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Ursula Le Guin's Petition Against Google Books 473

Posted by kdawson
from the circling-the-wagons dept.
Miracle Jones blogs about the petition against the Google Book Settlement created by science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin, winner of five Hugo awards and six Nebulas. Le Guin is urging professional writers who are opposed to the terms of the settlement to sign her online petition before the January 28th deadline. From the petition: "The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."
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Ursula Le Guin's Petition Against Google Books

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  • by onionman (975962) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:18PM (#30884458)

    "But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."

    So, which corporation is more evil when it comes to copyright: Disney or Google? Seems to me that Le Guin is in effect supporting the Disney model.

    • by Cruciform (42896) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:22PM (#30884486) Homepage

      No, she's saying that while copyright on the document is in effect that no corporation shall infringe upon that copyright.

      Disney wants "copyright == infinity".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:34PM (#30884580)

      No, she's saying the authors should have control over their work, or whoever they sell those rights to.

      I don't have any problem with that. I think the Google deal is a bad one for everyone because A) why should Google have special privileges? Why can't anyone else get the same terms? And B) it doesn't focus on the real problem: indefinite extension of copyright terms and the illegality of DRM circumvention even if the activity would otherwise be legal.

      Copyright law is broken. It needs to be fixed, not fiddled with to Google's advantage only.

      • Wish I had some mod points. What you say makes a lot of sense.

      • Absolutely! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Weezul (52464) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:58PM (#30885308)

        Google does not need the settlement if copyright were restored to the original 14 year timeframe! All books older than 14 years should be indexed by google by virtue of being in the public domain. Authors and publishers should play the search engine game like everyone else during that 14 years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Google does not need the settlement if copyright were restored to the original 14 year timeframe! All books older than 14 years should be indexed by google by virtue of being in the public domain. Authors and publishers should play the search engine game like everyone else during that 14 years.

          Random sidenote, can you imagine how much more culture we could consume if everything were limited to 14 years?
          I wonder how many authors would continue writing?

          This is very frustrating to me.

          • Re:Absolutely! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by remmelt (837671) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:37AM (#30887038) Homepage

            How many writers still sell their books more than 14 years after they're first published?

            • Re:Absolutely! (Score:4, Interesting)

              by hitmark (640295) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:25AM (#30888472) Journal

              more like, how many publishers keep the authors book in print for the full 14 years...

              i am hard pressed finding a book that was printed 5 years ago, unless i head for the library. And there is no indication that the publisher plans to do more print runs.

      • All of them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thomst (1640045) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:53AM (#30886112) Homepage

        Copyright law is broken. It needs to be fixed, not fiddled with to Google's advantage only.

        And, given last week's Supreme Court decision removing all restrictions on corporations' spending to influence political decisions, how long do you propose we hold our collective breath?

        Let's face it, folks. Absent a revolution, we've lost this war. At the behest of five assholes in black party dresses, America has now officially become a plutocracy. Money talks and public interest walks.

        Not that that's any great change from business as usual, you understand. It's just official now.

        I'd weep for my poor, broken-ass country, if I wasn't so busy trying not to become homeless ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sp3d2orbit (81173)

        Google doesn't have special privileges. Any company is free to negotiate the same terms.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HuguesT (84078)

          Yes, any company with enough (monetary) clout. Choose the fortune 500 that you prefer for this ?

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:35PM (#30884586) Homepage

      So, which corporation is more evil when it comes to copyright: Disney or Google? Seems to me that Le Guin is in effect supporting the Disney model.

      No.

      She's saying that, during the term of a copyright, a corporation should have to actually get permission from the copyright holder to use a writer's work.

      The google-model is opt-out-- "unless you specifically contact us and tell us not to, we now have your implied permission to use your work."

      I'm not real happy with opt-out models, myself.

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        The United States Department of Justice agrees, having declared that Google should negotiate individually with copyright holders. The Director of the United States Copyright Office calls the Settlement “an end-run around copyright law.”

        Exactly. And that's the magic right there.
        No claim of extending copyright. Just fair treatment of copyright holders without special exemption for corporations... Google operates for a profit. Your local library does not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bartab (233395)

          Google operates for a profit. Your local library does not.

          Probably not, but there's no reason they can't. Blockbuster operates for a profit after all. Libraries, be they book or video, work because of the inherent physicality of the work. I own 5 copies of a book, I can rent out 5 copies. Even if I charge, there's nothing an author can say about that.

