Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Almighty Buck

Publishers vs. Libraries, round 2 184

CBNobi writes: "CNet's News.com has an article about book publishers' attempts to block the public from accessing free material from - where else - libraries. Publishers fear their copyrighted materials will be freely distributed in a digital form." Nice article. We've covered this before, but it isn't going away - publishers want a pay-for-use library system so that you won't go there to escape high prices elsewhere.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Publishers vs. Libraries, round 2

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, how bout we figure out exactly which publishers are trying to do this, and then be sure to scan and distribute electronically any of their materials? I'm really sick of this crap.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems that more and more of these conundrums come from companies/institutions/courts not understanding the enormity of the Internet

    I think they understand it just fine, otherwise they wouldn't be making such a big deal out of it. The people who don't understand are those who think that any intangible goods should be de facto free. The zealots who say, "Well, it doesn't cost anything to make a copy, so how am I stealing? You're going to have to face the fact that you can't make money off of {software||content} anymore. You'll have to start selling {hardware||service||advertising}." Just look at how well it works for Open Source-based companies.

    Small price to pay for having huge amounts of information at your fingertips at a moment's notice, including book reviews, music reviews, or software reviews.

    Umm, who pays which price? The content providers pay to produce the content, and they pay for providing it to the consumer? What, pray tell, is their motivation? If you want to see a new dark ages, just take away all the content provider's profit motive. All that will be left on your much vaunted internet is Geocities home pages about pomeranians and GNU/Zealots' home pages.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    For a slightly more humorous offering from these same clowns, check out the Stoolie Reward Program(tm)(c)(r) they've got all set up:

    http://www.publishers.org/home/itr/reward.htm

    Oh well, at least we know that they actually *read* the books that they publish ... or is it just 1984?

    Me:"Hello, piracy hotline? I've got a situation here."
    Hotline Phone Jockey:"What seems to be the problem?"
    Me:"My 12 year old brother is typing in quotes from Ender's Game for unautorized use on his Star Wars fan site. What should I do?"
    Hotline Phone Jockey:"Just remain calm, sir. We've got a beatdown team on the way. In the meantime, do you have a copy of Episodes 4-6, special edition DVD that you can distract him with?"
    Me(recomposing myself after an inadvertant fit of laughter):"No, but I think he might have a copy kicking around somewhere. It's a pirated copy he watches with some DeCSS PERL script he wrote?"
    Hotline Phone Jockey:"Thank you, fine upstanding citizen. We have contacted the publisher on the book issue, George Lucas on the unauthorized web site issue, the MPAA on the DVD issue, and Hillary Rosen ... just because she gets off on stuff like this. Don't worry, your brother will be some cigarette-rich man's prison bitch come next week. Are there any other friends or acquaintances I can help you shank in the back at this time?"
    Me:"No, not at this time. So listen, do you do direct deposit or should I just look for a check in the mail?"

    Those damned Eurasians and/or Eastasians are at it again!

    - nocturne
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The ability to lend is a VERY important thing. It's an altruistic gesture. It's precisely this, just in case you didn't know, that led to the beginning of the Free Software movement in the first place. People like to help their friends out; personally, I support this wholeheartedly. And look at the response of the providers - "No, giving stuff away is wrong. Selling it is wrong. All these things are wrong, by contract".

    To us, to anybody who really worries about ethics, the content providers' reaction is severely limiting. Sure, we want to pay the providers, the people who wrote the stuff in the first place. But we also want to feel free to help each other (and probably ourselves, too, yeah...)

    In fact, the situation you suggest is NOT ON, because it leads directly to the sort of situation in which, let's say, lending books is illegal - but not everybody can afford them.

    Now, say you need to use the government sanctioned books to learn the highway code - you can't use your dad's copy, cos he's not allowed to lend it out. Or you need to look something up in a text book at university, but your friend isn't allowed to lend you his copy and (whoops) you have no money. Put yourself in this situation. You know it's illegal to read your friend's copy... but you need to, to pass your course. Most people would do the better thing, ie. let their friend read that book... but not you, THB, writer of this comment, maker of compromises and short of sight. Congratulations.

  • Time travel might be possible, but if that is the case why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?
    Because said tourists are obeying the Temporal Prime Directive and not allowing themselves to be detected.

    ::music sting from band::

    ::laugh track::

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @01:32PM (#86389)

    Strange. I usually get at least a form letter back. Although it usually takes several months to even get that. What's worse is when the return letter shows a complete lack of comprehension of what I was saying, or, more likely, they didn't even bother to read it.

    I sent a letter to my rep regarding Napster. Now, in that letter, I didn't say I supported Napster. In fact, I specifically stated that I didn't support what they were doing, but that I had other issues that I felt needed to be addressed. I got a return letter saying something to the effect of, "Thank you for your opinion. Your support for Napster has been taken in to account, yadda yadda..." THAT WAS INFURIATING!

  • The way I read the article, if book publishers had their way, they would strictly want to go to a e-format, completely dropping dead tree publishing, such that they can fully go pay-per-view. The only reasons they haven't done it yet is the lack of securing pay-per-view methods, and the lack of e-book support in all aspects of society.

    Ten years down the road, when print and real-world formats will (might) go by the wayside, the concerns by the librarians today will be vital, and unless we heed them today, libraries may not legally exist in 10 years.

  • by root ( 1428 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:27AM (#86392) Homepage
    #include <SARCASM.H>

    What's with this ability for a GROUP of people to all gather around a TV or stereo and all watch movie or listen to a CD without the IP holder receiving additional per seat revenue?

    More than one person using an IP playback device of any kind == theft.

    We need a law to force manufacturers to make it so their devices can be used by ONLY ONE PERSON AT A TIME. That way, access and our IP can be protected.

  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:22AM (#86393)
    It might be funny if it weren't happening today. Various municipalies in Texas have outsourced the drafting to technical laws (e.g. building codes) the 3rd parties, typically contractor's associations. These third parties have copyrighted their work, and claim that citizens must pay to make copies of the law. Although a copy is on file at City Hall, citizens are not allowed to make copies of the master document. Citizens of course _can_ be put in jail for violating that law.

