Pixel Scroll 7/24/20 Khrushchev’s Due At Tralfamadore. File 770, Where Are You?

(1) COMIC-CON STREAM IS LEGAL, GETS BLOCKED ANYWAY. “Cartoon Network and Star Trek Panels at San Diego Comic-Con Were Blocked by Youtube’s ContentID” – which reminded The Digital Reader of what happened to the Hugo Awards livestream in 2012.

Alas, no one was paying attention to Youtube’s ContentID copyright bot yesterday until after it shut down a couple officially sponsored livestreams from San Diego Comic-con. The first to get the boot was a Star Trek panel, and then a couple hours later Cartoon Network’s panel was also cut off.

Here’s why this is newsworthy: Both of these panels were blocked by Youtube the networks were streaming content that belonged to the networks.

Ars Technica reported “CBS’ overzealous copyright bots hit Star Trek virtual Comic-Con panel”

ViacomCBS kicked things off today with an hour-long panel showing off its slew of current and upcoming Star Trek projects: DiscoveryPicardLower Decks, and Strange New Worlds.

The panel included the cast and producers of Discovery doing a read-through of the first act of the season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2.” The “enhanced” read-through included sound effects, effects shots, and storyboard images meant to bolster the actors as they delivered lines from their living rooms and home offices.

Even if the presentation didn’t look like a real episode of Discovery to the home viewer, it apparently sounded close enough: after the Star Trek Universe virtual panel began viewers began to lose access to the stream. In place of the video, YouTube displayed a content ID warning reading: “Video unavailable: This video contains content from CBS CID, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

After being blacked out for about 20 minutes, the panel was restored, and the recording of the virtual panel has no gaps in playback.

The Digital Reader reminded everyone: 

This is not the first time that livestreams have been blocked when they were legally using content; I am reminded of the  Worldcon awards dinner livestream that was shut down because someone played a Doctor Who clip. The video had been provided by the BBC (the show had won an award that year) but apparently no one told Ustream’s bot.

(2) TIME IS DRAGON ALONG. The Dragon Award nominations closed July 17, so what better day for their site to make its first post in over a year? Er, wait, it’s July 24! Makes a good reason to call it “A Blast from the Past (Winners) – Part 1”:

…Now in its sixth year, the Dragon Con hosted Dragon Awards has proven to be the defining “must” list for the greatest in genre novels, media, comics, and games. While the world is locked inside, members and fans have turned to past award winners to build their reading lists.

We reached out to eight winners and asked them to talk about their award-winning novels, their other works, the Dragon Awards ceremony, and what they have coming up that they would like to share….

This is your chance say as much as you want right now to tell all the fans what they should know about you as a person and author, your work, and your career.

…Harry Turtledove: It’s all L. Sprague de Camp’s fault. I found his Lest Darkness Fall in a secondhand bookstore when I was about 15, and started trying to find out how much he was making up (very little) and how much was real (most). And so, after flunking out of Caltech the end of my freshman year (calculus was much tougher than I was), I wound up studying Byzantine history at UCLA. I got my PhD in 1977. If I hadn’t found that book then, I wouldn’t have written most of what I’ve written. I would have written something–I already had the bug–but it wouldn’t be alternate history. I wouldn’t be married to my wife; I met her when I was teaching at UCLA while my professor had a guest appointment in Greece. I wouldn’t have the kids and grandkids I have. I wouldn’t be living where I’m living. Other than that, it didn’t change my life a bit. Imagining me without reading Lest Darkness Fall is alternate history on the micro-historical level.

(3) FAN RESOURCES. Congratulations to Fanac.org for reaching new milestones in preserving fanhistory.

FANAC by the Numbers. Numbers can be misleading, but they do give us some idea of the progress we are making in documenting our fan history. As of today, we have 11,526 fanzine issues consisting of more than 179,423 pages. This is up from the 10,000 fanzine issues and 150,000 pages reported in our April update. Our YouTube channel is now at 621 subscribers, and 90,356 views, up from last time’s 500 and 75,000. Fancyclopedia 3 has exceeded 32,000 items.

(4) TIED UP AT THE DOCK. Next year’s JoCo Cruise, technically a Jonathan Coulton fan cruise but really a week-long ocean cruise of all sorts of nerdery, science fiction fandom, and boardgaming, has been postponed a year to March 5-12, 2022. John Scalzi, a regular participant, also wrote a post about the announcement.

(5) COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT SUIT UPDATE. Publishers Weekly reports on the defendants’ appeal in the media: “Internet Archive to Publishers: Drop ‘Needless’ Copyright Lawsuit and Work with Us”

During a 30-minute Zoom press conference on July 22, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle urged the four major publishers suing over the organization’s book scanning efforts to consider settling the dispute in the boardroom rather than the courtroom.

“Librarians, publishers, authors, all of us should be working together during this pandemic to help teachers, parents, and especially students,” Kahle implored. “I call on the executives of Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House to come together with us to help solve the challenging problems of access to knowledge during this pandemic, and to please drop this needless lawsuit.”

Kahle’s remarks came as part of a panel, which featured a range of speakers explaining and defending the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the legal theory under which the Internet Archive has scanned and is making available for borrowing a library of some 1.4 million mostly 20th century books….

But the practice of CDL has long rankled author and publisher groups—and those tensions came to a head in late March when the IA unilaterally announced its now closed National Emergency Library initiative, which temporarily removed access restrictions for its scans of books, making the books available for multiple users to borrow during the Covid-19 outbreak. On June 1, Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In a press release announcing the suit, executives at the Association of American Publishers said the Internet Archive’s scanning program was not a public service, but an attempt “to bludgeon the legal framework that governs copyright investments and transactions in the modern world,” and compared it to the “largest known book pirate sites in the world.”..

(6) GEEK PARTNERSHIP SOCIETY FUNDRAISER. At least four Minneapolis-St. Paul conventions call the Geek Partnership Society’s office space home, and a host of other groups use it, too (listed below). The facility may not be able to afford to stay open, and after three weeks the GPS GoFundMe has raised only $13,010 of its $40,000 goal.

Geek Partnership Society may not be able to honor the terms of its lease and could face permanent closure if funds cannot be raised by end of July, 2020.

Please act now to support our facility, our community programs, and the resources we strive to provide to all geeks in the Twin Cities. 

So, what happened?

-Clubs and individuals canceled their rentals  of GPS’s venue spaces as people complied with sheltering orders and tried to maintain social distance.

-GPS Charity Auction events that we rely on for income were canceled as local conventions were canceled or postponed.

