Locus Online
October 2006

More reader responses to Cory Doctorow's essay How Copyright Broke... (earlier responses)

Monday 9 October 2006

Dear Locus,

Bravo. Clearly-stated and trenchant.

But what of profit? Suppose someone is distributing a book or song not for free, but for a small fee. For their own profit. A buck from Apple, or a quarter from Cut Rate Music, for instance; how does a creator maintain an ethical right to profit in such a scenario?

I'm all for adapting to technology, and I like the idea of treating audience as property owners rather than corporations or licensees. What I oppose is creators being dismissed from the profits in any way.

After all, creators are traditionally underpaid anyway, for the most part.

Gene Stewart

Sunday 8 October 2006

Dear Locus,

Only reader Nick Zentor has offered the pertinent response to Mr. Doctorow's essay about copyright. The law originated, and is often revised, not to protect artists from financial interference by their audience but by other "publishers." If it's true that Disney lawyers had the protection period extended to prevent Mickey Mouse from falling into the public domain, it wasn't to prevent Mickey-lovers from bootlegging Mickey material all over the place, it was to prevent Time-Warner and others from doing that. Copyright law has little to do with artists and citizens. Copyright law protects publishers from other publishers.

Richard Imbro

Friday 6 October 2006

Dear Locus,

Cory Doctorow's article is a good kicker and definitely raises some good points. For anybody else reading this technically anything printed before 1923 is out of copyright.

We can thank Disney for extended copyright law and the good old excuse for money. (i.e Mickey Mouse) Ooops... just a minute. That name is still under the gun. I'd better be careful.

While the author's rights should be protected what happens to stuff that goes out of print? The publisher will pull anything that does not sell enough copies within six months because it is not profitable. So for the reader how do you get these great books that someone tells you about?

Easy you go to the used bookstore or borrow it from a friend. Nobody makes any money that way... And I don't get to read the older stuff unless I want to look for years.

So Cory has it right: something needs to Change.

David Edwards

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