    Peter Veeck (son of the late baseball maverick Bill Veeck) is fighting this through the courts at the moment.

    sPh
  • "
    What's more, as a rising number of copyright owners and software developers turn to licensing models, librarians worry that they'll be forced to pay perpetual rent on a product or lose the work--a possibility that could endanger the important archival role of their institutions."
    I can't imagine a better quote which describes how the very foundations of our civil society are under threat by huge media corporations in collusion with government (all three branches, both political parties) to undermine the factual basis of archival history. Of course, that's the eventual outcome -- not the presumed intent. So, from their perspective they can present a "rational" business and economic ethic showing short term gain, and "potential" long term loss if we don't "protect" their intellectual property from these library "thieves." What was Winston Smith's [amazon.com] job again?

    In the process, the scientific and academic communities (along with the poor) lose access to source materials, lose basic free speech "fair use" rights, and we all wind up forced to pay again and again for the most basic information one needs to be an informed citizen; in perpetuity. I can't imagine anything more destructive to the fundamentals of democracy than destroying libraries for the sake of publishers profits. A great deal for the plutocracy, a rotten deal for us rabble citizens.

    Write your congressman, write the President, MAKE A STINK!

    --Maynard

  • by laertes ( 4218 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:06AM (#86397) Homepage
    First, slashdot is being misleading. They're talking only about electronic forms of media. The slashdot article doesn't mention that this doesn't apply to paper books. Nor does it mention that some publishers want to move to all digital forms for libraries.

    Anyway, on another note, this marks the further progress of a disturbing trend. Some time ago, like, say 1997, copyright holders were reactive. That is to say, they waited until Napster was in use, and was allowing people to trade songs. Now, they seem to be going after parties that they suspect may one day plan to engage in something less than total protection of their copyrighted material. In other words, they're on the offensive.

    However, the more aggresive they become, the more reviled they'll be. I expect that if anybody engages in a large scale legal assault on libraries, they'll have the public up in ferocious arms. After all, libraries are one of the few things that people (without a finiancial or religous interest at odds with their purpose) almost universally support.

    Inaction is tantamount to assistance. If our government lets private consortiums lay our libraries bare, they'll be no better (and arguably a good deal worse) that governments like China. At least they don't pretend to be fair.

  • by jimdesu ( 4951 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:10AM (#86398) Homepage
    There's still defensibility in the "one copy in use" idea; why not make this on the web? Make a server that will display a work to one user at a time, per the number of that work that the library posesses/licensed. You'd get the fast turn-around of not having to wait for someone to physically return the book while still protecting the publisher. (Maybe this's the way to do music sharing too?)
  • The limited edition Bowie book aside, book prices are getting ridiculous. 30 years ago an hour's worth of minimum wage would pay for 2 or 3 paperbacks, now it won't pay for one. Are they paying the writers considerably better percentage wise than before? I know the price of paper to print on has been rising steadily for a few decades now, but is it the raw materials cost that accounts for the price increase? Aren't typesetting and printing presses considerably more automated, efficient, less labor intensive, and therefore less costly than before?

    When was the last time you could buy a book, read it, and then return it for a full refund because you thought it wasn't worth the cost of printing it in the first place, much less what you paid for it?

  • Actually it's more like various bodies write building codes (one excellent example being the National Electrical Code written by the National Fire Protection Association) and then governments sort of cut and paste them into the local ordinances instead of re-inventing the wheel. The bodies which write these codes go to condsiderable expense to create these codes and have every right to copyright their work and expect you to pay for your copy. If you don't like it tell your local government that you want them to develop their own and make it available for free. Don't expect a positive response. Very few communities have the size and money to duplicate the level of expertise of the NFPA for example, and all the manufacturers of electrical supplies (wire, conduit, sockets, switches, etc) adhere to the NEC anyway, so it's easier to agree with the code that 15 amp receptacles should be wired with commonly available 14 gauge or larger copper wire instead of making a law calling for 17 amp circuits and 13 gauge wire, which would have to be custom made at a horrible price premium.
  • They aren't claiming that they own the law! They create a copyrighted work, and then a government or governments adopt that work as law. So your problem isn't with the various code writing bodies, it's with the governments adopting those codes as law.

    Even if those codes weren't enshrined into law, they would still be useful and widely used. Insurance companies would demand them. Or structure their rate schedule so as to accomplish the same effect.

    These things have to be created and kept current and the cost of doing so has to come from somewhere. The only choice is how directly or indirectly the end consumer pays. You can pay the electrician who buys a copy of the NEC a little more, or you can pay the insurance company a little more, or you can pay a little more for electrical supplies, or you can pay higher taxes so that government can cover the cost, or maybe you can think of some other scheme to hide from the consumer the fact that they are paying for this, but one way or the other, they will be the ones to pay for it, the money will not materialize out of thin air. Ain't no free lunch on this one.

  • The phrase is "preaching to the choir", meaning saying stuff to people who are already convinced of what you're saying (although in real life a person's presence in a church choir, even when not a paid performer, isn't an absolute guarantee of the agreement of their religious views with those of the preacher, but I digress and weaken the analogy).

    see also: "preaching to the converted"

  • If libraries can no longer offer information for free, we've created a social divide, those that have money to get the information, and those that don't.
    One of the major points of the Telecom Act of 1996 was to provide reduced/free internet access to libraries and public schools (E-rate and universal service), trying to provide lower income individuals access to the information on the internet. Why would the US government allow publishers to charge for books which are currently free, creating an even bigger information divide?
  • I know people with HUGE media collections. They collect their media of choice either to support the artists, or because they simply can't stand to be without these 160 albums or these 233 books or whatever.

    Since when do 160 albums or 233 books constitute a "huge" collection? My father-in-law has about that many books, and I've always thought of him as an illiterate slob.

    Rule of thumb: it's not huge until it starts affecting the placement of furniture in three or more rooms. And paperbacks don't count.

    Damn it, what ever happened to pleasing the customer?

