Whatever you say about Righthaven, you have to admit that they're not pulling an RIAA, making threats to people they believe will readily cave and pay them more money than it cost to send the copyright notices.
They're going after one of the most pugnacious bloggers in the whole blogosphere, the guy who stood up to an ex-Clinton aide and won. (What are they thinking? Are they thinking?)
Amazon pulled it only a couple of hours after making the announcement, leading to speculation that the announcement was a knee-jerk boilerplate Amazon sends out in the event of a complaint about any book (such as, say, a Tea Partier complaining about Amazon selling Obama's book, or a fundamentalist complaining about Amazon selling books about Satanism) whereas the decision to pull the pedophilia manual was made by someone high-ranking enough to be able to use his own judgment.
When you get down to it, Amazon rolled right over on the pedophile book, too.
Remember that high speed flip scanner that University of Tokyo researchers developed was done with the rationale of scanning manga for world-wide dissemination. (Manga publishers weren't too happy about the idea.) And they want to shrink it down and put it in cell phones!
I seem to recall hearing that the porn industry has historically always been one of the earliest adopters of any new media technology. DVDs, for instance—and also, erotica titles are just about the hottest-selling model of e-books (and one of the first big e-book stores (so old that one of their delivery options was snailmailed floppy disk!), Hard Shell Word Factory, was a romance/erotica publisher).
Perhaps they're among the earliest adopters of new business models, too.
Interestingly enough, William Shatner is doing a series for cable on this very idea, in which he talks with people who were formerly part of huge stories, like Bernard Goetz or the Malvos (his interview with them made the news itself).
Funny to see the review repost on YouTube, given that the Nostalgia Critic started out on YouTube before having to move to his own site due to YouTube taking his reviews down for copyright violations. Wonder how long that will stay up?
By the way, nobody can decisively say that it is or isn't fair use. Fair use is a legal defense, and as such has to be decided by a judge using a four-factor test. People can say that they think it is or isn't fair use, but there aren't really any bright lines.
Which is why the current copyright system is heavily tilted in favor of those who own the media, since even if everyone would agree something is a fair use and the copyright owner challenges it, the arguably fair user still has to pay his own defense costs and argue it out in court to get a declaration.
It's worse than that.
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it fair use is a defense, not a right, because each putative instance of it has to be considered separately—there's no "this will always be fair use" rule of thumb in legal terms, even if we laypeople like to claim this or that use is "obviously" fair. There's a four-factor test that has to be applied to judge each case.
Thus, Woodlief could very well have been sued by Joe Henry's record label if he'd gone ahead, over just those eight words. A court might well have found for him in the end, but in the meantime he (and his publisher) would have have had to pay the legal fees and deal with the stress of the lawsuit—over eight little, easily replaceable words.
So the fault in this case is not with overcautious publishers but with the system itself as it now stands.
Right. Remember, even though the Supreme Court held that you have the legal right to rip CDs to MP3s, you should still buy the CD AND the MP3s because purchasing one version doesn't entitle you to other versions of a given product.
Eh. I think that hardcover and paperback are convenient shorthands. People know that hardcovers cost more than paperbacks and come out first; they don't publish both editions at the same time. People getting hung up on "hardcover vs. paperback e-ink" are just looking for a fight to pick.
There's more going on here than scarcity vs. abundance, though. There's also the time factor involved.
I go into more detail about this in a TeleRead post scheduled to go up at 8:15 a.m. Central Time (in which I link this post, too), but bear in mind the difference between the cost of printing a paperback and printing a hardcover is only a buck or two—but hardcovers cost three times paperback price.
It's a premium on impatience. People who absolutely have to have the book right now will be willing to pay that extra cash. People who aren't, won't.
It's the same way with Baen's E-ARCs. Nobody seems to feel that they're somehow trying to pull a fast one by selling these less-proofed electronic advance reader copies for $15 three months before the final e-book comes out for $6. If people are impatient enough to want to pay that much for a draft version, they can. If not, nobody's forcing them to.
I don't see Macmillan's variable pricing plan as being substantially different in principle than that. Just on a longer time scale.
The Amazon/Macmillan feud blew the lid off of a simmering cauldron of resentment that e-book early adopters have been tending for a long time (ten years or more in some cases). It seems like a lot of authors and publishers aren't really aware of this, and tend to blame the loud complaints on a sense of "entitlement". This isn't strictly accurate.
Here is a post from a long-time reader who is very frustrated with high prices, lack of availability, and the poor quality of e-books—and being rebuffed when she tries to contact stores, publishers, and authors to have the errors fixed or to try to get their e-books available in her country.
And here is my post outlining how those who side with Macmillan and the angry readers of e-books have been talking past each other with neither clearly understanding what the other has to say.