Log in

02 February 2012 @ 11:14 am
Linky linky  

-E. Sedia on copyright law and intellectual property. Seriously stuff worth reading and mulling on.

-Edroxy (Roxanne) has a series on French Female Writers Through the Centuries: her latest review is of Marie NDiaye’s Three Strong Women, here. Whole series is worth reading, but this has some interesthing thoughts about NDiaye herself, and her sense of identity, or “truncated mixity” as she calls it, and handling what people expect her to write vs what she actually writes.

-Nancy Fulda on Readers, Feedback and Good Stories. One of the hardest lessons I learnt as a beginning writer is that you can’t please everyone (probably because by temperament and by upbringing, I tend to be nice to everyone)

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

Zornhauzornhau on February 2nd, 2012 11:04 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Copyright and IP. I think one issue is that epublish enables authors to live off their backlists as they grow and develop. So most people don't stay in print for 14 years - true - but dive over to Mike Resnick's site: http://mikeresnick.com/?page_id=455

If somebody has genuinely contributed to the common culture, then is it fair to expropriate their investment?

Aliette de Bodard: dragonaliettedb on February 2nd, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
I think the main problem here is one of balance--I don't agree we should completely de-copyright everything, however, it strikes me as extremely unfair to apply US/UK copyright laws everywhere and to everything, especially when you consider that they're being shaped by some rather shady things like heavy lobbying (case in point, the successive extensions of copyright past the author's death in order to avoid Disney characters falling into the public domain, which are just plain corporate greed). To take just another example: all the DVDs I have at home now start with this little rolling text that forbids us from showing it in schools and hospitals--aside from this striking me as extremely petty, France didn't use to have laws like that. It's US IP law brought over to us. And I've blogged about this before, but if we're really going to have a common framework for this, it shouldn't be about big US corporations steamrolling over the rest of the world.

Also, I don't think that copyright should extend past more than a few years past the death of the author--it's fair for them to be paid, but I don't see why their grandchildren and great-grandchildren should continue to enjoy anything other than moral rights (I do see a few problems with that, such as the artist dying young, with children that need to be supported, but they can always be sorted out in another fashion).

If somebody has genuinely contributed to the common culture, then is it fair to expropriate their investment?
I see what you mean, but this is... I don't know how to say it exactly, but the way in which it's framed places pecuniary value above everything else, and I find this slightly worrying? (which is maybe not what you were trying to say?) I read it as implying that an artist only contributes to the common culture because they expect to get something out of it in return--that they write something and give ideas, and want to *own* everything that derives from there, in the sense of financial returns? Sorry, I'm having a lot of trouble framing this? It's like we're trying to put a pecuniary value on everything, and part of what Ekaterina was saying is that culture isn't restricted to that.
I certainly don't think of my contribution to culture in terms of what it's worth.

I'm not saying we should abolish copyright and IP laws, but I do think they're in need of a good overhaul, and that Ekaterina is right that the copyright holders (authors/companies/publishers/various representatives) shouldn't be the only ones with a say in how they're reformulated.
Zornhauzornhau on February 2nd, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
Sure, it's complicated.

Basically, writing fiction - as an example - has an Opportunity Cost. I write for the goddam love of it, but the time I spend writing could also be spent in ways to support my family, and me in old age.

Similarly, if I was in business, the time I spent pursuing my dream of creating the perfect teashop chain would be at the cost of time spent pursuing other possibilities.

So, regarding art for art's sake etc:

In both cases, I'd be doing it for the love of it. However, prudence and duty would demand that unless I can make either pay, I keep them at the hobby level.

Nobody would think it wrong for me to want to support me and mine through working fulltime on my teashops, even if everybody knew that I was the world's greatest tea evangelist. Why should writing be different?

So it's not about morality or fairness, just choices and consequences. Money buys writing time.

Regarding IP as property:

This follows on from the above. Many of us feel responsible not just for our selves, but for our heirs. I have a wife and two children, who will need money for college and then, possibly, to start their own businesses. Also, at some point I'm going to be old.

So, whatever I put my effort into had better have some chance of generating a passive income!

Working hard e.g. in the City could do that because I could amass money to invest. A business might also do, since I could either sell it, or put in managers to run it. Me, I'd rather have people buy ebooks from my backlist as per Mike Resnick.

So, I have this choice. Again, not about morality or fairness. Do I build up money, a business, or a body of work?

The consequence of no way of earning of the latter is that it will not come into existence in the first place.

In Dark Age terms, feed and cloth your storyteller or he will be forced to leave your mead hall and go back to farming! He won't be happy about that, and nor will you.

Finally, morality:

Why is it OK to expropriate my fiction but not my business or my investments?

It strikes me that the same people who value creativity over business skills, and positively despise investment types are strangely happy to work to force the creatives back into dayjobs.

Is it just that it's now easy to steal* IP and clever people can always find clever ways of justifying their selfish actions.

*And yes, it is stealing since it takes money away from the people who created it.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on February 2nd, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
I've found Edroxy's series of posts invaluable, I have to say. (Though my Amazon.fr wishlist is getting out of hand!)
Aliette de Bodard: yokoaliettedb on February 2nd, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yup, they're awesome (and they make me realise how biased our French literature courses are towards men, which is just plain annoying).
desperancedesperance on February 2nd, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
Hmm. Only a cad would suggest that Ekaterina wait ten years, then see how she feels about giving all her early work away for nothing. And whether she still agrees with herself after twenty years and thirty years, as her backlist grows and becomes actually the bulk of everything she will ever write. (Me, I actually do have a couple of books that have stayed in print more than fourteen years, which I would be disinclined to see appropriated by the common good or anyone else; I have a lot more books and stories that are more than fourteen years old, which I am bringing back into print now and taking income from, and very grateful I am to be able to do that in the current climate.)
Aliette de Bodard: dragonaliettedb on February 2nd, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
As said above, I don't feel we should abolish copyright, but I do think the current system has more than a few problems (especially in the light of electronic diffusion models), and that it needs some fixing and some serious thought--something that goes beyond the knee-jerk reaction of "arg please don't touch my money" (I'm definitely in the camp of people who would like to enjoy the benefit of a backlist when I'm older, but I don't think it's normal that my copyright would extend 70+ years past my death. And there should be provisions for derivative works that are a little less strict than they are currently, though I'm aware it's a hard line to draw).
desperancedesperance on February 2nd, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's normal that my copyright would extend 70+ years past my death.

Yup. Until last year I would cheerfully have said that I didn't much care that it extended any time at all beyond my death. As it did, then of course the Lit & Phil could have the benefit, but it was no skin off my nose and I didn't really see why a novelist's children should be privileged to rake in money for nothing, and and and.

Now, of course, I'm getting married, and I think Karen should absolutely have the benefit of my copyrights, until such time as she doesn't need them any more. But double-yup, except in weird circumstances, I think seventy years is way too long.

And there should be provisions for derivative works that are a little less strict than they are currently, though I'm aware it's a hard line to draw

I still don't care about derivative works; I am a fanfic denier. I'm not at war with it, I just, y'know. Don't care. And wouldn't go out of my way to see the law changed to its benefit, any more than I'd go out of my way to see the law used against it. In the Venn diagram of my life, we have no intersection.
Aliette de Bodard: dragonaliettedb on February 2nd, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
He, I don't care about derivative works either, but it's more like... fair use, I'd say? If you want to quote a bit of a song, or a bit of a book, or a bit of music, you shouldn't have to be beholden to the original creator? (well, OK, you can be beholden to them as an inspiration, I just don't think it should all boil down to money). That, short of copying and pasting an entire work, you should get some freedom to draw from other people.