    It's never been an issue in those cases where the customer is willing to take the abuse. If you keep buying abuse, they'll keep selling it. The same thing happens with women's clothing.

    --

  • The limited edition Bowie book aside, book prices are getting ridiculous. 30 years ago an hour's worth of minimum wage would pay for 2 or 3 paperbacks, now it won't pay for one. Are they paying the writers considerably better percentage wise than before? I know the price of paper to print on has been rising steadily for a few decades now, but is it the raw materials cost that accounts for the price increase? Aren't typesetting and printing presses considerably more automated, efficient, less labor intensive, and therefore less costly than before?
    I've worked several years in the book publishing industry (in the production side), and with the pay I was taking home, I was not able to afford to buy the (specialized) books that interested me.

    The most disgusting part of that industry is that the one who gets the bigger profit (50% of the final retail sale price) is (of course) the one who does the least work: the bookseller.

    --
    Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness.

  • Could be that "Waco types" refers to Tim McVeigh, and I think he could be labeled a terrorist. OTOH, I never knew that McVeigh had been one of the leaders of the Radical Librarian movement, either...

    I guess that must be the *real* reason he was put to death.
  • Have a look at the Baen Books Free Library [baen.com]. They explain their thinking and I agree with them. I own a lot of their books, purely because of their free library.

    I wish more people did this. Then again, looking at my wallet, perhaps it's good that they don't! :-)
  • Come live in my lil village. Artists and geeks are welcome to free housing and food as long as all their works are released open to the public. You won't live in a mansion but I'd make sure you had a better life than most people in this world. :)
  • reimero typed: Under Title 17 of the U.S. Code, libraries are permitted to lend materials - books, magazines, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, cassettes, CD-ROMs, etc, with certain restrictions. IANAL, but from everything I've seen and everything my local public library's lawyer has said (I'm an employee), the publishers don't really have much of a leg to stand on shy of changing U.S. Copyright law outright.

    Book publishers can simply learn from the software industry and seal all books in a plastic bag, then stick a EULA inside the bag making anyone who opens the bag and/or reads the book bound by a license. Then the publishers can limit how the book is used (cannot use it as a coaster or prop up a couch with it), charge libraries extra money for a "multiple user" license, charge an annual fee for the right to continue using the book (Book.NET and Book XP), and then make the library or consumer purchase a new book every time they print a new edition. It's easy to see how silly the software industry is if you replace the word "software" with "book" every time you talk about licensing.



  • I say we ban Xerox copiers. After all, by the same logic, theyre used to commit the same sort of crimes. Then we can get around to banning cars because they can be used to transport stolen property.

    Or, we could just all collectively admit as a group that the 90's are over, and it's ok to tell stupid people to shut the hell up again.

  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:58AM (#86419) Homepage Journal
    I started an interesting discussion [greenspun.com] on this over at Joel on Software [editthispage.com]. Go through the thread, there are some really good insights there. I'd like to hear what the /. crowd thinks about it.

    --

  • A totally free information infrastructure is unlikely to spell doom for content. I would more likely predict NOT a dearth of content, but rather a dearth of attention.. there would be SO much content flowing around that people will be competing for eyes and ears.

    I've seen this meme over and over again, and I simply don't buy it. What is your honest opinion of 99% the drivel created for profit, tailored for the masses, produced by a committee of ad execs, and endlessly tweaked by marketriods with focus groups in hand?

    Titanic? Back Street Boys? Britteny Spears? The Home Shopping Network?

    Thanks but no thanks.

    The entire ancient, dinosaur-like industry is on the verge of collapse, but honestly, I no longer care... Soon they will be complaining that libraries are equivalent to 'THEFT' and 'PIRACY' because they deprive them of "potential" profit. Cry me a river.
  • The point, is everything will be available in digital for eventually. When that happens, the mountains of garbage legislation the RIAA, MPAA and book publishers have rammed down your throat will have basically made all libraries illegal..

    Face it, after reading the crap the RIAA spews about napster, you might be led to think that LIBRARIES are stealing by lending ANY content.

    I mean, look at all the money the publishers are losing everytime somebody reads a library book and doesn't buy one at the bookstore.

    "ITS ILLEGAL! ITS IMMORAL! ITS PIRACY!"

    I am TIRED of their complaints, and I am tired of copyright law.
  • If we were going to have a modern-day Boston Tea Party, the place to do it would be at book publishers' warehouses or printing facilities. I'd just bring in a firehose or six and wet down the boxes of books thoroughly - no casualties or risk of human life, but it makes all their brand new books completely unsellable.

  • Someone here on Slashdot had a rather eloquent quote. I'm sorry, but I don't remember the name. Anyways...

    As an aside (not related to your post, but to others I have read here), the arguments that the poster should shut up and stop bitching because he has no constitutional rights on private property are particularly disturbing, and the main reason I ultimately rejected the Libertarian stance on social issues. A nation in which one's rights end at the edge of the public sidewalk, in a country as privatized is this, is not a very free nation at all. How much of your life do you spend on private property vs. public property, and how many rights do you assume you have that, according to such an argument, you in fact do not? I type this message right now, sitting on private property. I exersize my freedom of speech on my lunch hour, yet these people would argue that firing my sorry ass would be just fine (if I were to offend my employer), simply because although it is my time, it is my employer's network to which my laptop is connected and across which the bytestream passes.

    If this is the kind of world they wish to advocate, then I want nothing of it. And, I suspect, our founding fathers would feel similarly.


  • by Squirrel Killer ( 23450 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @12:41PM (#86428)
    Ten years down the road, when print and real-world formats will (might) go by the wayside...

    I have no doubt that in 10 years time, we'll still have all of the real world formats that you say will have gone by the way side.

    I don't know what they said when Gutenberg invented his press, but when the radio was introduced, they said newspapers would die. When TV was introduced, they said that newspapers and radio would die. When cable was introduced, they said that newspapers, radio, and broadcast TV would die. When the Internet was introduced, they said that newspapers, radio, broadcast TV, cable TV, home stereos, bookstores, and malls would die. They haven't.

