Author Calls Other Authors Who Give Away Content Scabs
from the say-what? dept
It appears that some folks are really, really confused. While there are plenty of people in the content creation industry who insist that even if they don’t want to give away their own content, they have no problem if others do — it appears that not everyone subscribes to that belief. Petréa Mitchell writes in to let us know about a statement from the VP of the Science Fiction Writers of America calling those who give away content online “webscabs” who he claims hurt other authors by undercutting the price of their work:
“I’m also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they’re undercutting those of us who aren’t giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.”
Who knew that letting the market work its magic was such a dangerous thing? The truth is that it’s not. As many have pointed out in response to his comments, the economy is not a zero sum game. One person doing well doesn’t necessarily mean someone else does worse. In fact, the use of non-scarce goods given out for free tend to increase the pie by increasing the value of the scarce goods. It’s even more amusing that this guy, a science fiction writer, doesn’t seem to realize this, when there’s clear evidence from publishers like Baen Books that giving away content for free increases sales.