19 May 2010

Gimme Coffee

  • There's an aphorism that the reason clichés exist is that they have a basis in truth. It would be interesting to run that aphorism through the same analysis as this consideration of misunderstood sayings... particularly as the principle example is based on a bad, out-of-context translation (the quoted discussion does not go nearly far enough).
  • It's bad enough to have investments in film futures hanging around; it's a good thing that nobody does the same for books... primarily because there isn't enough capitalization per issue.
  • B&N has announced availability of a "new" self-publishing platform this summer. There really isn't very much new about it: It appears to be just a slicker interface for converting documents to the ePub format, combined with a secondary interface to make those documents available for sale to others. One wonders how quickly the pirates are going to try to use this platform to make some money from their pirated copies... or, more importantly, if PutIt will respect territorial rights, or allow those whose rights are infringed by material made available through PubIt to block the material (n.b. it does not appear that PubIt will qualify for a DMCA safe harbor...).
  • Songwriters in Canada have been seeking compensation for clips from their works. Not so fast, said Canada's Federal Court of Appeal. Keep in mind, though, that this has nothing to do with Canadian works played in the US, or US works played in Canada, or anything outside of Canada, or — and this is where the blogosphere and IWTBF crowd is going to screw up — fair use under US copyright law. Instead, this concerns "fair dealing" under Canadian law, which is analogous to fair use... but isn't really all that close in substance once one begins unpacking the terms.
  • SFWA President-elect Scalzi, aka "The Baconator", muses on why "punishing the publisher" doesn't work. And, of course, it works even less for other distributed forms of entertainment — film, music, TV. Applying this principle to other commercial boycotts is left as an exercise for the student... and for antitrust specialists.

    What Scalzi never reaches, though, is a more-important question: Should "punishing the publisher" work? If so, why? And, if not, what method(s) may the public use to control abusive economic behavior by publishers (and film studios, and record companies, and TV networks)?