    The utopian idea of a paperless society is still far off. As long as people still like and demand their morning paper, their drive-time morning radio, their mid-morning /. news fix, their evening news, their "get-in-the-mood" jazz CD, and the shopping "experience" content publishers won't be able to force consumers into one all-encompassing format.

    Not that we won't move to such a format in the future, but it's still a ways off. Personally, I like the rich diversity of the media experiences that all of these formats provide. I like the sense of completion when I'm done with a newspaper, I feel like I know all of the important news. On the internet, however, I feel a need to check out just one more news site. I like sitting down with a good book and turning the pages as my imagination runs wild. Other times, I like zoning to a movie based on the same book. As long as consumers demand it, there will be someone to offer it.

    -sk

  • by evilquaker ( 35963 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @05:29PM (#86432)
    I also remark that if these content-based industries failed to defend themselves, and collapsed, the content they provide would likely dry up as well - because there wouldn't be any money in providing it.

    You're absolutely right... the content they provide (a.k.a. product packaged as art) would dry up, leaving only real art, unsoiled by the need to be packaged for mass-marketing. You think this is a bad thing?

  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @01:00PM (#86433)
    We need to show the publishers that we won't tolerate them trying to roll back the clock 200 years!

    Let's burn their product! Yeah, that's always a good way to draw attention the cause!

    It worked with bra-burning in the 60's.

    It worked with draft card burning during the Vietnam War!

    Let's all assemble in front of the library and burn a big pile of the publishers' books! They'll get the message!

    ...no wait, something seems off with this analogy...
  • Or, strongly recommend that they come up with a number instead of the open-ended "limited term" language. Judging from the copyright laws as they existed in the early days of the Republic, they'd have probably come up with a 20-30 year maximum.
    /.
  • Free Market Capitalism cannot co-exist with Democratic and Free people

    Freedom can only exist with capitalism. Capitalism is simply free people voluntarily exchanging goods and services. If you forbid such transactions, you have substantially reduced freedom. Abuses such as the DMCA are not failures of capitalism, they are failures of government. Corporations can whine all they want about hackers or libraries daring to exercise their fair use rights, but it takes Congress and the President to enforce their will.

    As usual, the Street Performer Protocol [firstmonday.dk] would solve this problem without oppressive copyright laws.

  • The major problem here is the exact same as as for every other digital version of a phyical product, and that is that once you have your product you can retain a copy and give it to twenty friends, where as with a physical copy only one friend can have it at a time, and you cannot, at least not for free.

    A system to sell content online, while letting both the publisher and the consumer have to same rights they do with pysical media is very difficult to find. A completely new model will have to be created, and supported by law. It will require both parties to give up some rights.

    Many people believe that they should have all the rights that they currently have under copyright law, plus the publisher should give up more of theirs, but the only way that online content will ever work is if both sides give up something.

    Giving up the ability to lend is not that bad if the cost is far less, as it should be without the physical cost. At the same time the publisher must not raise the cost of the content.
  • > Wouldn't it be funny if the government decided to copyright every law it passed, and then didn't allow anyone to publish them?

    Canada already partially does this with their tax law! The government (Revenue Canada) *REFUSES* to officially publish the Tax Act (their excuse is that it is constantly changing and would be out of date)

    &lt rant on stupid government laws &gt
    Hello McFly, how about ONE RULE: a FLAT 5% tax ON EVERY Goods and Service. Nah, that would be EASY to follow now!
    &lt /rant &gt

    i.e.
    http://www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/about/faq-e.html#taxa ct

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/note.html

    Fortunately there is no law that requires a person to have a SIN (Social Insecurity Number)

    ~~

    A government is as corrupt as the number of laws it has.
  • > but it *is* on the Dept. of Justice Canada's web site

    They don't *make* the laws, they just enforce them.

    Sorry, but not good enough.
  • by ravrazor ( 69324 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:00AM (#86444)
    This is becoming more and more obvious everyday: If something is technically possible and profitable, someone is going to want to do it. It is profitable to use the legislation to restrict other people's freedom in ways that allow you to sell more.

    I don't begrudge authors and publishers a living. I actively support it by buying an enormous number of books, including printed books of material that I can get online.

    The publishers are feeling threatened by technology. Sharing of books online is easy and cheap. It takes less time than buying a physical copy and costs less. Electronic copies of texts allow you to cut and paste what you want to quote with ease. If they are on the Web, they permit hyperlinking to the full version.

    The problem here is that we don't have an acceptable model for how content is to be sold online. Subscriptions and broadcasting offer excellent models for information that is time-critical such as news,weather, stock quotes, even video feeds of live sports. Neither model is good for books.

    We have grown used to buying a copy. When I purchase a book, I don't own the rights to the words, but that single physical copy is mine. I can read it, sell it, give it away, loan it to a friend, mark up the pages with notes, or destroy it. I have the right to read it today, next week, next year, or on my death bed 500 years from now when nanotechnology can no longer rebuild my failing body. My right to read it does not require paying an ongoing license fee, and is not subject to the continued availability of special hardware or software to make the pages readable.

    Who would want to give up that flexibility and receive nothing in return?
  • Here is an email address of the AAP (Association of American Publishers):

    amyg@publishers.org

    Send them a note to leave librarians alone. They are also offering rewards for turning people in (must lead to an arrest).
  • by rkent ( 73434 ) <rkent.post@harvard@edu> on Friday July 13, 2001 @12:31PM (#86448)
    I don't begrudge authors and publishers a living. I actively support it by buying an enormous number of books, including printed books of material that I can get online.

    You know, it's funny -- you are, and I am, and so are a lot of other people I know. Whether it's books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, or whatever, I know people with HUGE media collections. They collect their media of choice either to support the artists, or because they simply can't stand to be without these 160 albums or these 233 books or whatever. These are people who realize the importance of their actions, and voluntarily participate in the system to make it keep going.

    This seems less and less satisfactory to the media companies each day. They don't seem to even recognize the voluntary choice of people to help out in this way; it's all about enforcing "THE LAW" against those deviants who don't participate. The problem with this is, it devalues the choices of people who are good participants. If I buy 2 cds every week, how am I supposed to feel when the RIAA tells me I'm not allowed to space shift it, by suing the pants off MP3.com? I'm sickened by their action to reduce my rights to access music I paid for. Legitimately, volutarily.

