Ursula K. Le Guin Resigns From Authors Guild, Because It Didn't Keep Up Its Silly Fight With Google

from the good-luck-to-you dept

Ursula K. Le Guin is a very famous author who many people insist is one of the best -- though, I have to admit never having read her stuff. Yet, she is one of those who is rather aggressive in policing the copyrights on her work, and who does not tend to side with those who believe in concepts like "fair use." Most certainly, she is not a fan of open culture. A few years ago, she got into a bit of a scrap with Cory Doctorow, because he dared to publish a single paragraph of hers in a blogpost as part of a larger (positive!) commentary.

Her latest scrap with the world of copyright is to publicly resign from the Authors Guild. I'm no fan of the Authors Guild myself, and find that it tends to take a rather antiquated view on things -- from its absolutely ridiculous claim that a Kindle with text-to-speech software infringes on authors' copyrights, to its equally backwards take on Google's book scanning project, which helped index books and make them more findable which many authors have found helps increase sales.

While I am not a fan of the (still ongoing) settlement efforts between Google and the Authors Guild, it is this settlement that has upset Le Guin so much. In her resignation letter, she claims refers to Google as "the devil," and claims that the Guild has abandoned "the whole concept of copyright." Of course, nothing is further from the truth, as the Authors Guild notes in its reply (found via Michael Scott). As the Authors Guild points out, Google had a more than decent chance of winning the lawsuit because of something called fair use, which Le Guin still doesn't appear to recognize as a key part of copyright law. In her own introduction to copyright law, fair use makes no appearance whatsoever.

It really is a shame. Many people tell me that Le Guin is a fantastic writer, but I have no desire to read works by someone who is afraid I might like it so much I might share that joy with someone else. I also have no interest in reading works by a science fiction author who seems to hate technology to the point of calling a tool like Google "the devil."


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  1.  
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    AJTP, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    "I have no desire to read works by someone who is afraid I might like it so much I might share that joy with someone else."

    Whereas I would argue it is especially important to read works by those who hold different views to ourselves.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Not surprising, really

    Artists are generally a pretty flaky lot. Talented novelists are among the worst. I mean, just read James Ellroy's 'My Dark Places'.

    Tin foil hats definitely don't interfere with the creative process, even if they do make one look rather silly.

    Expecting such people to be anything more than artists is bound to end in disappointment.

    The problem is that people will take her seriously, because she is a celebrity author. I have never understood why people take the pronouncements of celebrities more seriously than they take the pronouncements of anyone else, but they do.

    That's why e.g. sportscasting has become the domain of illiterate jocks.

     

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    spaceman spiff, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Le Guin the author

    I have been a big fan of Le Guin for well over 30 years. Her behavior in this case is a big disappointment to me. I hope that she is still compos enough to realize how totally stupid-seeming her actions are.

     

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    Jari Winberg (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:56am

    The devil's search

    So she likes to play with the devil by using its custom search on her web site.

    Anyhow, no need for me to read her books.

     

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    stephen, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    leguin

    leguin hasn't been a fantastic writer for 30 years, maybe more.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    FYI

    "she claims refers to Google as "the devil,""

    That can't be right.

    Also:

    "Tin foil hats definitely don't interfere with the creative process"

    And thank God for that, since the chapters of my own book I've posted are specifically labeled "conspiracy fiction"

    ;)

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Re:


    Whereas I would argue it is especially important to read works by those who hold different views to ourselves.


    I have no problem reading her views on copyright -- and responding to them. But I have no interest in reading her literary works.

     

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    MLS, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re the linked article by this author, not only does it not mention fair use, it does not mention anything about what rights are conferred by copyright. Frankly, it seems little more than advice to novices regarding dealing with publishers and the like.

    Sharing her work if you happen to like it is extremely easy. Either give someone your copy of the book, buy them a copy, or else give them a gift card to a store such as Barnes and Noble.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    "Re the linked article by this author, not only does it not mention fair use, it does not mention anything about what rights are conferred by copyright. Frankly, it seems little more than advice to novices regarding dealing with publishers and the like."

    I agree that fair use would not seem to fit within the obvious purpose of the linked article.

    "Sharing her work if you happen to like it is extremely easy. Either give someone your copy of the book, buy them a copy, or else give them a gift card to a store such as Barnes and Noble."

