from the and-this-is-why-you-fail dept
Dosh, of course, knew that this argument was specious. She points out that B&N, since it's not the copyright holder, cannot take action. I actually don't think this argument is all that compelling, really. B&N, as a private actor, certainly has the right to agree with a copyright holder that it will block photographs of their books or to decided, just as a private store, to block photography. Still, it appears the reason is somewhat misleading, and Dosh's later calls to B&N confirmed that they consider this a copyright issue. I'm a bit surprised that Dosh doesn't mention fair use, as it seems like there's an amazingly strong argument that there's a fair use claim here that would protect her from any copyright issue.
But, really, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the legal arguments one way or the other. As happens so often in copyright issues, it's about the common sense situation, and the fact that blocking photographs in the store makes no common sense. Basically, B&N is barring attempts by people to promote the in-store display for free, and that's silly. Stopping word of mouth marketing is a bad idea. Dosh digs in:
When I was in San Francisco last fall, I tweeted about the best winery I visited, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, and encouraged my followers to visit. It's four months later and that winery still tweets back and forth with me, which has added to my positive experience with them and caused me to continue to order wine all the way from back at my home in Atlanta.And yet, Barnes & Noble makes sure this is not possible... because it's afraid of some nebulous, questionable "copyright" claim. Of course, part of this demonstrates the problems of basic copyright law today (even if there isn't a valid copyright claim here). It's designed for a world where nothing is shared, where people aren't promoting things for you, and where all "content" is professionally produced for "consumption" by the riffraff. But reality is more complex. We talk to each other. We share. We promote. It's what we do. It's how culture works. It's how communication works. And copyright throws a wrench into all of that, which is really unfortunate.
Also while in San Francisco, I had the best meal experience of my life at Forbes Island via the recommendation of a person on Twitter who I've never met. Turns out they do absolutely no advertising, they simply exist on word of mouth and their fabulous product and service.
Last month, my boyfriend and I went to Asheville and got more good restaurant recommendations from our Twitter followers. We then proceeded to tweet pics of each and every gorgeous plate of food we had to encourage others to eat at these wonderful locations. I know of at least one follower who has already dined at one of these establishments based on our tweets.
For as long as there has been commerce, word of mouth has been a powerful advertising tool. Now instead of being able to reach the twenty-five other people in Jane’s sunday school class, you can reach potentially millions of people on Twitter.