          It's the "e"-book that's throwing a kink in things, not either the library aspect or the profitability of it. If Google purchases e-book licenses, I fail to se

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:43PM (#30884674)

        Google is attempting to re-create "public domain" in an industry where Disney is trying to kill it.

        In this instance I'm in favour of Google as being the "lesser" evil.

        Because Disney is still raking in the revenues on old works, they will continue to pay Congress to extend the copyright period. Public Domain will die. At least this way SOME works will still be available.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kabloom (755503)

          Interesteing... Google as an equal and opposite reaction to Disney (and the MPAA/RIAA). We should actually try to get around to *fixing* copyright, particularly if Google doesn't get its settlement, it would probably use its financial resources lobbying muscle to fix this in a more general way in the legislative arena.

      • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:14PM (#30885402) Journal

        I'm not real happy with opt-out models, myself.

        Well, in the case of orphaned works, this is the best option, but Google should not be granted any special privileges or exclusivity over those works.

      • by sp3d2orbit (81173) on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:25AM (#30887310)

        No. Google's model only applies to orphaned books, ones that don't have an identifiable owner. Both you and Le Guin want us to believe that Google can use any book they want whenever they want without permission.

    • by RDW (41497) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:56PM (#30884788)

      Le Guin does not in fact support the 'Disney model', e.g. here:

      http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Copyright.html [ursulakleguin.com]

      she describes the Sonny Bono act as "the recent excessive extension of copyright term by the U.S.A, which has imperilled the international copyright system". She just doesn't want to be screwed over by Google in a land grab deal negotiated by an 'Authors Guild' that doesn't represent her.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Phanatic1a (413374)

        She just doesn't want to be screwed over by Google in a land grab deal negotiated by an 'Authors Guild' that doesn't represent her.

        What good is a petition, then? An agreement between Google and this 'Author's Guild' doesn't change the black-letter copyright law of this country. If she's not represented by the Guild, then when Google reproduces her work withour her permission, then she can sue them for copyright infringement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bartab (233395)

        she describes the Sonny Bono act as "the recent excessive extension of copyright term by the U.S.A, which has imperilled the international copyright system".

        Seriously? Is this just reflexive Berkeley anti-americanism or some specific anti-americanism of her own part?

        The Sonny Bono act was to bring the US into agreement with -already-existing- EU law, and is based entirely upon the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works which the "international copyright system" is based upon.

        I ex

  • by Tobenisstinky (853306) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:18PM (#30884464)

    I'm all for electronic distribution, as long as the author is still paid for their work; but perhaps they become public domain upon their death; none of this estate stuff...

    • I'm ok with estate (surviving spouse), it's America's de-facto perpetual copyright combined with abuse of international copyright treaties (keep renewing in a different country to circumvent laws) that pisses me off.

    • by Cruciform (42896) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:39PM (#30884626) Homepage

      Do you realize how quickly JK Rowling and other authors would be murdered if that were the case?
      Book publishers would end up with their own mercenary task forces to get access to popular works.

      • Do you realize how quickly JK Rowling and other authors would be murdered if that were the case?
        Book publishers would end up with their own mercenary task forces to get access to popular works.

        Heinlein would have loved that idea...

        A big compound with the lights which tell float craft not to try it, and a lime pit behind the hot tub.

      • by Draek (916851) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:59PM (#30885762)

        If it were so she'd have been murdered already, given that the copyright expiration clock doesn't start ticking as long as she breathes.

        Though given that corporations can't generally think 5 minutes ahead of them, let alone 50 years, it may just be that I'm giving corps far more credit than they deserve.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "none of this estate stuff..."

      This always drives me nuts as a writer. Okay it can take a decade or more to get your work out there. Say I write a dozen books and finally get one published then a day later die in a car accident leaving my family with nothing but the work I spent ten years writing. Are you saying they don't have the right to benefit from my work? Some writers only become popular after their death even though they may leave a large body of work. Why should the public benefit but not my family?

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:32PM (#30885108)

        Why are writers and creators of media singled out for loosing everything upon their deaths?

        You're not. Anything you physically own before you die will be passed on to your family (local laws permitting), just like any other person on the planet... house, money, car, copies of your books, porn mags, etc.