    Ignoring your obvious intent to disregard the premise behind 'sharing', is it even possible to give someone an eBook after you've finished with it?

     

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    bigpicture, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Consistently Application of Logic and Reasonl

    So then ask yourself if she applies this kind of logic and reason to this specific scenario, how good can the content of her books be?

    Would I read them? No! Simply because there just has to be something flawed about some of the concepts contained within, or maybe even with the major themes.

     

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    bob, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    The Lathe Of Heaven

    The only work by LeGuin that I have read was the The Lathe Of Heaven I liked it.
    I was only marginally happy with the SciFi Channels version.
    To bad I missed the PBS version, when I was out of the USA in service to Uncle.
    LeGuin seems to have an out look similar to Samuel Clemens regarding Copyright.
    Old and outdated.

     

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    Everitt Mickey, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Lequin and Science Fiction.

    Ursula Leuin writes Science Fiction?

    Who knew. I thought she wrote "squishy" fantasy stuff.

     

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    john, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

    Eh, she's 80 years old for chrissakes. Give her a break.

     

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    Andy (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Lequin and Science Fiction.

    You should check out The Dispossessed. A fantastic SciFi book - to me it's her finest work and one of my all-time favourites.

    I find it disappointing she can't deal with the changing world, but what can you do? She is about 80 now...

     

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    slander (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Rupert Murdoch is 78, what of it?

     

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    Lucretious, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    I'm a hardcore science fiction reader but I could never get into her stuff much even though she is considered by many to have been the best of the "new wave" sci-fi writers in the 60's. Too many ultra-leftist political analogies in her work that is somewhat off-putting (ie; "The Word for World is Forest" is a blatant Vietnam war analogy painting the human workers as mentally unstable rapists and murderers).

     

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    yogi, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Not surprising, really

    Allow me to second that sentiment and to add that, amazingly, I started to read a short story by Ursula today, and quit after only two paragraphs - she is way too full of herself and it shows in her writing.

     

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    MLS, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Re eBooks, I would need to take a look at any associated license.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > Re eBooks, I would need to take a look at any associated license.

    Which pretty much underscores the point of why otherwise law-abiding people get so frustrated with these things and don't have any problem with ignoring the law in this regard:

    If I can buy a copy of the latest Stephen King book at Barnes & Noble, take it home, read it, then pass it along to my family and friends for them to enjoy without having to check for a license or worry about violating copyright, why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing with the ebook version. Why should a book's format somehow be the deciding factor as to the morality, legality or ethics of situation?

     

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    :), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    :)

    I rather read Henry Miller LoL

     

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    Jake, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    If I restricted myself to the works of writers who actually understood how infinite-goods economics work, I'd run out of books in quite a hurry. You're just going to have to learn to live with this sort of thing, I'm afraid.

     

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    PWG, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Ursula LeGuin

    Deciding you have no interest in reading a writer's books because you disagree with the writer's political views on an issue of copyright, is a little like boycotting oatmeal because you don't like the picture of the Quaker. The contents might be good for you.

     

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    Mike Mixer, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Reading the works of those who hold different views

    I absolutely refuse to put money in the pocket of somebody that opposes what I feel to be truth in life. I stopped reading anything by Orson Scott Card after that ugly letter he wrote concerning his support of Prop 8 in California and I will do the same for this writer's work. The only way to deal with bad ideas is treat their adherents the same way you treat people who claim Jim Morrison is living next door, open derision with just a dab outright laughter. A list of all writers who resent and wish harm to google for this project should be compiled and posted on the web so the reading public can make a choice as to whether or not such morons deserve the title of "Paid Writer", I for one would rather see stupid people like that starve or flip burgers.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    The Dispossessed

    Oh, the irony that someone who could write such a classic novel about a world with no concept of private property or central government (or any mention of copyright or other “intellectual property” at all), could harbour such a half-arsed attitude to real-life society.

    I, too, used to be a fan (though of her science-fiction stuff, not her fantasy stuff). But now I’m having second thoughts...

     

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    ulfoaf (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    Another person living in the past

    She is elderly and having trouble adjusting to the modern world. Lots of people in literature and entertainment try to put the technology back in the bag. They try to protect their work so it is not easily copied and instead make it hard to buy! No one should flagrantly abuse copyright laws, but trying to suppress technology because a few break the law is just selfish.

