26 January 2015

Another Randy Newman Memorial Blawg Post

But without any Citizens United rants. This time.

  • Author Ann Bauer thinks that authors need to disclose their sources of income, especially when they're "kept" by a spouse/partner/family fortune. This is not at all a bad idea, but it has a very disturbing corollary. By implication, it assumes that authors who might claim that all of their income comes from/through their publishing activities could do so with some measure of accuracy, and thereby have a valid comparison and meaningful discussion. As Kris Rusch notes, not so much (and her piece is both remarkably restrained and well worth consideration).

    Yes, this is me as a chemist arguing that the combination of continued reification of the Aristotelian model of matter and bad — approaching no — lab technique by those alchemists who question that model (as a side gig from trying to make gold out of baser materials) necessarily means we can't have an accurate discussion on the artistic equivalent of global warming.

  • And at least at present, the "average" author who eschews commercial publishing can't pay for a daily overmilked coffee drink with his/her earnings, either. And even less so if actually paying all the taxes due on those earnings...
  • ... while Carrie Vaughn points out that there's no one universally correct way to publish one's works anyway, along with the obvious inference that the landscape has already changed radically in five or six years and will almost certainly change radically in the next five or six years.
  • Whatever you do, though, don't rely on Wikip3dia for anything, or as a publishing "credit".
  • And meanwhile, the courts and legislators continue to demonstrate that their understanding of both the distributive arts in general and the economics of creators in the distributive arts leaves more than a bit to be desired. The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in a way that implies there is no European equivalent of "first sale" for digital products... meaning, in turn, that those who "buy" e-books aren't actually buying them, but paying a nontransferable one-time access fee. Riiiiiiiight. And meanwhile, the same court refrained from being clear in reaching a more-defensible decision on jurisdiction over copyright infringement matters in the EU: The place where there's access to infringing work is a proper place to sue. Well, duuuuuuuh.

    OK, that was perhaps a bit unfair/Pax Americanus-seeming, as the law in Europe really is different. That doesn't make it less silly, though. Congratulations, Europe: You're slowly discovering what the US figured out 225 years ago under the Articles of Confederation... and that like South Carolina, Luxembourg is too small to be an effective nation and too large to be an effective insane asylum. (Remember, it was a Senator from South Carolina who said that.) Federal and federal-like systems require not just supremacy, but a certain amount of cultural deference, to the central authority, or they're really just excuses for hyperformalist evasion of responsibility (like that attempted by the defendant in Hejduk). And that has turned out so well for Europe over the last two millenia or so.