    Actions like this, whether by the RIAA or the American Association of Publishers, insult their valid media buyers. What they really need is an era of "benefit of the doubt" given to the people who pay their bills. Damn it, what ever happened to pleasing the customer? If, instead of extending your hand to your friends, you hold a gun to your enemies, then soon all you'll have is enemies. Extreme excersize of control against any form of rebellion practically insists that the rebellion take place.

    ---

  • by Kefaa ( 76147 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:04AM (#86449)
    Instead of writing a reply here, write one (on paper) here:
    Senate Address Lookup [senate.gov] and House of Representative Address Lookup [house.gov]
    We heard about it, read about, whined and cried about it. What about doing something about it? Like singing to the choir we complain about how the government is letting big business get away with.... Everyone is taking our rights....yada yada yada... If we do not care enough to actually put pen to paper, we are not really serious. If we are not serious why should we be taken seriously?

    Wake up, smell the JAVA and act!
  • I invented a time machine then went to get a patent on it and found out that someone had patented it 10 minutes before I got there. Damn the bad luck!
  • Step 1, invent time machine.

    Step 2, bring a copy of Slashdot articles like this one back to 1780.

    Step 3, find Thomas Jefferson and get an amendment made that allows unrestricted access, irrevocably and permanently, for all non-commercial private usage.

    Step 4, know that I won't have to entrust my content to companies who lock my content then go out of business and take the keys with them.

    Screw the temporal prime directive...

    - JoeShmoe
  • by Darth Yoshi ( 91228 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:50AM (#86454)
    In the prologue to the Baen Free Library [baen.com], to summerize Eric Flint:
    1. Online piracy -- while it is definitely illegal and immoral -- is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance.
    2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender.
    3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market is far worse than the disease.
    And he puts his money where his mouth is. He has 3 complete novels online, along with 15 other authors.
  • The publishers have already changed copyright law. It's called the DMCA. What happens when libraries can only loan out encrypted copies, and people have to visit a publishers web site and buy a decryption key tied to their physical hardware and time-stamped to only allow access for a certain time period in order to read the material? And if libraries did anything to bypass the encryption, they'd be breaking the DMCA. It's totally filthy.
  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:58AM (#86457) Homepage
    Ben Franklin, I believe, was the first one to institute libraries in which patrons could actually remove books, take them home, read them at their leisure, and then return them.

    This was at a time when the United States was in a struggle for its own survival as a colony in the harsh American wilderness. Freedom of information, Franklin understood, was the only way that people would quickly learn the things they needed to know.

    The same principles apply today, though with some modification. Now there is so much free information that the embarassing pay-for-knowledge era of our history is nearly finished. The internet brought back what Ben Franklin started.

    What does this have to do with libraries?

    Well, as the vast number of books published each year eventually forces libraries to go all- or mostly-digital, some of that content is going to find its way online in one form or another. It will leak out, or users will leak in.

    It's coming. Publishers will try to fight it, of course, but they have no chance. They're just trying to keep their jobs for as long as they can.

  • This really isn't all that bad by itself, the real problem is that copyright terms are far too long. So perhaps this is the compromise, fee per use, but for a limited time like the constitution promises. I'm sorry, but 90 some odd years is not limited -- if a book released now will not become public domain in my life time (or possibly even my children's life time) then it is not limited. Heck, books that were written when my grandparents (who are all dead now) were children are not even in the public domain due to the Sonny Bono Act!
  • We are slowly but surely descending back to the dark ages. Instead of a tyrannous monarchy, we are allowing corporate despotism to limit the free flow of ideas for the sake of a piddly profit.

    It's a sad time to be human.

    dd
  • Can you blame them? Let's abstract the situation somewhat: a multi-billion-dollar industry has operated in a particular way for decades. Law

    Hell yeah I can blame them. You act as if these publishers are not going to take advantage of the new technology too. They would love to go complety digital. You'd still get charged the same price, or higher for a book, but it would cost an infitesimel amount to produce. You eliminate the manufacture, materials, and distribution costs. And once they get their way, it's only a matter of time before certain publishers try new tricks like licensing the material, and building in expiration dates... Remember that e-book you paid 5 bucks to download and never got around to reading, too bad it's gone, the expiration date already passed.

    I didn't take much of a stance in the Napster/mp3 debate. I don't mind buying cd's, I also don't mind downloading mp3's (even if I have to pay for them), but when the producers start doing things that restrict my right to fair use (i.e. non rippable cd's) I hit the roof.

    Music isn't nearly as important to me as books. If the publishing industry were to take this step I would dedicate my free time to cracking any scheme that came down the pipes.

    I know it's kind of an alarmist view, but books are sacred. Although I would never trade my paper copy of GEB for a digital version.

  • You're thinking too small. And only with today's technology in mind. Read The Diamond Age [jademountain.com]?

    We've already seen articles (on /. even) [slashdot.org] on digital paper. Onve this technology is created and marketed how long until you can buy a "book" that you can plug a chip, disc, or other media in and the text appears? Personally I'd love a device like this, as much as I love normal books, I'd love to carry fifteen of them in my pocket and be able to pop one of them in my "paper book" at any time to read them. The look and feel of a normal book would be there with the convenience of a digital format.

  • Correct, Franklin was a publisher. But it's safe to say it never occurred to him to try to usurp the kind of power that laws like the DMCA give publishers today.
  • by Satai ( 111172 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:00AM (#86464)
    Who can blame them? Clearly libraries will be the only place to go now that book prices are skyrocketing [sonicnet.com].
  • this isn't a warning knell, this is stupidity. Libraries are a basic functioning piece of our country (U.S.), in what few pristine areas of 'original implementation' that exist. Blocking books from library usage is digging into the depths of corporate clout that until recently was only the domain of Coca-Cola schemes [guerrillanews.com]


    -shpoffo
  • by KahunaBurger ( 123991 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @03:10AM (#86468)
    One person at a time license agreement? Do you know how annoying it is to go to a library (or video rental store even) and find the book you have been waiting for months to read is still on loan to somebody else?