    As an author, she is not THAT great. The Lathe of Heaven was good. The Left Hand of Darkness, where a race of people change sexes periodically, was unforgettable and very imaginative, but not in my top 100 favorites, & I've probably read 800 science fiction novels.

     

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    transmaster (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    I too am a hard core SciFi reader

    I have been a avid fan of SciFi for over 45 years. I have read and own all of LeGuin's books, Don't worry Madam LeGuin I did purchase all of them. I find them to be a struggle to read and once read you have no desire to read them again. I don't like to be beat over the head with her Berklyite political views. In my opinion in the realm of fantasy SciFi she has been eclipsed by Peirs Anthony, and David Eddings ( Mr. Eddings We will all miss you, Via Con Deos)to name just a couple. Judging by her tempestuous relationship with anyone who tries to adapt Her books to the picture screen it is not surprising she comes across as the personification of the Wicked Witch of The North. The fact her e-books and audio-books are all tracked on bit-torrent trackers must drive her batty. According to what I have read she is a real piece of humanity when she is boozed up.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Another person living in the past

    "She is elderly and having trouble adjusting to the modern world."

    This describes pretty much everyone over the age of thirty-five in the entertainment industry.

     

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    Longswd, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 6:24pm

    Re: The Lathe Of Heaven

    It's available commercially, I have it on DVD. I wasn't aware there was multiple versions, but the one I have is too old to be a SciFi Channel production, so I guess it is the PBS one. The Lathe of Heaven (1980) http://www.amazon.com/Lathe-Heaven-Bruce-Davison/dp/B00004U8P6/ It's very moving at times

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 9:10pm

    Re: I too am a hard core SciFi reader

    The fact her e-books and audio-books are all tracked on bit-torrent trackers must drive her batty.

    That reminds me, what's the market share of e-books vs. audio-books vs. paper books?

    Just how popular are the non-paper version of books?

     

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  30.  
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    Luci, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Ursula LeGuin

    No, it's like voting with your wallet. Perhaps they'll start to get a clue if their income is /really/ impacted.

     

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    wallow-T, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Ms.LeGuin

    Just chiming in here: "The Left Hand of Darkness" is one of the greatest works of art ever published under the science fiction banner, and "The Lathe of Heaven" is a spectacular, fast-paced, philosophical romp through the nature of reality.

    LeGuin is the daughter of a noted anthropologist, a field not too well represented in SF.

     

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    truth to the max, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Awesome...what a valid point!

     

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    Murphy's Lawyer, Dec 25th, 2009 @ 12:52am

    Cory Doctorow and Ursula LeGuin

    "A few years ago, she got into a bit of a scrap with Cory Doctorow, because he dared to publish a single paragraph of hers in a blogpost as part of a larger (positive!) commentary. "

    The single paragraph was a complete work. Ursula did not (and does not) believe that reproducing a complete work (and replacing her copyright notice with a Creative Commons notice) was Fair Use. Cory reports on this here.

    I can understand why Ursula felt righteously pissed over this one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2009 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Ursula LeGuin

    Yes, they'll blame ebook piracy.

     

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    Tek'a R (profile), Dec 25th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: Cory Doctorow and Ursula LeGuin

    your summation seems to show that you did not read the article/letter you linked to.

    I will take this opportunity to reproduce, for the purposes of commentary, a single paragraph originally published in a noncommercial venue as fair use under 17USC, the American copyright statute.

    ~
    * I believe that blogging such a short work in toto, for the purposes of commentary, when the work had initially been published as a letter to the editor of a noncommercial fanzine, was fair use (but that I was happy to remove the quote if Ms Le Guin didn't want it on Boing Boing)

    * Quoting a work on a page bearing a Creative Commons license does not put the work into the Creative Commons -- commonsense and norms apply here, and tens of millions of CC-licensed blog-posts quote material without putting it into the Commons.

    * Though I didn't quote the copyright notice that appeared in Ansible, I did clearly state the author and time of publication in the post. The copyright notice isn't necessary in this context, since it creates no further statutory rights for the author being quoted, and identifying the author and date of publication is all that is required here to affirm the copyright in the work.
    ~ Posted by Cory Doctorow, October 14, 2007
    ~http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/14/an-apology-to-ursula.html

    Do you see the difference between what you claimed and what was said/the facts of the case, Murphy's Lawyer?