-Some of our large annual contributors are also having financial difficulties. because their conventions were postponed/cancelled for 2020. 

What needs to happen now?

We need your help to keep GPS running through the end of the year. This will provide the time needed to plan a more flexible revenue model going into 2021. Our goal is to raise $40,000.

The GPS blog has more information: “GoFundme Launched – Save Your Geek Partnership Society”.

Here are some groups and programs who rely on GPS’ support.

  • Crafty Geek / Make It Sew
  • Creative Night, the Group!
  • Echo Base Lightsaber Building Club
  • Geek Physique
  • Geeks Read Book Club
  • GPS Photography Club
  • GPS Movie Appreciation Posse
  • Tsuinshi Anime Club
  • United Geeks of Gaming
  • Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party (community wide)
  • Geek presence at Art-A-Whirl
  • Holiday Emporium
  • Scavenger Hunt

(7) THE REDISCOVERED COUNTRY. 1000 Women in Horror author says book could have been ten times longer”: Entertainment Weekly interviews author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. 

The history of the horror genre is routinely told via the careers of male directors such as James Whale, Alfred Hitchcock, George Romero, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven. Author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas‘ just-published book 1000 Women in Horror: 1895-2018, takes a very different approach, showcasing the contributions of women directors and actors as well as those who have toiled, often unsung, in other capacities. “When we think of women in horror, we default to Janet Leigh or Texas Chain Saw Massacre, those really iconic images from horror films,” says Heller-Nicholas, who has previously written books on Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45.  “We think of terror as being embodied through women’s bodies — screaming and running. I really wanted to explode that a little bit and say the person at the editing deck might be a woman, the person in the director’s chair might be a woman, the cinematographer might be a woman. If we move outside of the ‘single male genius’ who else is working on this stuff? And it turns out there’s actually some pretty amazing people, and some of them are women. There’s a lot more going on that women embody in horror than screaming. Not that there’s anything wrong with screaming. It’s hard work!”

Heller-Nicholas was inspired to have 1895 be the chronological starting point for her collection of mini-biographies after seeing a film from that year titled The Execution of Mary Stuart. “It’s a very very early example of special effects,” says the writer. “It’s Mary going up to the guillotine and having her head chopped off and her head being picked up, that’s the end of the film. I was first drawn to this because Mary is played by ‘Mrs Robert Thomas.’ I was fascinated by ‘Mrs Robert Thomas.’ Seemingly it’s a woman, but she’s defined through her relationship to a man. But I did some digging around and apparently it was actually played by a man. There was something about it, a little it of playfulness and the idea that gender and identity is slippery even in 1895.”

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • July 24, 1952 Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom serial premiered. This was a fifteen-chapter black-and-white movie serial from Columbia Pictures, based on the Blackhawk comic book, first published by Quality Comics, but later owned by DC Comics. The latter company would re-use the name in several versions of the group. It was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet (as Spencer Bennet) Fred F. Sears and produced by Sam Katzman. It was written by George H. Plympton, Royal K. Cole and Sherman L. Lowe. It starred Kirk Alyn, Carol Forman and John Crawford. Despite being very well received, the Blackhawk serial was the last film serial shown on air flights. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born July 24, 1802 – Alexandre Dumas.  Published work amounts to over 100,000 pages, translated into a hundred languages, inspiring two hundred motion pictures.  Born on Haiti (as it now is); father, a general and the son of a marquis; grandmother, a black slave; Dumas, the name he used, was hers.  His Nutcracker, a version of Hoffmann’s, is the basis of Tchaikovsky’s.  The Wolf-Leader, an early werewolf novel; The Marriages of Father Olifus, just (2017) re-translated as The Man Who Married a MermaidThe Count of Monte Cristo, a root of The Stars My Destination.  (Died 1870) [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1878 – Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany.  Chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland.  Fifty Tales of Pegana with its own history, geography, gods.  Ten dozen unlikely tales told by Joseph Jorkins to anyone buying him a whiskey at their club.  Clute and Langford say D’s prose has muscular delicacy.  In Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise Blaine and D’Invilliers recite D’s poetry.  Translated into Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish.  (Died 1957) [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1895 Robert Graves. Poet, mythologist, historical novelist, critic. Author of, among other works, The White Goddess (a very strange book which Yolen quotes from in The Wild Hunt), two volumes called The Greek MythsSeven Days in New Crete which Pringle has on his Best Hundred Fantasy Novels list, and more short fiction than really bears thinking about. (Died 1985.) (CE)
  • Born July 24, 1916 – John D. MacDonald.  While the score of books (I warned you about these puns) featuring salvage consultant Travis McGee and his friend Meyer are favorites of many, JDM is here for three SF novels, five dozen shorter stories, he wrote until the end.  Wine of the Dreamers has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish; its title if not already meaning something else might name fan activity or SF – or if not unfair to nondrinkers.  (Died 1986) [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1936 Phyllis Douglas. She also appeared in two episodes of the Trek series in “The Galileo Seven” and “The Way to Eden”  and in a two-parter of  Batman (“The Joker’s Last Laugh“ and “The Joker’s Epitaph”) where she was Josie. She was in an uncredited role in Atlantis: The Lost Continent, and her very first role was at age two in Gone with The Wind. (Died 2010.) (CE)
  • Born July 24, 1936 Mark Goddard, 84. Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith, on Lost in Space. Other genre appearances were scant. He played an unnamed Detective in the early Eighties Strange Invaders and he showed up on an episode of The Next Step Beyond which investigated supposed hauntings as Larry Hollis in “Sins of Omission”. Oh, and he was an unnamed General in the Lost in Space film. (CE)
  • Born July 24, 1945 – Gordon Eklund, 75.  Some are fans, some are pros, some are both; GE won a Nebula co-authoring with Greg Benford, another: they have written two novels (including If the Stars Are Gods, expanded from the novelette), half a dozen shorter stories, together.  Three decades after Stars GE won a FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Award as Best Fanwriter.  Twenty novels, six dozen shorter stories, translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, including two early Star Trek novels, of which one has a Dyson sphere.  Recent collection, Stalking the Sun.  [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1946 – Tom Barber, 74.  Three dozen covers for books and magazines, a dozen interiors.  Here is the May 79 Galileo.  Here is The Men in the Jungle (in German as The Brotherhood of Pain).  Here is the Mar 76 Amazinghere is the Mar 19; the magazine itself is well-named.  [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1950 – Bob Fowke, 70.  Two dozen covers, a dozen interiors.  Here is The Golden Apples of the Sun.  Here is Connoisseur’s SF.  Here is King Creature, Come.  Here is La flamme des cités perdues; not all who wander are lost, but here is The Lost Star.  [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1951 Lynda Carter, 69. Wonder Woman of course. But also Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes in Sky High; Colonel Jessica Weaver in the vampire film Slayer; Moira Sullivan, Chloe Sullivan’s Kryptonite-empowered mother in the “Prodigy” episode of Smallville; and President Olivia Marsdin In Supergirl. (CE)
  • Born July 24, 1959 – Zdrvaka Evtimova, 61.  Author and translator.  Nine short stories for us in or translated into English, much more outside our field.  Besides Bulgaria and Anglophonia, published in France, Germany, Iran, Japan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Vietnam – two dozen countries.  Six Bulgarian awards.  Member of the Bulgarian Writers’ Union and the UK Writers’ League.  See her here (Contemporary Bulgarian Writers; in English, with a photo, book covers and excerpts, links to online stories in English).  [JH]
  • Born July 24, 1964 Colleen Doran, 56. Comics artist and writer. She’s done includes Warren Ellis’ Orbiter graphic novel, Wonder WomanLegion of SuperheroesTeen Titans, “Troll Bridge”:by Neil Gaiman and her space opera series, A Distant Soil. She also did portions of The Sandman, in the “Dream Country” and “A Game of You”. She’s tuckerized Into Sandman as the character Thessaly is based on Doran. (CE)
  • Born July 24, 1981 Summer Glau, 39.  An impressive run in genre roles as she was River Tam in the Firefly series and of course the Serenity film, followed by these performances: Tess Doerner in The 4400, as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (is this worth seeing seeing?), Skylar Adams in Alphas and lastly Isabel Rochev who is The Ravager in Arrow. (CE)

