28 March 2016

It's Only Pain

All I have to say about the posting gap is that migraines suck... and make me even more grouchy about hypocrisy (which is why you'll find so little election coverage here in the first place).

  • The EU is finally considering a form-over-substance revision to part of its VAT system that might — just might — bring e-book VAT in line with printed-on-paper books. Of course, it's a mere consultation at present, but it's at least a start to the conversation.

    On the other hand, I'm against VAT (and sales taxes) in the first place as inherently regressive and not serving an appropriate economic purpose, because taxing activity instead of hoarding is ultimately counterproductive. But that's for another time... and, I have to admit, the alternatives are limited.

  • In a disturbingly related story on this side of the Pond, my old adversary Scribd blew it when changing from an unlimited-reading "subscription" model to a limited-borrowing model. Bluntly, this is entirely consistent with the problems I've had with Scribd from day one: It has relied upon uncurated submissions by users and not by the actual authors/creators for its library, under the "information wants to be free, but we want to profit from making it free" model also shared by even-less-savoury filesharing systems. Let's just say that the opportunities for piracy (and other unauthorized use, such as the publisher exceeding the scope of the license) are rampant and leave it at that, ok? And as a final reminder, "out of print" does not mean "out of copyright."
  • Jumping back across the Pond again for a moment, the EU has launched a public consultation into the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the "panorama exception". And American authors need to pay attention: There are over 100 million active readers of English-language materials in the EU, not to mention the translation and derivative-works markets.
  • Rod "The Hair" Blagojevich lost his last appeal when the Supreme Court denied him certiorari this morning. Illinois politics is Illinois politics, even (and perhaps especially) outside of Chicago — the corruption, machines, nepotism, and bigotry are just as bad downstate, in both parties, but haven't had the kind of PR that big-city-Chicago has had over the last century. Just take a look at DuPage County (or Champaign County), let alone the state government...

Now back to the pain and suffering.