        The real question should be: why are writers and creators singled out for _EXTRA_ rights which aren't given to anyone else? If I die, my kids won't be able to go to my boss and demand that he continues to pay them my salary, why should writers be any different?

        • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmail. c o m> on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:12AM (#30887238) Homepage

          Why are writers and creators of media singled out for loosing everything upon their deaths?

          You're not. Anything you physically own before you die will be passed on to your family (local laws permitting), just like any other person on the planet... house, money, car, copies of your books, porn mags, etc.

          The real question should be: why are writers and creators singled out for _EXTRA_ rights which aren't given to anyone else? If I die, my kids won't be able to go to my boss and demand that he continues to pay them my salary, why should writers be any different?

          Except your example is nothing like the situation a writers family is in. A writers family is in the same situation I am - I inherited a piece of property, and I have every right to insist the tenants on that property continue to pay rent. I inherited a sales contract on an automobile, and I have every right to insist the payments be made on time and in full. Etc. etc..
           
          So no, the writers family isn't any different. They inherit property and contracts the same as you and me.

  • Limited times (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:19PM (#30884468) Homepage Journal

    But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    So, what in her mind happens when that time expires?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by e9th (652576)
      Not sure what Ursula has in mind, but I think that copyright is one thing the Founders got right back in 1790. [wikipedia.org]
    • Simple. It never expires. She seems to have a very very distorted idea of what "free and open dissemination of information and literature" means. Apparently she thinks that information needs to be controlled by its author(s) in order to be open or some such nonsense. It's an extreme sense of entitlement.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        You have hit it on the nose. "free and open dissemination" simply does not jibe with it being "controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it." Putting it in the public domain is free and open; using a Free distribution license like Creative Commons also is. And of course, infringement of copyright law is also free and open dissemination. Anything else is not, but PD and so-called piracy are both clear examples of free and open distribution which do not involve author/owner control.

        I don't h

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:07PM (#30884908) Homepage Journal

      But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

      To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

      So, what in her mind happens when that time expires?

      Nothing, obviously: Under ACTA, copyrights will expire roughly two weeks after the heat death of the universe.

  • the parental model (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:24PM (#30884502) Homepage Journal

    It occurs to me that authoring a book should be a lot like raising a child. You should have the right to full control of your progeny for a little while then it's not "yours" any more. To hold on to that relationship too long is unhealthy for everyone involved, including society as a hole.

    This idea that artists control their work forever is unfair to everyone.

    • by wjc_25 (1686272) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:30PM (#30884534)
      That's a good image; I'll have to remember that one. LeGuin doesn't seem to be saying that artists should hold onto their work forever. She's saying that while the copyright is in effect a large corporation (in this case Google) should not have the ability to twist the law to their own ends. I would have thought the typically left-of-center audience of Slashdot would sympathize with this sentiment.
      • by peragrin (659227)

        NO she is saying she wants the Disney model where her great great grandchildren get paid for doing nothing because they are related to her. The google model while not much better at least lets the works become useful after her death.

      • by rts008 (812749)

        More of us would be sympathetic with that sentiment if copyright laws/terms were not so out of whack.

        The original terms of 14 years, with an extension to double that was spot on. Now days, 28 years can be an eternity with software, among other digital forms of media.
        Add to that the always connected trend in recent years, social networking, youtube(and similar), etc., and you begin to see that 95+years can seem excessive.(especially when it seems to Joe Sixpack that most rights to stuff is owned by big corpo

      • by Dare nMc (468959) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:06PM (#30885356)

        The google case is only about 2 things 1) out of print "orphaned books." 2) showing small sections of all other books.
        She is only complaining about the orphaned books. I would support her if she was proposing some way of saving these books, it appears to me her real motive is she doesn't want google awaking competition to her books. Her only proposals seamed aimed solely at increasing the cost to google, not increasing access to these books.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The google case is only about 2 things 1) out of print "orphaned books." 2) showing small sections of all other books. She is only complaining about the orphaned books.

          No, she's complaining that all books are assumed "orphaned" by Google, unless the author notices and tells otherwise.

          The only sane way to fix copyright is by significantly reducing the term (so that true orphaned works just fall into public domain quickly). The "Google solution" is nothing but a corporate power-grab.

      • by Draek (916851) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:09AM (#30885836)

        True. Thing is, however, that we've been screwed for so long by copyright laws that to many of us, this Google deal is a perfect opportunity to shout "fuck you!" to those scumbags in return, even if it's not the best way to go about it (mostly because only Google gets the benefits, the "opt-out" can stay as far as I'm concerned).

    • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:35PM (#30884590) Homepage Journal

      This idea that artists control their work forever is unfair to everyone.

      The French would disagree with this. They have single handedly foisted on the world ever longer copyrights since the 19th century. I don't know why the French are this way, but given that they have invented croissants, mayonaisse and champagne, I'm inclined to believe them.

      So it looks like the French are our new political football in America. Liberals loved the French when they were anti-war, and now, here we are, conservatives, saying, "hey, look at how great France is", in order to support copyrights.

      Oh France! Some Americans will always hate you, but America as a whole will always love you!

      • by tjstork (137384)

        and now, here we are, conservatives, saying, "hey, look at how great France is", in order to support copyrights

        I get it too that there are many liberals for copyright and conservatives against. I was just making a joke about the role of France in the USA.

        I'm actually increasingly against copyrights and patents because I think they create a social inequality between different kinds of workers. A man that builds a house, can only charge once for that house. A man that writes a computer program, or a song,

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        This idea that artists control their work forever is unfair to everyone.

        The French would disagree with this. They have single handedly foisted on the world ever longer copyrights since the 19th century. I don't know why the French are this way, but given that they have invented croissants, mayonaisse and champagne, I'm inclined to believe them.

        So it looks like the French are our new political football in America. Liberals loved the French when they were anti-war, and now, here we are, conservatives, saying, "hey, look at how great France is", in order to support copyrights.

        Oh France! Some Americans will always hate you, but America as a whole will always love you!

        Ironically enough the French stole the croissant from the Austrians - perhaps Vienna should lodge a DMCA takedown notice against every patisserie in Paris.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I love how all the people proposing these theories here have never published a book that actually could be sold for real money.

      Why is it unfair that artists control their work? That's like saying that people who build or buy a house should eventually have to give it back to society. If you have talent and tremendous dedication, go make another work that may be inspired by the works you admire. Just don't copy passages verbatim or use the same names.

      If you don't have both talent and tremendous dedication,

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:20PM (#30885006) Homepage

        > Why is it unfair that artists control their work?

        Why? Because you have to trample on the rights of others to do so.

        A dress is not in many places at once. If you want to control what happens
        to a dress, or a car, or a chair then it is a fairly simple matter. Any
        attempt to control physical property is by the nature of non-imaginary
        property very limited in scope.

        In order to "control" what's in the ether you have to be ready, willing and
        able to interfere with people in their own homes and businesses in their own
        offices. The scope and scale of the necessary meddling involved is as infinite
        as the nature of the "property".

        COPYright is about making copies. Anything else is just bogus artistic megalomania.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:31PM (#30884550) Homepage

    Part of the beauty of the library is the copyright owner/author/interest holder is NOT able to control access to the work. How many publishers would love to say "this book is for retail sale only: all lending is prohibited" on all their books?

    Sometimes, the interest is maximized when the copyright owner/author/interest holder does NOT have control.

    I think, under a slight variation (ALL others can be under the same terms as google), the proposed Google settlement would be a good thing.

    (Of course, with Google getting effective exclusivity under this agreement, I think its a bad thing, but for a very different reason).

  • Doublethink (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrylis (262281) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:32PM (#30884552)

    It seems to me that Ms. LeGuin is engaging in a bit of doublethink: How exactly is anything "free" while it's simultaneously "controlled"?

    (Not to mention, of course, that claiming "legitimate right" is begging the question...)

  • by BitterOak (537666) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:33PM (#30884570)

    The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

    Her statements here appear contradictory. She says that electronic books should be available as books are available in libraries, but goes on to say that copyright holders must control their dissemination. But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:39PM (#30884628) Homepage

      First off, the "dissemination" in a library is indeed tightly controlled. A library cannot lend out more copies then they purchase, and the lending is according to some rules. Libraries do not allow copying and redistribution, for example.

      The second point is what Google is proposing today is one thing, and what happens in the future, should their forced opt-out agreement hold, is quite another. They may use their control over the content in ways that are unforeseen today and extremely unfavorable to authors. No part of their proposed agreement says what they can and cannot do in the future.

      • by BitterOak (537666)

        First off, the "dissemination" in a library is indeed tightly controlled. A library cannot lend out more copies then they purchase,

        True, and that's a good point.

        and the lending is according to some rules.