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Far Side shows that somebody needs a manual for first contact. (Fist contact?)
  • And ever is heard a discouraging word — Dilbert shows it’s tough to be a beginning writer.

(11) PILING ON. James Davis Nicoll finds “Five More Massive Works of SFF to Add to Your Must-Read Pile”.

Are we having fun with the lockdown yet? Some of you may live, like me, in a region where our pal COVID-19 seems to be under control—or you may be trapped in some dire realm where it is not. Yet, for even those of us who are momentarily spared, respite may prove temporary—it’s always best to stay safe and plan for the possibility of continued isolation. That suggests that it would be prudent to add to your personal Mount Tsundoku, preferably with tomes weighty enough to keep one occupied through weeks of isolation and tedium.  Omnibuses could be the very thing!  Below are five examples…

(12) READ SANDERSON CHAPTERS. As they’ve done with previous books in the Stormlight Archive, Tor.com will be releasing one chapter from Brandon Sanderson’s upcoming novel Rhythm of War each week from now through its release in November. “Read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: Prologue and Chapter One”.

(13) REAL PERSEVERANCE. In The Guardian, Alison Flood interviews Brandon Sanderson, who discusses the long struggle he had to become a successful fantasy novelist. “Brandon Sanderson: ‘After a dozen rejected novels, you think maybe this isn’t for you'”.

Watching the numbers tick up on Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter is a remarkable way to pass the time. The fantasy author initially set out to raise $250,000 (£198,500) to release a 10th anniversary, leather-bound edition of his doorstopper novel, The Way of Kings. In less than 10 minutes, it became the most-funded publishing project of all time when it topped $1m. With 15 days still to go, he’s raised more than $5.6m. All this for a book that was just one of 13 Sanderson wrote before he’d even landed a publishing deal.

Most writers have novels that never see the light of day. But 13? That’s serious dedication. The books were written over a decade while Sanderson was working as a night clerk at a hotel – a job chosen specifically because as long as he stayed awake, his bosses didn’t mind if he wrote between midnight and 5am. But publishers kept telling him that his epic fantasies were too long, that he should try being darker or “more like George RR Martin” (it was the late 90s, and A Song of Ice and Fire was topping bestseller charts). His attempts to write grittier books were terrible, he says, so he became “kind of depressed”….

(14) PRESSED OWN AND OVERFLOWING. Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid 24th July 2020opens with a tour of duty with Matt Wallace’s Savage Legion. TheSin Du Jour author has turned in his first epic fantasy novel and it’s fiercely intelligent, uniquely perceptive and exactly what the genre needs.

After that, I take a look at the March trilogy of graphic novels. Covering the life of Rep. John Lewis, they’re engrossing, pragmatic, inspiring and horrific. They’re also by some distance some of the best graphic storytelling I’ve ever read.

Our interstitials this week feature the men of The Witcher doing things. Well, attempting things. Well, in the case of baking, being present while it notionally occurs…

This week’s playout is a unique and wonderful version of The Cure’s The Lovecats by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Enjoy! I did.

The Full Lid is published every Friday at 5pm BST. It’s free, and you can find both sign up links and an archive of the last six months at the link above.

(15) KING REVIEWS BEUKES. [Item by Rob Thornton] In the upcoming issue of the New York Times Book Review, Stephen King has great things to say about Lauren Beukes’ post-apocalyptic novel “Afterland,” which is described by King as “science fiction” at one point and a “neo-noir” at another. Everybody gets into the naming game: “Stephen King on Lauren Beukes’s ‘Splendid’ New Thriller”.

…The flap copy on my advance edition declares that “Afterland” is a “high-concept feminist thriller that Lauren Beukes fans have been waiting for.” It is a thriller, I grant you that, and feminist in the sense that most of the men have been erased by a flu virus that develops into prostate cancer, but Beukes is too wise and story-oriented to wham away at ideas that have been thoroughly explored, sometimes at tedious length, on cable news and social media. She lets her tale do the talking, and the results are quite splendid.

This is your basic neo-noir, coast-to-coast chase novel, and Beukes, who is from South Africa, sees America with the fresh eyes of an outsider. …

(16) UNHAPPY HOLIDAYS. “Blocked Busters: Disney Pushes 17 Movie Release Dates” – NPR assesses the damage.

When Warner Brothers pulled Christopher Nolan’s $200-million thriller, Tenet, from its release schedule earlier this week, industry analysts expected a domino effect, and Disney announced this afternoon that the first 17 dominos have fallen.

The Mouse House’s live-action remake of Mulan, the last big-budget Hollywood blockbuster scheduled for August, is now “unset,” on the company’s release schedule.