    And what do the video rental places or libraries do in this case? Do they photocopy or dub the whole thing cause they bought it once and they can? Well, no, they don't. They get another copy to keep up with demand. And if the demand radically drops after the initial popularity has passed, they sell an excess copy or two. Or they institute a reserve system or a speed read/new release standard for new popular titles. They certainly don't just give it away to whoever wants it to keep forever.

    /. lied in their description of the situation, just like they did on the first "publisher's vs libraries" thread. Rule of thumb if you want to be informed about these issues - /. will tell you that there is something going on. Then they will exagrerate, spin or straight out lie about what the real details are. Always follow the links and read carefully before trusting a word written here.

    Thank you, btw for your excellent demonstration of the Slashdot Entitlement Attitude. I may keep this post on file to demonstrate it to others.

    Kahuna Burger

  • Of Thomas Jefferson: So, it's OK to buy and sell people, but not ideas. Just so we're clear on all that.

    OK, repeat after me class:
    People: OK to own them if they are Negroes.
    Ideas: Not OK to own them.

    You know, it's funny how wealthy men who profit from the entrenched system of power get all "idealistic" when it comes to the business of buying and selling ideas. It's easy when you've got another source of income.

    To such men, the patent office is a hinderence. On the other hand, to a man who has no personal wealth, and only an idea to his name, the patent office shines like a beacon.

    Ideas are a gift from God, a birthright. A man who would take your ideas against your will would just as soon take your birthright and make you a slave. This whole "IP is not a natural right" thing is part of a fiction that has been created by the ruling class to help them maintain power.

  • Don't they realize that by switching from free to paid library scheme, where a book still has to be purchased to loan it out, they will be causing people to copy it and transfer it to digital format?

    It might happen regardless, but by charging for access to it at a free library the chances are much higher.
  • They came for the Software pirates
    I said nothing
    I was not a software pirate

    They came for the music traders
    I said nothing
    I was not a music trader

    They came for those who registered domains
    I sad nothing
    I was not a registered no domains

    They came for the book barrows
    I was a reader
    There was no libraries left for people to find out.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:36AM (#86480)
    Ben Franklin WAS a publisher. In fact he was perhaps the most successful publisher in the colonies. He USED his power as a publisher to institute libraries. . .

    and overthrow the legitimate government of the time.

    KFG
  • A library does exactly what Napster\Gnutella etc do, or try to do...
    Nice thought, but not exactly correct.

    Napster/Gnutella allow people to pool their resources and all have the file at the same time.

    A library on the other hand allows one person at a time to have access to the material, and then they have to return it to allow other people to use it.

  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:12AM (#86484) Homepage

    If (very theoretically speaking) we had never had libraries until the current day, and someone tried to start them, I think that the newfound libraries would be sued into the ground.

    A library does exactly what Napster\Gnutella etc do, or try to do... allow people to pool their resources to have access to a large amount of copyrighted information.

    And much like P2P, libraries don't seem to cause a large dent in the sale of books. There are enough realtivly wealthy people around who enjoy owning books and would still rather pay 20-30 dollars a pop then take a trip to the library.

    I made this entire point a little bit more humorously at http://ursine.dyndns.org/~mnoelharris/warezportal. html [dyndns.org]

  • Jeebus cripes, did you even READ your first link? It says is that the Tax Act is not on the *CCRA's* web site, but it *is* on the Dept. of Justice Canada's web site, as well as from some commercial publishers.
  • Now, say you need to use the government sanctioned books to learn the highway code - you can't use your dad's copy, cos he's not allowed to lend it out. Or you need to look something up in a text book at university, but your friend isn't allowed to lend you his copy and (whoops) you have no money. Put yourself in this situation. You know it's illegal to read your friend's copy... but you need to, to pass your course.

    This has already happened [slashdot.org].

    --

  • It's not funny at all. There are already a lot of copyrighted laws that cannot be freely distributed. Check this link [uniontrib.com]. Highlights:

    * California and 47 other states have building laws that are copyrighted by one of three nonprofit organizations. [and they'll get nasty if you try to redistribute the text.]

    * The federal government requires U.S. physicians to use a medical billing code that's owned by the American Medical Association.

    This is one of the most insane things I have ever heard of. For some reason it is a little-known fact... probably because it's things like building codes, and not the traffic codes that everyone needs to know about. It's still unforgiveable.
  • Libraries are how napster got the idea in the first place! Sharing music is like sharing literature. If its illegal for music, it *must* be illegal for books! Watch out, everyone, the internet is next.... then your phone.... then talking to people....

    Moderators, please note the extreme sarcasm in the way I'm typing ;-)

    --
    "That's one small step for man..." "STOP POKING ME!!!!"
  • Here [theassayer.org] is a list of 198 free books. These are all books whose authors have intentionally made them free as in beer or as in speech.
    The Assayer [theassayer.org] - free-information book reviews
  • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @12:24PM (#86496)
    Printed books have been around for thousands of years. They aren't going anywhere.

    How many ebooks have you read???
  • The article this is in reply to needs to be modded up for one simple reason: the link about Coca-Cola.

    It takes a while to read but is extremely well written and more than a little interesting. Anyway, to save your mouse a little, you can read it here. [guerrillanews.com]

    Has this story been summited to /. yet and if so was it approved?

  • smell the JAVA and act

    Yes, support your local Anti-Capitalist Demonstrators, because after all people, this is all that is about (once again...).

    Free Market Capitalism cannot co-exist with Democratic and Free people.

    Protest.net [protest.net] && IndyMedia.org [indymedia.org]

  • Freedom can only exist with capitalism. Capitalism is simply free people voluntarily exchanging goods and services

    Capitalism hinges on the control of capital, which we all use & need to work, in the control of a few. Capitalism, allows those few to weild that capital without any social responsibility. Without any conscience.

