Last week we linked to the news that once again, J.K. Rowling will not allow e-book versions of the new Harry Potter book over fears of piracy. Now, a lot of people are talking about a story that is almost the reverse of this situation. Popular blogger and marketing guru Seth Godin is angry after seeing a copy of his e-book, Everyone's an Expert, appear on Amazon as a physical book. This is definitely not your typical piracy story, as the e-book is available for free, whereas this unauthorized physical version is being sold at a price. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Godin's complaint carries much water, since he chose a Creative Commons license for this book that allowed for this kind of reproduction. So, not only is the physical copy legitimate, it appears that this is what's supposed to happen when someone puts this kind of license on a book. If an author is not interested in making money, but in spreading their ideas around, then it makes sense to allow third parties to print up copies of the book, and recoup their costs. It seems that Godin basically made a mistake by licensing the book in a manner contrary to his own wishes, which is unfortunate, but it's a good lesson to other writers that may be interested in Create Commons licensing that they should take the time to really see what it means before slapping it on willy nilly. At the same time, there's nothing stopping Godin from doing what he's doing now: promoting the fact that you can still get the ebook for free from him, rather than paying the fee to whoever is printing up copies and selling them. If anything, it seems likely that this hubbub should only serve to get more attention for his book -- which is just the type of crazy marketing stunts we thought Godin liked.
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