And the studio has pushed back or cancelled the release of another 16 Disney and Fox films, in a ripple-effect that will affect movie releases for years.

One Searchlight film, The Personal History of David Copperfield, is still scheduled for summer, though pushed back two weeks to August 28. But such other Fox films as Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie remake Death on the Nile, and the supernatural thriller film The Empty Man have been delayed to later in the fall, while Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which was to have opened in October, has been postponed indefinitely.

Other films, including Ridley Scott’s historical thriller The Last Duel, and the supernatural horror film Antlers have been moved to 2021.

And in perhaps the most telling shift, three Star Wars pictures and four Avatar sequels, originally scheduled to alternate as Christmas releases starting next year, have all been moved back a full year, meaning the pandemic will affect film releases through Christmas of 2028.

(17) GOOSEBUMPS. Not the series, the Harvard study: “Getting to the bottom of goosebumps”

Harvard scientists find that the same cell types that cause goosebumps are responsible for controlling hair growth

If you’ve ever wondered why we get goosebumps, you’re in good company — so did Charles Darwin, who mused about them in his writings on evolution. Goosebumps might protect animals with thick fur from the cold, but we humans don’t seem to benefit from the reaction much — so why has it been preserved during evolution all this time?

In a new study, Harvard University scientists have discovered the reason: the cell types that cause goosebumps are also important for regulating the stem cells that regenerate the hair follicle and hair. Underneath the skin, the muscle that contracts to create goosebumps is necessary to bridge the sympathetic nerve’s connection to hair follicle stem cells. The sympathetic nerve reacts to cold by contracting the muscle and causing goosebumps in the short term, and by driving hair follicle stem cell activation and new hair growth over the long term.

Published in the journal Cell, these findings in mice give researchers a better understanding of how different cell types interact to link stem cell activity with changes in the outside environment.

(18) FIAT LUX. CNN delivers “11 billion years of history in one map: Astrophysicists reveal largest 3D model of the universe ever created”.

A global consortium of astrophysicists have created the world’s largest three-dimensional map of the universe, a project 20 years in the making that researchers say helps better explain the history of the cosmos.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a project involving hundreds of scientists at dozens of institutions worldwide, collected decades of data and mapped the universe with telescopes. With these measurements, spanning more than 2 million galaxies and quasars formed over 11 billion years, scientists can now better understand how the universe developed.

“We know both the ancient history of the Universe and its recent expansion history fairly well, but there’s a troublesome gap in the middle 11 billion years,” cosmologist Kyle Dawson of the University of Utah, who led the team that announced the SDSS findings on Sunday.

“For five years, we have worked to fill in that gap, and we are using that information to provide some of the most substantial advances in cosmology in the last decade,” Dawson said in a statement.

[Thanks to Nina Shepardson, Errolwi, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Josh Hesse, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Cally Soukup, James Davis Nicoll, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

75 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/24/20 Khrushchev’s Due At Tralfamadore. File 770, Where Are You?

  1. @Lis —

    Oh, for God’s sake.

    I don’t have a handy set of statistics to link you to, no.

    Lis, I wasn’t demanding numbers from you. I was just noting that somebody somewhere must have these numbers, if anyone (like me, for instance) were dedicated enough to go looking for them.

    Speaking as a librarian, who worked in a variety of libraries over the course of thirty years, “popular reading” that doesn’t get checked out regularly, doesn’t stay on the shelves. It goes into the book sale.

    Sure, but what constitutes “regularly”?

    I’m just trying to get a handle on the scale, the actual numbers. It’s something I don’t know much of anything about. Please note that you have absolutely no obligation to share any expertise with me — again, if I were dedicated enough, I could go a-Googling myself.

    HarperCollins and Macmillan are pulling their numbers out of their asses.

    This is entirely possible, even likely. But we can’t really judge one way or another unless we know what the normal reading numbers are for hard-copy library books.

  2. @Contrarius–You’ll have noticed that the 16 is from a school library, which is a significantly different environment than a public library serving the whole population. And that the librarians commenting from those environments cite a low of 30, and many books circulating well over 100 times.

    HarperCollins and Macmillan pulled their numbers out of their asses.

  3. @Lis —

    You’ll have noticed that the 16 is from a school library, which is a significantly different environment than a public library serving the whole population.

    Sure. But a public library will still see books getting treated that way.

    many books circulating well over 100 times.

    “Many” is a mischaracterization of what was actually said.

    Here’s the quote: “I’ve seen some newer books where the binding broke fairly quickly and books with proper sewn bindings that have circulated 100 times and are still in good condition…..A current best seller should easily be getting 30 to 50 circulations without damage.” Note “I’ve seen some” — 100 is not an indication of the typical book, but something that occurs occasionally.

    Another commenter noted: “I’ve been doing a lot of weeding in our health, nutrition, and exercise books in the 600s. This is a very popular area and most of the books of 30 circs or more. Some have circulated more than 90 times.” Note that 90 is referred to as “some have”, which means it’s exceptional but possible — not typical.

    I think we can easily guess from these and other comments on that page that a “typical” book can be expected to get at least 30 circulations — which would indicate that Harper Collins et al are gouging the libraries when they only allow for 26. So what would be more reasonable? 100 looks like a common upper limit, with a few really exceptional books possibly surviving as many as 250 loans. So should Harper Collins be charging for maybe every 50? Every 75?

    It seems to me that the concept Harper Collins is using — charging for a certain number of uses — is reasonable, given that ebooks don’t wear out physically. So the problem is with how they’re applying that concept, not with the concept itself.

  4. No, really, school libraries can be a lot rougher on books than public libraries, because the user population is so heavily concentrated in the age group most likely to be rough on books–especially books that are transported by kids in their book bags.

    Perfect-bound books die very quickly. That’s binding a hardcover as if it were a mass market paperback, and yes, they die quicker. It’s not how most hardcovers are bound. It’s the publisher cheaping out, and anyone who keeps their books and takes care of them should feel cheated by a “perfect” binding.

    Look at the titles that are listed as getting more than a hundred checkouts. They were all popular titles. They have higher circulation because there’s more demand, and waiting lists in the first months in the library.

    They don’t fall apart because they were checked out 20 or 30 or 50 times. Books last longer than that under normal use, no matter how much you want the publishers to be right.

    Health, nutrition, and exercise books–yes, that’s a section that will get a lot of weeding. Because there are a lot of fads in that subject area. As I’m pretty sure you know. They are also more likely than books in many other areas to be trade paperbacks rather than hardcovers. There’s a much higher percentage that won’t still be in demand by readers next year. Yes, there are exceptions to that. But, generally.