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 25th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re:

    LOL ... they should mate and release the video ... ewww!!! on second thought Paris was bad enough I really dont want to go blind ...

     

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    Dementia (profile), Dec 25th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    I have read a number of her works and enjoyed most of them. However, after being made aware of her position on copyright, I do not believe that I will be supporting her work any longer. While some may say that I am depriving myself, or the Sci Fi culture, of future works, I say it is a decision whose repercussions I am willing to live with. I have no desire to support someone who believes they should be entitled to monetary gain for work performed decades ago. As many have mentioned, the original idea of copyright, and patents for that matter, was to create a TEMPORARY monopoly, not an eternal source of revenue.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Dec 26th, 2009 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Reading the works of those who hold different views

    I try to separate the personal views of the artist from the work itself. For example, I find Card's literary works often brilliant but his personal views reprehensible. Those views don't stop me from enjoying the books, just as Michael Jackson's personal life never stopped me from enjoying his work.

    The only valid exception is this kind of thing, where the people who actually read the books are attacked. Maybe that sounds a little harsh, but I'm somebody who only came across Le Guin's work by hearing it mentioned on a free podcast then stumbling across a novel in a second hand book store. She's basically arguing for a stop to the digital version of what I did, with a scary view of copyright that assumes no fair usage rights for readers.

    I often wonder what people like this would have been arguing for had they been around when libraries and the second hand market were being created. I suspect they'd be arguing against them, and thus they don't want me as a fan. I have no desire to support an author who believes that the way I enjoy their work is somehow immoral, so I won't bother.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Dec 26th, 2009 @ 2:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's also not a simple case of just "checking" the licences - the eBook sellers enforce DRM to make sure you don't break them, and in the process break your ability to exercise your fair use rights or to use it on any device you wish.

    That's one of the reasons I don't bother with eBooks. I can do whatever I want with a paperback after I'm done, from lending to a family member to trading with a stranger to selling for hard cash on Amazon. Unless they start getting significantly cheaper than a physical second hand paperback, a DRMed ebook is worth less to me than the non-existent paper it's written on.

     

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    Mal, Dec 26th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    You people have no clue.

     

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    DB, Dec 26th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Sigh of relief ...

    At least it looks like this one can be blamed on the client, not the lawyer ...

     

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    MK, Dec 26th, 2009 @ 10:01pm

    I'm really confused by all this. Ms. LeGuin's letter outlined a number of reasons that she was dissatisfied with the Author's Guild, so it doesn't seem like she just freaked out. While I'm sure she feels very strongly about copyright issues and the Google settlement, there's nothing in what I've read here that shows that she's somehow opposed to all sharing, discussing, mentioning, or quoting of her works.
    She did not really call Google the devil. "Deal with the devil" is just an expression, for heaven's sake.
    Also, she's awesome. I'm sad for those of you who are rejecting her out of hand over this one issue.

     

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    mhenriday (profile), Dec 27th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Amazing that an author like Ms Le Guin,

    whose best works constitute a triumph of the imagination, reveals so little understanding of the changes that new technology will inevitably bring to the way in which readers access books - and which, moreover, will likely benefit both authors and readers. But authors, as a previous commentator have pointed out, do tend to be a flaky lot, and in any event, Google as the «devil» would have been imaginative if Ms Le Guin hadn't been proceeded by the likes of Microsoft, publishers, etc.... Henri

     

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    dkazaz (profile), Dec 27th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Given the extended periods of time during which the majority of her works were out of print (you could hardly find any of her stuff during the last 10 years), you would think she'd grab any opportunity for promotion.

    Unfortunately it seems to have simply left her with a deep insecurity. It's hardly worth criticizing her, she's clearly out of touch. Oh well, even the best visionaries can eventually fall out of sync with the world.

     

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    Anthony Cooper, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.
    Asking to be excluded from Google's book scanning project is like asking to be excluded from history, from posterity.
    Like Mike says, obscurity is a far greater threat to an artist than piracy.
    Therefore, if Ms. Le Guin wishes to be left out of the annals of time, then I say it's our OBLIGATION to grant her request to be banished to obsurity, and society will be the better for it!

