02 May 2011

Incomplete-News-and-Speculation-About-Antiterrorist-Strike-Free Link Sausages

Even if my NDA did not restrict me to meaningless platitudes, the lack of information on some critical aspects (for good and sufficient reasons of operational security) would keep me from comment. Onward to the link sausage platter!

  • License or sale? The recorded music industry is struggling with that now, and it makes a huge difference to recording artists (not so much to songwriters, but that's for another time). The publishing industry's "version" of this is its pathetic, misguided attempt to impose a 25%-of-net flat rate on e-book "sales"... a model that's going to fail, if only on antitrust/unfair competition grounds if somebody challenges it under the proper circumstances. In this instance, though, the traditional decade lag between the economic problems/solutions/paradigm of recorded music and those of print publishing is going to be somewhat less; and that's a good thing, from both the rigid law-and-economics/classical-contract-theory perspective of "ensuring certainty over time" and those of us who believe in active enforcement of unfair competition law. It will be good under the former theories because in this instance it will provide some certainty where now there is none — and where there is no certainty, holders of existing capital refuse to take risks that The System demands that they take. It will be good under the latter theories because it will make clear exactly what kind of collusion is going on, and that all too often the choice of publishing model/empire is a choice of exactly which con artist one wishes to be fleeced by.
  • Speaking of being fleeced by con artists, there's an incredibly misguided essay in yesterday's NYTBR that tries to analogize the process of book publicity and marketing to "[p]eddling my work like a V_____ salesman". Mr Perrottet doesn't know what he's talking about... because the market for V_____ doesn't resemble the market for books in any relevant characteristic. Of course, that may be why publisher marketing and publicity efforts — which too often resemble those for "limpness" pills, but without the disclaimers — don't work too well. Just imagine a similar disclaimer for this book:

    Do not read To Kill a Mockingbird if you wear white bedsheets, often prescribed for self-identity pain, as this may cause a sudden, unsafe jump in blood pressure. Discuss your general intellectual status with your instructor to ensure that you are educated enough to engage in intellectual activity. If you experience moral pain, nausea, or any other discomforts during reading, seek immediate intellectual help. In the rare event of introspection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate intellectual help to avoid long-term injury.

    If you experience sudden decrease or loss of trust in the criminal justice system, stop reading moderately challenging books, including To Kill a Mockingbird, and call a preacher right away. Sudden decrease or loss of trust in established social orders has been rarely reported in people reading literature, including To Kill a Mockingbird. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to reading or to other factors. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of trust in established social orders, stop reading and contact a community leader right away.

    The most common side effects of reading are headache, facial flushing, and upset stomach. Less commonly, bluish vision, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light may briefly occur.

    in the usual style one sees on TV, perhaps intoned with glazed-over eyes by an unduly attractive (gender irrelevant) fake grad student to a fake quiz section for a fake university's fake English 107 (Introduction to Literature) course. Especially since that author has, for half a century, refused requests for press interviews, without seeming to hurt sales much (if at all). I don't even want to think what the disclaimers for 1984, or The Left Hand of Darkness, or A Theory of Justice, or even Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies might look like!

    The rest of the essay is wrong, too; detailed analysis will have to wait for another time. This is, after all, only a link sausage.

  • Speaking of writers who would need extensive disclaimers to get past the morons: RIP Joanna Russ.