    Heck, even popular fiction from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, bound decently but printed on cheap, high-acid paper, typically lasted longer and died because the paper, not the binding, died. When I was taking my first steps into the world being a professional librarian, in the 70s and 80s, the rush was on to find a way to save the early editions of a lot of that cheap, mid-Victorian fiction that had become classics. These were books that were the equivalent of the paperbacks on the spinner racks in the drug store, in their day. Still around physically to need to be saved, in the 1970s.

    Books with a modicum of decent care are a lot more durable than you want to believe.

  5. @JJ

    bill: I am a regular patron of a private  pirate library that owns digital books, and even sells them on occasion.

    There, Fixed That For You.

    Since I haven’t named the library, you obviously have no grounds to characterize them so. FWIW, this library is a 501(c) (3) organization, completely above board, with competent legal counsel vetting their practices.

    We’ve disagreed in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so overtly insulting to you.

    @Contrarius

    The Internet Archive is distributing bazillions of copies to one and all.

    No, that’s not what is happening. (with the exception of public domain books, for which I hope we can agree there is no issue). They buy (or are donated) a legitimate paper copy of a book. They make an electronic archive copy of it, as the U.S. copyright laws specifically allow libraries to do — libraries get a special exemption that the rest of us don’t get. They loan out the e-copy to one reader at a time, with DRM protections, just like municipal libraries do with the books they contract for. You can’t make your own copy without hacking it, which puts you in violation of the DMCA. Either you finish reading it and release the copy back to the IA, or a time window expires and you can’t read it anymore. At any rate, only one user at a time can read it — just like paper books. You don’t get to keep the copy you borrowed, just like paper books. The e-copy they make available is a surrogate of an existing paper copy. There is justification in the copyright laws for them, as a library, to do this. And since it is no more widely available than the paper book it is a surrogate for, it is wrong to say that they are distributing bazillions of copies to one and all.

    “Copyright laws are not there to enable rent-seeking by publishers, or to compensate authors on a per-use basis.”

    They actually are, in a way.

    No. Copyright laws exist for one purpose, and one purpose only: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Authors making money is a means to that end, but it is certainly not a guarantee.

    @Vicki Rosenzweig

    There are some real ambiguities and inconsistencies in copyright law. . . That doesn’t mean that copyright doesn’t apply to any book that exists in electronic form.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that copyright doesn’t apply to ebooks. What I am saying is that the current economic model of ebooks is warped to the benefit of publishers, and to the detriment of readers, authors, and libraries, especially when compared to how paper books work. Internet Archive is pushing back against part of that in that they are handling ebooks in a way more similar to paper books, and I think that good things can result from that.

    [What the Internet Archive is doing is] the equivalent of borrowing an ebook, making copies, and giving them away to everyone you know.

    No. This absolutely not what IA does, as I described above.
    I get the impression that many here who are criticizing IA have never actually gone to the site and read one of their books.

    @Chip Hitchcock

    your understanding of how physical books work is also dated; there have been movements (some successful) for at least half a century to get libraries to pay authors for each borrowing.

    That certainly isn’t how it works in this country. Some European countries do; it is just subsidizing authors in an indirect way. I personally see no reason why authors deserve a subsidy above and beyond one given to, say, car mechanics, or woodworkers.

    It’s also my impression that you don’t own anything readable by a Kindle; you just have a long-term loan on it that HSAR can call at any time (and IIRC has in some cases).

    Your impression is wrong. I own a number of ebooks that are readable by a Kindle. They were not purchased and are not managed through the Amazon infrastructure, though.

    And Chip’s comments about how many times physical library books get circulated and how big of a meter on ebook circulation is appropriate, consistent with those numbers, all seem to assume that books are pulled from circulation when they wear out — but I don’t believe that to be the case. When books at libraries get withdrawn, they often (usually?) still have a great deal of life left in them (I believe, but am happy to be educated otherwise). I’ve certainly bought many ex-lib books at “Friends of the Library” sales that did show wear, but still were quite sturdy. But even so, I still think the model of a library renting a book for x number of checkouts at a price much higher than a physical copy would have been, especially when the physical book would have had a life of 2x or more, is a bad model.

    @Lis Carey — Thanks for providing actual expertise. I’m as bad as anyone in arguing from what I think I know (although I do try and look things up and provide facts); it’s good to have real data in the discussion.

  6. bill: We’ve disagreed in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so overtly insulting to you.

    You are incorrect.

     
    bill: this library is a 501(c) (3) organization, completely above board, with competent legal counsel vetting their practices.

    Sorry, no. If they’re selling e-books, what they’re doing is illegal.

  7. bill say: They make an electronic archive copy of it, as the U.S. copyright laws specifically allow libraries to do — libraries get a special exemption that the rest of us don’t get. They loan out the e-copy to one reader at a time, with DRM protections,

    Actually U.S. copyright law covers making a back-up copy of digital material, there’s no proviso at all for copying hardcover material in this manner. And who would when digital copies likely exist.

    And it’s a complete violation of copyright law for any library to lend out this theoretical digital copy as they didn’t purchase it. They own a hard copy version which they are allowed to lend. And no, they can not make hard copy copies of that either for the purposes of lending.

    So no, your library if it exists at all is pirating books, full stop.

  8. @Lis —

    No, really, school libraries can be a lot rougher on books than public libraries, because the user population is so heavily concentrated in the age group most likely to be rough on books

    Those same kids go to public libraries as well. Their roughness may not affect the adult books, but they’ll drag down the book-life average in any library by their treatment of the kids’ books.

    Look at the titles that are listed as getting more than a hundred checkouts. They were all popular titles.

    Remember, those were record-holding individual books. They weren’t averages for multiple books in those titles.

    Books last longer than that under normal use, no matter how much you want the publishers to be right.

    I’m rolling my eyes now. I’ve already explicitly stated more than once that they probably aren’t right, and even offered alternatives. Accusing me of somehow “wanting them to be right” is dishonest of you.

    They are also more likely than books in many other areas to be trade paperbacks rather than hardcovers.

    Here’s an interesting thought. Should publishers only be charging based on how quickly hardbacks wear out? Why not charge based on paperback lifespans as well?

    @bill —

    They buy (or are donated) a legitimate paper copy of a book. They make an electronic archive copy of it, as the U.S. copyright laws specifically allow libraries to do — libraries get a special exemption that the rest of us don’t get.

