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googlibrary

as an aspiring (soon to be published!) writer myself, i am really flummoxed by the flap over google's plan to scan books and make them available for free.

yesterday, the american association of publishers officially filed a lawsuit against google to stop it from making books available for free. making books available for free is an admirable goal, because everyone should read, but not everyone can afford to buy a lot of books. it also helps authors rather than hurts them, because it allows books to be seen by a wider audience.

this is one of these cases where people seem to get in an incredible uproar over something because there's technology involved and for no other reason.

for all those of you who might be tempted to say that the publishers taking google to court are motivated by trying to protect the rights of the authors whose works they distribute, let me ask you this: how would you feel if they started trying to shut down libraries? aren't they doing the same thing?

here's a wonderful letter from author meghann marco, who wants her book published through google, but can't get her publisher to cooperate.

Comments

The main problem as I see it is copyrights. After all, why buy the book when you can just go online and read it? I mean, I would certainly like to be paid if I'm publishing, but letting Google just come in and giving it away to everybody is not a happy thought for me... and they didnt want to ask permission, so thats a bit of a problem, as far as copyrights are concerned...
flora_mundi said…
good point, but once again, i return to the example of libraries. the existence of libraries does not prevent me from buying books, even though i could easily read them for free. i don't necessarily buy into the argument that people will refuse to buy a finished product if they can get the content for nothing.

i download music as well, but that still doesn't stop me from buying it. if i download and don't buy it, it generally means that a) i can't find it or b) i didn't like it enough to buy it to begin with. either way, the decision to download music doesn't have any bearing on where i put my money.

that said, there are a lot of people who would like to "scam" people who put work into things like books. the question is how big a proportion of the population are they and how do we deal with them?

as long as you're here, why not read more?

the world at war?

in my semi-smug but genuinely curious way, i posted a question on my facebook page earlier: how much of the world has to be at war before it counts as world war iii?



the first response i got raised the very legitimate point that this is the sort of question that gets answered by historians, once the haze of the present has faded. the other important factor is that people don't just declare war on each other the way that they used to. major powers entered both the of the world wars with the blessings of their own parliaments, whereas conflicts since world war ii have happened in coded language, sometimes circumventing the political process in the interests of expediency. president reagan never declared war on the nicaraguan government in the eighties, for example, but the united states was clearly in a state of armed conflict, even if most of the arms were being carried by their proxies, the contras.

whether or not we are living in a world at war is a tricky question. despite what…

diet diary, part 2

so the battle with the bulge continues. i'm actually becoming used to the pace, although for some reason my stomach still seems to think it needs far more food than it actually does.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.