14 August 2012

Foggy Link Sausages

This weekend was lost to a nasty cold complicated by a bad meal that resulted in breaking in the gods of the porcelain altar here in the Shark Tank. I therefore do not vouch for the sanitization (or sanity) of these link sausages. Then, do I ever?

  • One of my favorite annual contests — one that searches for unashamedly bad opening lines of hypothetical books, the 2012 Bulwer-Lytton Contest — has announced its "winners". For some value of that...
  • Ewan Morrison demonstrates that he doesn't know that much about literary history in a subtle tirade against fan fiction in the Grauniad. Now, I'm no fan of fanfic, but this isn't exactly the first time that this sort of thing has happened during periods of radical reduction in publishing costs. Consider the explosion of "copycat" chansons de geste in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, epitomized by Amadis and so memorably lampooned in Don Quixote — there was fan fiction then, too. There was a similar "explosion" when the steam-powered press was introduced, and again with mechanical and adhesive bindings, and yet at least twice more during the twentieth century. Fanfic (however awful and embarassing it often is) didn't manage to kill literature then...
  • Meanwhile, DRM raises its ugly head again. Cory Doctorow discusses the problem at length in PW. Hachette UK's management responds that DRM is a better way to do business and claims that it works (it doesn't; remember CopyIIPC and DeCSS?) while completely neglecting the antitrust violations implicit in its demand for a "DRM MFN" clause for its authors. Ms Mackenzie's blithering, and the policy it is supporting, is precisely parallel to the MFN clauses being attacked in the Wormyfruit litigation.
  • Professor Madison muses on the implications of Google's stated intent to penalize serial copyright abusers in site rankings... without quite reaching the issue of how that implicates Google's own copyright-abusing subsidiaries.