    Bzzzzzzzzzt. You can stop right there.

    Archive copy, Bill. “Archive” means backup — storage — failsafe. NOT something intended to be a primary working copy that you loan out to all and sundry.

    I’ve downloaded a loooong document called “COPYRIGHT LAW FOR ARCHIVISTS: A RISK ASSESSMENT APPROACH”. But it’s long. If I see anything particularly illuminating in it and I have the energy, I’ll report back later.

    No. Copyright laws exist for one purpose, and one purpose only: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Authors making money is a means to that end, but it is certainly not a guarantee.

    Read this line: “the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”. If you freely distribute an immortal ebook, have you not abrogated their rights? That’s what pirates do, after all.

  9. @bill–

    No, that’s not what is happening. (with the exception of public domain books, for which I hope we can agree there is no issue). They buy (or are donated) a legitimate paper copy of a book. They make an electronic archive copy of it, as the U.S. copyright laws specifically allow libraries to do — libraries get a special exemption that the rest of us don’t get. They loan out the e-copy to one reader at a time, with DRM protections, just like municipal libraries do with the books they contract for.

    No, that’s what the Internet Archive usually has done. As Cat notes, there are legal problems even with that, but that’s not what’s at issue here.

    What’s at issue here is the Internet Archive’s “National Emergency Library,” which completely abandoned the “we have one copy, so we lend one copy to one reader at a time, and has been lending unlimited copies to unlimited “borrowers.” That’s a direct and unambiguous violation of copyright. That really is taking money from the pockets of authors and publishers. And some of those authors have been self-published, meaning in those cases 100% of the theft is from them.

  10. @bill:

    And Chip’s comments about how many times physical library books get circulated and how big of a meter on ebook circulation is appropriate, consistent with those numbers, all seem to assume that books are pulled from circulation when they wear out

    citation needed; I’ve reviewed my comment and don’t see discussion of circulation counts.

    When books at libraries get withdrawn, they often (usually?) still have a great deal of life left in them (I believe, but am happy to be educated otherwise). I’ve certainly bought many ex-lib books at “Friends of the Library” sales that did show wear, but still were quite sturdy.

    The problem with such sales is that you don’t know where the books have come from unless you check carefully (which you don’t mention). In the last year I’ve taken several hundred books to the Boston library for such sale; IIUC this, rather than “deaccessioning”, is the source of most of their stock. (I’ve also bought some Bellairs that were on their last legs — a local YA librarian tells me they’re still popular despite dated settings — and some better-condition books that were definitely not in the system in the last decade or more, or that are several decades old.) If the IA were concentrating on older books — e.g. the anthologies whose intros were major sources for my 50-years-ago term paper on SF but are no longer in the library I got them from — they might have part of a case, but that does not appear to be true.

  11. @jj

    bill: “We’ve disagreed in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so overtly insulting to you.”

    You are incorrect.

    Link? or at least a reminder of the specifics?

    Sorry, no. If they’re selling e-books, what they’re doing is illegal.

    No, not if they have the permissions of the copyright holders. Which they do. Specifically, their store sells PDFs (with no DRM) of selected current, in-print books with the full knowledge of and permission of the authors/copyright holders, to whom they pay royalties.

    And many other places do this. Baen. Lybrary.com. You can buy last year’s Best Novel Hugo award winner this way.

    @Cat Eldridge

    there’s no proviso at all for copying hardcover material in this manner

    Sec 108 allows libraries to make copies of “works” (including hardbound books) under certain circumstances. See the first highlighted text here.

    And it’s a complete violation of copyright law for any library to lend out this theoretical digital copy as they didn’t purchase it. They own a hard copy version which they are allowed to lend.

    That is one interpretation of the law. The Internet Library advocates another, which generally is referred to as Controlled Digital Lending. Neither interpretation has been tested in the courts, so both opinions are just that — opinions. IA has definitely been pushing the boundaries. Those in a position to defend the interpretation you advocate have never challenged them until now, presumably because they fear losing. But now a challenge has been made, and if the parties don’t settle, we’ll find out after the dust settles which is correct.

    @Lis Carey — The IA stopped the National Emergency Library on June 10. It is not what I’ve been writing about — all my posts are about what the IA is doing, not what it has done. FWIW, I was surprised that Kahle went as far as he did with the NEL, and am not surprised it drew the reaction it did from publishers.

    And some of those authors have been self-published, meaning in those cases 100% of the theft is from them.

    Authors had the ability to opt their books out of the NEL from day one.

    The publishers’ law suit not only wants damages for infringement, they want the IA to permanently delete and destroy all of the digital copies — they want CDL to be gone. So the issue here is beyond the NEL.

    @Chip — You are absolutely correct. I was referring to Contrarius’s comments, and mistakenly tagged you. My apologies. I was wrong.

    The problem with such sales is that you don’t know where the books have come from unless you check carefully (which you don’t mention).

    Actually, I do mention. I specifically referred to “ex-lib” copies; that is, books with shelf marks, ink stamps, catalog stickers, etc. that make it explicitly clear that the book in question was deaccessioned from the institution. (and yes I’m aware that many books sold similarly are not pulled from shelves; every year, I [like I’m sure most Filers do] also donate books to our local library, and I hope that they are sold and the money used to support the library.)

    If the IA were concentrating on older books — e.g. the anthologies whose intros were major sources for my 50-years-ago term paper on SF but are no longer in the library I got them from — they might have part of a case, but that does not appear to be true.

    After they opened up the NEL, the IA said “Books newer than 5 years are not in the National Emergency Library. Unlike the age of most books in bookstores, the books readers are borrowing are older books, with 10% being from the last 10 years. Two-thirds of these books were published during the 20th century.”

  12. @bill–

    @Lis Carey — The IA stopped the National Emergency Library on June 10. It is not what I’ve been writing about — all my posts are about what the IA is doing, not what it has done. FWIW, I was surprised that Kahle went as far as he did with the NEL, and am not surprised it drew the reaction it did from publishers.

    The current dispute was 100% triggered by the “National Emergency Library,” which is an outright rejection of copyright law, and upended the previous grumpy but workable detente between the Internet Archive, and authors and publishers. Saying “oops, sorry, but really we weren’t breaking the law anyway,” isn’t sufficient at this point. No one trusts them not to pull the same crap again, if they don’t get sat on hard this time.

    I don’t think anyone else here is arguing about the CDL status quo ante. It’s about the “National

    And some of those authors have been self-published, meaning in those cases 100% of the theft is from them.