    . Abuses such as the DMCA are not failures of capitalism, they are failures of government

    The DMCA is what happens when your government is subverted by Free-Market Capitalists. In a sense, it is a failure of government, but it is an inevitable one when Capitalists are permitted to corrupt and direct your government (See: Plutocracy) - the DMCA is a what happens when your Capitalists (Burgoise) codify their desired legislation in order to extract more profit from people. Americans are just starting to see what it means to be oppressed (the last 50 years) - instead of being suppressed by Kings and Courts in a Feudal state, or Dictators and Generals in a Fascist State, America is being oppressed by Presidents and CEOs in a Plutocratic state.

  • by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @12:05PM (#86501) Journal
    Well grab your seat!!!! They already have single person TV's [comtrad.com] and I really really really want one :P


    --
    When I'm good I'm very good, when I'm bad I'm better, But when I'm evil you better run :P
  • Under Title 17 of the U.S. Code [loc.gov], libraries are permitted to lend materials - books, magazines, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, cassettes, CD-ROMs, etc, with certain restrictions. IANAL, but from everything I've seen and everything my local public library's lawyer has said (I'm an employee), the publishers don't really have much of a leg to stand on shy of changing U.S. Copyright law outright.
  • Actually, I don't think they can, at least not with bound materials. The law is clear on this. And while the government has been "pro-business" lately, especially with the DMCA, they're beginning to realize it may have been a mistake and are starting to soften their stance. The laws regarding printed matter are very clear, and there is no compelling reason to change the basics of the law (except possibly the duration of the copyright.) The question that needs to be answered is whether books in electronic format constitute software or printed matter in another medium. Don't forget, as popular as big business is, libraries do have a reputation as wholesome, family-friendly places, and in spite of PAC donations etc, I think most congressmen would be reluctant to limit libraries in that fashion, especially ones who campaign on "family values." This is different from CIPA and COPA because it's about the libraries' core business. Libraries have existing law and tradition on their side. Regardless what happens in Congress, it will end up in the courts, and I don't see the publishers winning there. There's simply too much legal precedent.
  • Or, why books and music aren't the same.

    Here is the fundamental reason books won't be pirated like music is the difference in HOW we enjoy them.

    Music is a fundamentally passive experience for the listener. A person doesn't care how the sound is generated(gramaphone, MP3, CD, etc) as long as it hits the airwaves and they can hear it. Pleasant background noise is the primary reason for most music that get's pirated. In the car, in the office, wherever.

    Reading is a fundamentally active experience for the reader. I read in bed at night and I kick back on my sofa to read too. I can listen to music without being active with the media, but with a book, I have to interact witht ehmedia to get the message.

    Until tiny little e-books become mainstream, I don't see the pirating of books becoming a problem. Sure I could download the latest novels to read, but no one wants to sit at the computer and read for recreation. It will just be a non-issue until that point and by then either the content industry will have won or we'll have reclaimed our freedom to the point where these kind of draconian restrictions are not tolerated.

    Steven
  • It's kind of a fluff piece.

    All the article actually says is that content providers (publishers) don't want libraries to give away the perfect copies of their work, that they would normally charge for, for free. I know, try and keep the shocked gasps down in the back there.

    As already pointed out, this doesn't say anything whatsoever about traditional books.

    The concept is that if publishers offer digital media and that media is freely duplicatable, then potentially libraries could become a means for people to avoid paying for the service. They just don't want libraries to become the book equivalent of Napster.

    If everyone'd stop getting in to a flap, it's actually not that serious... If a digital book is distributed as a CD, disc, memory card, secure file, whatever, with adequate copy protection, this isn't even an issue - it still goes out to one user at a time and then the user hands it back.

    Yes, potentially publishers may be stupid enough to distribute via a totally unsecure medium (as happened with CDs) but realistically, they're watching the music industry and holding back until they have secure systems themselves.

    So, the whole flap is that libraries might become digital book Napsters if publishers start publishing without security. As libraries already tend to carry music and haven't turned in to Napster clones, and as digital publishing is some way behind digital music, it's unlikely to become an issue anyway.

    And it still doesn't effect the traditional model of libraries anyway - just in case anyone's still missed that point.

  • I just dropped another 97$US during lunch, on books. A month ago I dropped about 160$ on books. Publishers can be such turds, you'd think they did three martini lunches with MPAA and RIAA.

    Only the paranoid may survive, but what do their offspring look like? Weasels, I betcha.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by MWoody ( 222806 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:12AM (#86516)
    "They've got their radical factions, like the Ruby Ridge or Waco types," who want to share all content for free, said Judith Platt, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Publishers.
    Comparing librarians to terrorists? Lemme guess - Mrs. Platt missed a few lectures in Public Relations school.
    ---
  • Those people are idiots. There is nothing like getting a honest to goodness hard copy of a great story, sitting down next to a fire and reading it to my children. The warm glow of my CRT nor the soft glow of a flat panel will never replicate that experience. Anything that promotes the idea of reading is good for the publishing industry, even distrubting there books in PDF.
  • "My local library lends books, audio CDs..."

    I live in a college town were we get a LOT of bands coming though via the University. For every band that comes into town, the Student Government donates their most recent CD/LP (they keep both) to the public library. As we have one of the largest and most complete compilations of Punk/Pop/whatever that exists...

  • We don't need any record of what mankind has done freely available to anyone, nope...

    We need what the big publishers say is what we should see and do, and forget about the past. It's unimportant anyway. In fact, just give your money to the publisher now, so they'll send you more of what they just published because it's popular.

    We're at war with EastAsia, We've always been at war with EastAsia...


    IBM had PL/1, with syntax worse than JOSS,
  • At least it would be expired by now... maybe not a bad thing at all.
  • publishers don't really have much of a leg to stand on shy of changing U.S. Copyright law outright.

    In other words, NO PROBLEM BABY! Where's my checkbook? Helloooo Mr. Congresspersons! Your check is in the mail, wink wink, nudge nudge! That's right, we wrote up a little bill for you, all you have to do is sign it. Anybody doesn't like it, send them to us, we'll throw as little party, dancing girls, all kinds of shit, no problem, they'll vote for it in no time!