     

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    Alexis, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    You short piece misconstrues what Doctorow did

    "A few years ago, she got into a bit of a scrap with Cory Doctorow, because he dared to publish a single paragraph of hers in a blogpost as part of a larger (positive!) commentary."

    In fact the "single paragraph" was a complete copy of an entire paragraph-long published story.

     

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    CyberCrone (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Second sourcing

    I had an interesting personal experience with Ms. Le Guin. I once wrote to her to tell her that a particular essay in a collection she published was especially valuable to me, and in that letter I told her I thought the essay was so important that I had photocopied it and sent it to friends. In her reply she expressed not even the slightest objection to my sharing the essay in this way. Make of this what you will.

    People, it's a bad idea to form an opinion and make decisions about your own future actions based on what in journalism is called a "second source" - in this case, one individual's incomplete take on a situation involving Ms. Le Guin. A few people commenting here did go to the original sources before making a judgement and thank whatever powers that be that there are a few such people left in the world.

    To the rest of you, beware this trap of the Web. Misinformation abounds, some of it intentional. Don't add to it, no matter how innocently. Go to the original source before expressing an opinion. Otherwise you end up a puppet of the multitude of manipulators on the Web.

     

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    Frances Grimble, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    The Google/Author's Guild Settlement completely sidesteps the issue of whether scanning a complete book to display "snippets" is fair use. Instead, the Settlement is an ongoing publishing contract that gives Google broad publication and sales powers that last for the entire copyright term.

    This means the Author's Guild's reply to Ursula LeGuin is bogus. Yes, the AG _might_ have lost the "snippet" suit in court. No lawsuit is a sure thing. However, if the AG had _won_ their original suit--or at the very least hammered out in court a harmless-to-copyright-holders definition of "snippet"--that precedent _would_ have protected copyright holders. Since the AG set no precedent, any and every other party that wants to scan entire books to display "snippets" is still free to do so and wait for someone to sue _them_.

    In short, the Author's Guild has protected no copyrights at all. They've just given Google a huge grant of rights owned by numerous copyright holders with no connection to either the Author's Guild or Google, and which, contrary to Google's PR, are by no means all out-of-print or so-called orphan works.

     

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    Frances Grimble, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    By the way, those on this list who believe Google is a kind of Robin Hood, taking copyrighted works from those "overpaid" authors to give them to the public, should read the Settlement. It's all about Google _charging_ for these works, and taking most of the profits.

     

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    Frances Grimble, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Objections to the Settlement

    It takes an author anywhere from one to several years of full-time work to research and write a book. It takes several tens of thousands of dollars--at the very least--to publish a book. Much of that money is spent on such tasks as editing, indexing, fact checking, book design, cover design, illustration, and other things, such as translations from foreign languages, that still have to be done even if the book is an e-book. Numerous employees and freelancers work on the book in addition to the author. The publisher has considerable overhead--offices, computer equipment, accounting services, etc.--that exists regardless of book format.

    The author, the freelancers, the publishers' employees, etc., all have to pay for housing and groceries just like you do. These are professions: People learn professional skills, do full-time professional work, and need to get paid for it. Often they are not that well paid, but they cannot afford to work for free. It is unfair to expect numerous people to give away all their work to you, while you get paid for your own professional work.

    The Google Settlement is NOT about legally approving the current Google Book Search. It is a 300+ page publishing contract negotiated by a handful of parties on behalf of millions of copyright holders who have no connection with the suit and no power to modify the contract. The Settlement applies to all works published in most English-language countries before January 2009, regardless of their in-print status and regardless of the locatability of the copyright holders. It makes Google the publisher of entire books, as both e-books, and print-on-demand books, and sets Google up as both a bookstore and a wholesaler to sell rights to third parties. It also gives Google the right to sell ads next to the book pages, and none of the ad revenues go to the copyright holders. The other terms are also far inferior to most publishing contracts.

    Essentially, Google has claimed publication rights for almost every book published in the English language. This is not an altruistic act, and copyright holders have every reason to object to it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Frances Grimble, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Objections to the Settlement

    It takes an author anywhere from one to several years of full-time work to research and write a book. It takes several tens of thousands of dollars--at the very least--to publish a book. Much of that money is spent on such tasks as editing, indexing, fact checking, book design, cover design, illustration, and other things, such as translations from foreign languages, that still have to be done even if the book is an e-book. Numerous employees and freelancers work on the book in addition to the author. The publisher has considerable overhead--offices, computer equipment, accounting services, etc.--that exists regardless of book format.