    Authors had the ability to opt their books out of the NEL from day one.

    They shouldn’t have had to find out on their own that Internet Archive was doing this without getting their permission, and actively “opting out” of something they weren’t informed of. Again, a direct violation of copyright law, with no excuse or justification.

    The publishers’ law suit not only wants damages for infringement, they want the IA to permanently delete and destroy all of the digital copies — they want CDL to be gone. So the issue here is beyond the NEL.

    Which everyone with two brain cells to rub together should have known would happen the moment Internet Archive announced its “National Emergency Library.” Publishers and many authors have never liked Internet Archive’s questionable at best implementation of CDL, but it wasn’t doing enough damage, on its own, to be worth a lawsuit. Once they were suing Internet Archive anyway, over major, outright theft of copyright, that they would include CDL in it.

    And of course they’re seeking damages, which at least for the National Emergency Library theft, they absolutely ought to get.

    After they opened up the NEL, the IA said “Books newer than 5 years are not in the National Emergency Library. Unlike the age of most books in bookstores, the books readers are borrowing are older books, with 10% being from the last 10 years. Two-thirds of these books were published during the 20th century.”

    “We’re only stealing your older stuff that remains in some demand” isn’t the brilliant defense you seem to assume.

    It works, more or less, as a defense for the CDL, which is why publishers never went after CDL on its own, but for the National Emergency Library, it’s a pathetic attempt at defending outright theft.

  13. @bill: “ex-lib” was … imprecise. The next question is how old the books were, and how the library avoids drowning in books; sometimes books that have lost the public’s interest can be semi-accessible offsite, and sometimes the library just lets them go as there’s No More Space. One can’t tell how often a book has circulated just from its condition; even if a library would let outsiders look at anonymized records the data from pre-computerized times would mostly be gone.

  14. I have a couple of scholarly books that were de-accessioned. They still have the check-out record in them, so I know where they came from.

  15. Were the checkout records attached to significant pages? I just rechecked 2 cases (the Boucher Treasury) that I knew were old enough to have had manual checkouts, and found that both the pocket and the back flyleaf were torn (not cut) out — but they wouldn’t have had anything relevant to the book on them, and the MA library it came from was probably being careful about privacy.

  16. @Lis Carey — Given that the only difference between CDL and the NEL is that the former is serial and the latter is parallel, I’m surprised that you acquiesce to the former while condemning the latter.

    And I point out again that no permanent copies are involved. IA is letting people look at books for a limited time; they are not giving copies away. I understand why people call this “theft”, but that word carries baggage that is not applicable. When I look at a IA book, it is much more akin to browsing at a bookstore or a library than it is to shoplifting. They are close to Googlebooks, which has been found to be legal and not theft.

    And remember that the NEL was an emergency response to an unprecedented pandemic situation that closed libraries nationally. Compare it to the closure of churches. We have a guaranteed First Amendment right to worship as we please, and to peaceably assemble. There are no exceptions carved out because at times we may make each other sick. Yet courts have approved, within the context of the current emergency, the closure of churches. Are there circumstances in which temporary infringements of copyright may be justified? If no, does that mean that copyrights are more sacrosanct than First Amendment rights?

    And there’s no need to continue to tell me that NEL wasn’t a good idea. I agree. But the publishers’ lawsuit against IA is about more than that — it is a shot across the bow of all libraries in the digital era. These four publishers are not friends of libraries. In a recent earnings conference call, management of Harpercollins talked about how they are wanting to move away from printed books, which can be re-read again and again, to ebooks under their management, which they can charge for each use of.

    @Chip

    “ex-lib” was … imprecise.

    I’ll accept that.

    One can’t tell how often a book has circulated just from its condition;

    . . . which is true, and it undermines the argument that since a paper bound book has a “built in” number of readings available, metered ebook licenses are appropriate.

  17. @bill —

    . . . which is true, and it undermines the argument that since a paper bound book has a “built in” number of readings available, metered ebook licenses are appropriate.

    Not really.

    My argument relates to the average number of readings available, not the number for any given individual book.

  18. @bill–

    @Lis Carey — Given that the only difference between CDL and the NEL is that the former is serial and the latter is parallel, I’m surprised that you acquiesce to the former while condemning the latter.

    Then you are willfully missing the point. Lending unlimited numbers of copies simultaneously results, if the demand is there, in far more copies being lent than if they’re lending only the one copy they actually own to one borrower at a time. No matter the fevered nightmares of the publishing industry, a library that owns one copy of a physical book can only lend one copy at a time. If they own one copy of an ebook, it is theoretically, technologically, possible to do loan an unlimited number of copies of that book simultaneously. Real libraries run by real librarians don’t do that. They’re happy to comply with the normal, rational, real-world interpretation of copyright law that says they can’t make copies without permission, and lend only the number of copies/licenses they’ve purchased at any one time.

    The “National Emergency Library,” on the other hand, didn’t comply with copyright law at all. Skipping lightly over the fact that they didn’t purchase any ebook licenses, but instead a paper book that they tore apart and scanned, they then proceeded, in the “National Emergency Library,” to lend an unlimited number of copies simultaneously, which is to say that they arbitrarily decided they had the right to make unlimited numbers of copies that they hadn’t either paid for or gotten permission to make.

    This. Is. Unambiguously. Illegal. And. A. Massive. Violation. Of. Copyright.

    In your “serial” scenario, they have one copy, and they’re lending one copy.

    In your “parallel” scenario,they own one copy–and they are lending unlimited numbers of copies.

    And remember that the NEL was an emergency response to an unprecedented pandemic situation that closed libraries nationally. Compare it to the closure of churches. We have a guaranteed First Amendment right to worship as we please, and to peaceably assemble. There are no exceptions carved out because at times we may make each other sick. Yet courts have approved, within the context of the current emergency, the closure of churches. Are there circumstances in which temporary infringements of copyright may be justified? If no, does that mean that copyrights are more sacrosanct than First Amendment rights?

    The “National Emergency Library” didn’t bother to ask the rightsholders for permission to do this in the emergency. They engaged in clearly illegal copyright violation, on a massive scale, and expected to be patted on the back for it.

    You are guaranteed a First Amendment right to spout any damn foolishness you please, with no restrictions by the government, unless by doing so you actually endanger others.

    You are not guaranteed a right to steal other people’s property, including their intellectual property. You don’t have that right at all.

    There are occasions when you might be forgiven for it, because it really was saving someone’s life, but even then, it would be a matter of being forgiven, not a matter of not having broken the law.