        Ahh, but it is the library that makes these rules, not the author!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Zero__Kelvin (151819)

          "Ahh, but it is the library that makes these rules, not the author!"

          Actually it is an evil group conspiracy! involving the publisher, library, the law, and physics:

          • The publisher sells X number of copies, thus limiting availability and making sure they amd the author - GASP! - receive money for their efforts
          • The library decides who they will and won't allow to borrow the books they - GASP - paid for !
          • The law says you cannot make a copy of the book
          • Physics insists that the same physical book cannot be rea
    • Le Guin is one of my least favorite writers. This reminds me why.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572)

      But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

      Yes they do. If the library purchases one copy of a book, they can only loan out one copy of that book. They can't take it into the back room and make thirty copies of it. That's because... wait for it... the author and/or publisher maintains copyright control of that book.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

      Her statements are contradictory, but not for this reason. In fact, you have failed the semantics test. Copyright holders most certainly have control over the dissemination of information in books in public libraries, including eBooks. You must purchase one copy for each loan you wish to make. Libraries use DRM on internet eBook loaning (except as permitted by the publisher) to prevent multiple-loaning.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      Her statements here appear contradictory. She says that electronic books should be available as books are available in libraries, but goes on to say that copyright holders must control their dissemination. But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

      You're right but the biggest problem is the phrase 'information and literature.' I have a bigger problem with her logic that information should be controlled. Had she said 'arts and literature' I would have written a lengthy response attempting to identify with her or at least asking what her desired end state is. But when you start to advocate control of information, you kind of lose me on pure principle.

      Now I'm not naive enough to think that fiction and nonfiction are a pure dichotomy and would op

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636)

      But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

      Actually, they do. To get permission to distribute a book in libraries, the library must purchase the book, or at least receive it via a chain of physical ownership that begins with someone purchasing the book. And even then, the library cannot simply sell or otherwise distribute additional copies they make of the book.

      What Le Guin is complaining about here is that, unlike the deal she made with her publisher to make and sell copies of her books, the Google deal is being forced upon her by organizations she

  • On limited times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Whitley (6067) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:38PM (#30884620) Homepage

    Ironically, given the state of copyright legislation, it seems that a good compromise position would be to ditch the Google Book Settlement (reverting control to authors) and slash the duration of copyright to a tiny fraction of its current amount (opening a vast amount of works into the public domain -- and into electronic archives). Google and other companies could then negotiate terms with authors for rights to enter newer works into their archives as well. Offhand, I'd target between five to twenty years or so, possibly varying in that range depending on renewals, etc.

    • Re:On limited times (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tinkerghost (944862) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:56PM (#30884794) Homepage

      Offhand, I'd target between five to twenty years or so, possibly varying in that range depending on renewals, etc.

      Some economic studies done have shown that the original 14/28 year lifespan on copyright produces the most incentive to authors while still allowing the works to become the basis of new works within the lifespan of the original purchasers of that work.

  • But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

    Why not?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CoolGopher (142933)
      No, it raises the question. Begging the question [begthequestion.info] is quite different.

      *casts fireward on himself*
      • Re:Begs question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:05PM (#30884896) Homepage

        From the site you linked to:

        What is "Begging the Question?"

        "Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

        Sure sounds like LeGuin is begging the question to me. That's exactly what the quote from the summary shows her to be doing. Unless the summary didn't bother including the rationale for her argument, I'd say she's begging the question.

  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:45PM (#30884682) Homepage Journal

    "The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media."

    ok

    "All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it."

    huh? you just logically countered your initial statement

    either its free, or there's control. i love ursula k leguin. in fact, i noticed cameron ripped her off with the "every plant is a node in a giant neural network" idea in avatar. it was a short story of hers, i forget the name, and she played it like a horror movie instead. but leguin isn't seeing the bigger picture here, despite her prodigious and keen powers of insight as shown in her works of fiction. kinda like the mathematics professor who can't balance his checkbook, i guess

    "We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."

    i agree 100%. except that already happened many decades ago, and has only gotten worse. existing copyright law no longer serves creators. it serves distributors

    such that creators today actually make out better releasing for free, and deriving ancillary revenue streams from their popularity: advertising, endorsements, personalized content, movie deals, etc.

    current copyright law will not serve you to make more money than this all-free-on-the-internet model. it will only serve some asshole in a distribution company. a distribution company that serves no function anymore in the world of the internet

    the internet has made ip law defunct. and this aids creators: direct interaction with your consumers. the only people that are hurt is the parasitic middlemen in between

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Will your movie be free on the internet?