    The author, the freelancers, the publishers' employees, etc., all have to pay for housing and groceries just like you do. These are professions: People learn professional skills, do full-time professional work, and need to get paid for it. Often they are not that well paid, but they cannot afford to work for free. It is unfair to expect numerous people to give away all their work to you, while you get paid for your own professional work.

    The Google Settlement is NOT about legally approving the current Google Book Search. It is a 300+ page publishing contract negotiated by a handful of parties on behalf of millions of copyright holders who have no connection with the suit and no power to modify the contract. The Settlement applies to all works published in most English-language countries before January 2009, regardless of their in-print status and regardless of the locatability of the copyright holders. It makes Google the publisher of entire books, as both e-books, and print-on-demand books, and sets Google up as both a bookstore and a wholesaler to sell rights to third parties. It also gives Google the right to sell ads next to the book pages, and none of the ad revenues go to the copyright holders. The other terms are also far inferior to most publishing contracts.

    Essentially, Google has claimed publication rights for almost every book published in the English language. This is not an altruistic act, and copyright holders have every reason to object to it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    EH, Sep 5th, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    Re: I too am a hard core SciFi reader

    I was with you until you brought up "Peirs [sic] Anthony, and David Eddings", two of the most outrageous hacks ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    spookie (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    I have always loved Ms. LeGuin's work

    though, admittedly more the SF than the fantasy. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" might be the piece I most recommend to people unfamiliar with SF in it's defense. "The Left Hand of Darkness" changed my world-view. Ms. LeGuin's commentary on the SF "ghetto" in Galaxy Magazine in the 1970's shaped my view of science fiction and it's relationship to literature. But Ms. LeGuin has little understanding of the purpose of copyright and no concept of the well-established legal concept of fair use. Furthermore, she minimalizes Cory Doctorow's experience with the SFWA, which didn't "make a mistake and misidentify" one of Cory's works posted at a sharing site as infringing, they sent a letter indicating that they legally represented Cory and demanding the work be removed. In fact, Cory was not represented by the ebook piracy committee of the SFWA and is well-known for his encouragement of his fans to share his work freely. Cory name was undeniably damaged by Mr. Burt's misrepresentation that he was representing Cory in the take-down notice that many of Cory's fans took as Cory encouraging sharing on the one hand, then threatening to sue those who followed his admonishment to share freely on the other. There is no provision in copyright allowing a trade organization to act on a member's behalf without the member's permission. There IS a provision in copyright law for fair use.

    Furthermore, copyright is intended to apply to commercial use of copyrighted works, not private, noncommercial, personal use. Ms. LeGuin seeks to limit fan fiction because in the age f the internet people have more friends. As disingenuious a hack as he is of late, I can more easily support GRRMartin's idiot idea that all fanfic is infringement than Ms. LeGuin's notion that fanfic was okay pre-internet but is suddenly not because a fanfic work may reach more non-paying friends than before. (I do wonder how either of these New Wavers became SF writers since they seem to have such a short-sighted view of technology. Both of them have such a way with prose, and once saw so far. It's really a shame.) Reinstating the committee that misrepresented itself and illegally had Cory Doctorow's work removed from a a sharing site, as Ms. LeGuin suggests is a step backward for people who are supposed to be in the business of looking forward.

    I was impressed by Cory's gracious apology to Ms. LeGuin and his removal of clearly non-infringing material, rather than do what I would have done--allowed Ms. LeGuin to attempt to have the material removed through the courts. He expressed genuine respect for both Ms. LeGuin and her work, and repeatedly stated that he would not have posted his (extremely positive) commentary had he believed she would be hurt by it. That she (and Mr. Pournelle, another author I loved and respected in the 20th century who failed to join us here in the 21st century.) felt the need to be obnoxiously hurtful on both her own webpage and Mr. Pournelle's demonstrates that she is no longer in touch with the present, let alone the future.

    I won't be buying any more of Ms. LeGuin's books. The only way to let an author know their behavior is unbefitting an SF writer is to stop supporting them. She and Mr. Pournelle will be joining GRRMartin in my list of SF authors I will no longer support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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