    And no, sorry, calling it the “National Emergency Library” and doing it during the pandemic doesn’t make it a genuine emergency response, or mean that it was saving any lives.

    And I point out again that no permanent copies are involved. IA is letting people look at books for a limited time; they are not giving copies away. I understand why people call this “theft”, but that word carries baggage that is not applicable. When I look at a IA book, it is much more akin to browsing at a bookstore or a library than it is to shoplifting. They are close to Googlebooks, which has been found to be legal and not theft.

    No. It doesn’t matter that “no permanent copies are involved.” They are creating unlimited numbers of copies. They’re doing it at their own convenience for their own purposes, without any intention to get the rightsholders’ permission.

    Google Books in the end reached a deal with the publishers, after attempting to do it without permission, and getting sued.

    And there’s no need to continue to tell me that NEL wasn’t a good idea. I agree. But the publishers’ lawsuit against IA is about more than that — it is a shot across the bow of all libraries in the digital era. These four publishers are not friends of libraries. In a recent earnings conference call, management of Harpercollins talked about how they are wanting to move away from printed books, which can be re-read again and again, to ebooks under their management, which they can charge for each use of.

    THIS IS WHAT I’VE FUCKING BEEN TRYING TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND.

    Internet Archive committed large-scale, unambiguous theft of intellectual property, and thought they were going to get away with it by saying nice words. Instead, what happened was what anyone with even two brain cells knew would happen: The publishers and the lawyers danced for glee at the opening Internet Archive gave them. Someone had finally done what they had claimed for years real libraries were for sure going to do any day now–get one ebook copy and make unlimited copies of it without paying for them.

    And so, yes, just as anyone who was not a farking idiot would have expected, they’re trying to shut the whole thing down, and yes, they would like an end to print books and they want ebooks and a pay-per-view world

    And so yes, everyone who understands the issues and doesn’t want a pay-per-view world, is mad at Internet Archive for pulling this shit and producing this completely predictable result of publishers suing to try to shut the whole thing down.

    Also, of course, the authors whose books they stole.

  19. @bill: We have a guaranteed First Amendment right to worship as we please, and to peaceably assemble Wrong! Thank you for playing. The amendment says “Congress shall make no law”; it says nothing about the results of emergency proclamations. And your surrounding argument is just bogus; I was actually able to up my reading (as noted previously) purely from legitimate e-loans. (I think I took one book off my personal Mt. TBR in the 4 months that physical borrowing wasn’t possible.) I couldn’t get everything I wanted when I wanted it, but that is not a right shown anywhere in the Constitution.

  20. @Andrew: interesting. I notice particularly that the object of the article is a publisher, not an author (although at some points he appears to be claiming to also be an author and/or to speak for authors); this connects to the observation that squeezing libraries on e-books is driven by corporate owners of publishers rather than traditional publishers. I’d love to see some hard statistics relative to competition, vs my impression that it’s the flood of titles in paperback (which libraries mostly don’t buy) that has outpaced the growth in readers/buyers. It would also be interesting to see how the books Whyte publishes compare with others — it could be he’d do better (library competition or not) by publishing better material — but I’m not about to pay him (let alone deal with US Customs) to find out.

  21. @Lis Carey

    Then you are willfully missing the point.

    My point is “If doing something a bunch is wrong, then doing it once is also wrong”, and you are missing it.

    THIS IS WHAT I’VE FUCKING BEEN TRYING TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND.

    Oh wow, swearing at me and yelling. Now I’m much more receptive to your position. Perhaps you have a newsletter I could subscribe to? One in bold print and all caps?

    Look, we obviously disagree. I think the copyright pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction for a long time. I don’t think what the IA does displaces actual sales from actual authors very much at all, any more than does a “real” library, and that being the case, “theft” is not an accurate word to use to describe what they do (unless you want to describe municipal libraries as thieves as well). And this is an important point, because “Fair Use” can turn on whether commercial sales are displaced.

    The vast majority of the people who used IA books are going to look something up — they open a book for 10 minutes or less, and never look at it again. That’s how I use it, as well. Earlier this week I wanted to look something up in Paul Nagel’s “John John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life”. The closest library with a print copy is in Decatur AL, an hour away. IA had a copy. I checked it out, looked at it for a few minutes, found out what I wanted to know, and checked it back in. The Internet Archive did not make a new copy for me. They displayed their existing, legally-made and -owned, archive copy to me. Everything about what I did, and what they did, was the functional equivalent of using a library. It was not stealing.

    You seem to be amenable to the idea that libraries are under attack, and that publishers are overreaching. Yet your anger is directed at the only organization that is pushing back in any meaningful way, instead of at the publishers who are trying to pull more and more money out of libraries and readers.

    Yes, by the strict letter of the law, what the Internet Archive does may be found to be illegal. And it may not, because copyright law is full of exceptions, and most of them are highly fact-dependent, and to say that something like this “is illegal” is not something you or I are capable of doing. Only a judge can do that. But you do you, and go out in the street and shake your fists at me.

  22. Maybe Whyte should focus more on producing good and interesting books, and understand that serious nonfiction is not really competing with the flood of cheap, self-published ebooks or cheap paperbacks, which libraries aren’t buying much of.

  23. @bill–

    My point is “If doing something a bunch is wrong, then doing it once is also wrong”, and you are missing it.

    No. Wrong. Fair use is one thing, and mass distribution of copies to anyone who asks is another thing, completely outside of fair use.

    Fair use, by the way, is a real legal concept in copyright law, one of the things publishers would like to kill. Insist that any sharing or copying of even small parts of a work is the same thing as mass copying and distribution to any and all who ask, and win on that point–and fair use is dead, and libraries can’t legally exist even in the limited form publishers are willing to tolerate.

    You seem to be amenable to the idea that libraries are under attack, and that publishers are overreaching. Yet your anger is directed at the only organization that is pushing back in any meaningful way, instead of at the publishers who are trying to pull more and more money out of libraries and readers.

    No. The Internet Archive is not “pushing back in a meaningful way.”

    It’s not acting like a library.

    It isn’t operating by the professional and ethical standards of libraries.

    And it tore a gaping hole in the structure that has fought back against publisher overreach for many years. This isn’t, as you seem to imagine, a meaningful attack on publisher overreach–and it’s not the Internet Archive that’s going to effectively fight back against the attack on libraries that they’ve enabled.

    Nor do they provide any of the services of the libraries which it is, in its absolute disregard, doing real damage to.

    You are not defending the good guys.

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