumers.

File Under: The Daily Square

4 responses so far ↓

  • Jane // Feb 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I thought the Ethicist article was most interesting – the idea that in some instances the ethical nature of posting ecopies of a book might not be in concert with the legalities. A few of us tried to argue this (I think unsuccessfully) at the SB site a few weeks ago.

  • Kassia Krozser // Feb 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Wasn’t that Ethicist thing just the thing? I’m very much of the “if you have a book, but nobody can buy it, do you really have a book?” camp. The whole idea that useful books can simply be unavailable makes me crazy. We’re remodeling and I found myself doing a book purge this weekend. So many books were sent to a good home because I know I’m never going to remember I have them, much less reread them.

    However…man, a lot of those books aren’t going to republished either. Who wins in that situation? I’d buy electronic versions happily if they were available (in a format that is usable across multiple devices), but, alas, well, you know.

  • Jane // Feb 26, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Yes, yes. I have been buying old Harlequin Presents on ebay and at amazon at $3.00 a pop (including shipping). I would much rather pay the money for an ecopy or do what the pilots have done which is send a check to the author and download a free copy.

    I think the one area that presents a weakness and best exemplifies the over-reach of the current copyright laws is dealing with out of print books where the authors are deceased and have no estate or where they are uneducated about monetizing the backlist. The perpetuation of constraints on the sharing of knowledge can only serve to weaken the strengths of the copyright act overtime.

    I do think that there will have to be some rethinking of copyright in the digital age. It is doubtful that print work will be the main medium for literature in 25 years and so really, the time is now to start thinking about how to best reform the law to serve the original intent.

  • Kassia Krozser // Feb 26, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    A long time ago in a life far away, I spent time and money (more time) buying older titles that I was sure I’d want to read some day. This past weekend, as part of the great remodel project, I sent so many of those books to the Salvation Army in hopes they would find a good home. I kept more than a few, sure, but my house simply can’t hold all the books I own. They must reside in tubs in the garage. So many of those books were forgotten over the years, yet, as I pulled them out, I recalled this moment or that — the specific reasons I kept the book. If I could identify that reason, the book stayed.

    You are so right that (cutting through the lawyerese) the current copyright laws do not provide sufficient flexibility. I am appalled by what I consider the Disneyfication of copyright law (hear me roar, Adam Schiff, my Representative whom I usually support but find very much on the wrong side of this issue) — when Mickey Mouse edges toward the public domain, copyright law is adjusted accordingly.

    We’re not only seeing the lack of reason when it comes to books, but also when it comes to film and music — we may see the death of historical documentary due to the onerous burden (redundant?) of copyright. Finding owners, paying owners, clearing rights…if you’re already operating on a shoestring, how does this happen? The reason many old television series aren’t available on DVD or won’t be available as downloadable media in a timely manner? Clearing and paying for copyrighted music contained in the show.

    I think copyright owners deserve fair compensation. I also think there’s a public service aspect that has been sadly neglected. We have to rethink the process of obtaining, perpetuating, and using copyright in this new era. Actually, many of us already are as we adopt such licenses such as Creative Commons. There will come time for a serious debate that includes all players — and I really want to be part of it.