      An by the way I don't believe google and the internet mean that content has to be free. I am fine with creators who charge to download their works, but I don't download DRM controlled formats. But at the same time I can't really be bothered distributing free copies of stuff I may have downloaded. I have 5 gigabytes of CDs on my laptop which I am not sharing with others, mostly because they would pick on my taste in music...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Opyros (1153335)

      i love ursula k leguin. in fact, i noticed cameron ripped her off with the "every plant is a node in a giant neural network" idea in avatar. it was a short story of hers, i forget the name, and she played it like a horror movie instead.

      "Vaster than Empires and More Slow", collected in her anthology The Wind's Twelve Quarters [wikipedia.org]

  • Bounty System. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Master Moose (1243274) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:51PM (#30884736) Homepage
    Here is how (I think) I would do it. I start to write a book. I will release a few chapters for free online. I could and would even solicit feedback from these chapters. I now start a bounty. I would want X dollars for my work and a little bit to keep me going. Once I have reached X dollars, I will finish my story and release it as an e-book - free for any and all to read, share and do pretty much anything with besides alter or make money off of. If I fail to reach my bounty - it would be because people didn't want my story - why should I get paid for or release/finish something no one wants? They key to this idea is that I get compensated what I believe I should and get compensated(until a movie studio wants to buy the movie rights). And no one gets denied my literary genius :) The public does not even need to know how much my bounty is - maybe I would let them know what percentage has been obtained - and if unreached, I would guarantee refunds.
  • by kasper_souren (1577647) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:22PM (#30885024) Homepage

    LeGuin wrote some very interesting books. Unfortunately her stance on copyright is a bit too 20th centure to my taste.

    Doctorow: "I did this with the understanding that reproducing, for the purposes of commentary, a single paragraph originally published in a noncommercial venue, was fair use under 17USC, the American copyright statute. Ms Le Guin disagrees, and though I haven't heard from her personally, my understanding is that she disagrees on the basis that taking the whole story can't be fair use. I have taken the piece down. The last thing I wanted to do was quote Ms Le Guin against her wishes, and had I known sooner that she objected to being quoted, I would have removed it sooner. " http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/14/an-apology-to-ursula.html [boingboing.net]

  • by harrytuttle777 (1720146) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:42PM (#30885204)

    Copyrights are a detriment to human progress. When Benjamen Franklin and others created the idea of the public library, it was so that people could free themselves from ignorance and use their new found knowledge to create a better life for themselves and posterity. Now in the year 2010, that dream dream of free knowledge for freedoms sake is very very sick. In the USA, libraries are shutting down earlier and earlier, and the masses are kept satiated with a steady supply of pointless entertainment, and meaningless work. Copyright "rights holders" want to keep you in ignorance and beholden to them for knowledge.

    However there is hope on the horizon. Thanks to the up-coming and inevitable e-book revolution, the written word will be free from the printed page, and those that would control those pages. Let us burn down the publishing houses, and give a Kindle to every man, women and child. Those that want to make a living of the work and sweat of others e.g. Publishing houses, the Author's guild, and the descendants of the writers who still want to be Paid 70 plus years after the actual author's body has been eaten by worms should find themselves dead in the street.

    Ursula Le Guin did some good work in her day. We should respect Ms. Guin, like we respect a slightly senile and kindly Grandma, but we should not let our lives by run by your old grandparents.

    -Strike a blow for freedom today, by downloading an illegal e-book today and reading it.

  • Unreasonable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:18AM (#30885890)

    If copyright laws were the same way as they were 100 years ago there would be cooperation from the public. But these days copyright has gone way too far in many ways including fair use restrictions as well as lasting for way too many years. Content creators are getting too much protection as it now stands.

  • by Evil Shabazz (937088) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:52AM (#30886798)
    Without getting into whether what she really means is right or wrong, she contradicts herself and she is not being genuine:

    "But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it."

    Simply speaking, if something is controlled by any entity, it is thereby not free and open in the truest sense of all words involved. Controlled != free. What she really means is, "I'm trying to appeal to the sense freedom and openness in many communities but I really want to be sure I can always continue to make money on my books."

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