  • by MarkLR ( 236125 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:05AM (#86526)
    The article header states Publishers want a pay-for-use library system so that you won't go there to escape high prices elsewhere.

    This is nowhere in the article. If a library has an e-book, what do the publishers think is okay for the library to do with it? I think a one person at a time per license agreement seems reasonable, provided the license is a one time cost, good forever, and transferable to another body.

  • Biting the governmental hand that feeds them copyright enforcement in the first place, yeah that's real darn wise.
  • The same principles apply today, though with some modification. Now there is so much free information that the embarassing pay-for-knowledge era of our history is nearly finished. The internet brought back what Ben Franklin started.

    It's coming. Publishers will try to fight it, of course, but they have no chance. They're just trying to keep their jobs for as long as they can.

    You're right of course. The great power and wealth of publishers and distributors come from the fact that they serve a real purpose. Specifically, it takes a lot of resources and infrastructure to make high-quality copies of "knowledge" (by which I would include the text of books, music, video, and other things).

    With the coming of the digital world, it becomes very easy and cheap to make copies of materials which are just as good as the original. Individuals can do it. A lot of the purpose of publishers and distributors goes away.

    In the long run, you are right: once they no longer serve any purpose, they will die. What really worries me is how long it will take them to die. They have so much money and power right now that they can legislate their continued existence for a long time. And, in the mean time, those of us living in this transitionary world will suffer.

    Eventually, the world will have found a way to celebrate and reap the benefits of how easy it is to copy digital content. Even if it takes another bloody revolution and the forming of a new country which recognizes much of intellectual property "protection" as oppression, one day it will happen. But when is this eventually? 10 years? 100 years? 1000 years when there is the ability to found new nations and colonies on other worlds? I don't know. But I do suspect that the time between now and then is going to be painful.

    (Note that publishers and distributors occasionally mention preserving their income source, but they must recognize that people will eventually ask why? So, more often they frame the issues in terms of being able to compensate the creative people, the authors and musicians who create the content in the first place. Well, the world will find a way to pay them. I have no idea what it will be, but we will find a way, because even though publishers and distributors will become largely unnecessary, it is obvious that the creative people will still have value.)

    -Rob

  • by Ambiguo ( 242913 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:59AM (#86529) Homepage
    Isn't it funny to think of them referring to library books as content? You know, "Hey mom, Billy and me are just headed over to the library to pick up some content for the trip this weekend." What an age we live in.
  • As long as computer displays are bulky, shiny, reflective and far inferior to paper in resolution, dead-tree publishing isn't going anywhere. Yes, currently thin LCD-based devices are possible that aren't bigger than a book and can thus be taken where one wants to read, but the display still sucks. I simply can not intently read anything from a shiny light-projecting device with visible pixels.
  • Err, while the people at Ruby Ridge and Waco were definately wierd and probably crazy, I'm not aware of any activities that would count as terroristic. While they had large weapon stashes, I don't remeber hearing them threaten anyone except those that threatened them (like FBI agents).
  • " I've worked several years in the book publishing industry (in the production side), and with the pay I was taking home, I was not able to afford to buy the (specialized) books that interested me.
    The most disgusting part of that industry is that the one who gets the bigger profit (50% of the final retail sale price) is (of course) the one who does the least work: the bookseller."

    In other words, the book publishers have imitated the recording industry (which earns in excess of $5 to every $1 an artist earns).
  • The day that public libraries are illegal is THE DAY that we've completely lost our freedom to the corporations.

    When information is THAT controlled by the IP cartels, it will be a world where only the very wealthy can afford to read (as per Richard Stallman's scary short story, the "Right To Read"), and only the wealthy elite are educated.

    In that world, the masses will only know what they are told, or what they can afford to buy. They will be trained to meekly work for the corporations and be "good" cowed consumers of what the corporations want them to buy.

    The scary thing is, our own GOVERNMENT is leading us to this bleak future, the post-Information Age Dark Age, out of their own ignorance and greed.

    The DMCA, evil as it is, is only the thin end of the wedge. It is what makes such absurdities as even ALLOWING the discussion of restricting public libraries to be discussed by anyone other than a raving, Oliver Stone believing consipracy theroy raver.

    Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. As our current rate of loss of civil rights to big corporation and big government continues to accelerate, the coming Dark Age becomes more real... I predict that unless things change NOW, the world of 50 years in the future will be a cross between the bleak future in Richard Stallman's "The Right to Read" (corporate control of all information) and "Demolition Man" (the ultimate "everything that is not good for you is bad, and therefore illegal" nanny state government).
  • "Until tiny little e-books become mainstream, I don't see the pirating of books becoming a problem. Sure I could download the latest novels to read, but no one wants to sit at the computer and read for recreation."

    This is likely far in the future. I've yet to see any new technology to make an "e-book" that is as comfortable to read and is as practical as a paper book. That's an invention that will be as Earth shattering as the microprocessor itself.
  • "Free Market Capitalism cannot co-exist with Democratic and Free people"

    This is a fallacy. What we have in the USA is NOT free market capitalism! It's more of a pseudo-socialist corporate/government Oligarchy.

    In a truly FREE MARKET, these things would be true that are NOT true in the United States of 2001 (though some of them used to be true):

    1. Anyone with an invention would be able to bring it to market. Not easily possible today by anyone not a Fortune 500 corporation, thanks to byzantine IP laws, and government-sanctioned monopolies (all corporations are government sanctioned entities, as a corporation is a government created legal fiction).
    2. Anyone would be permitted to improve any existing invention or product, both for their own financial gain and the general good. Not able to happen today for similar reasons to #1

    3. Copyrights and patents would be limited in scope and duration (as intended by the Constitution), with VERY leniant "fair use" exceptions. The 1990's basically put an end to any fiction that ANY limits on copyrights and patents still exist.

    4. The government's role in the economy would be restricted to:
    a. Maintaining a sound fiscal policy (ie, not spending more than they take in, so as not to take on debt and inflate interest rates)
    b. Busting monopolies whererever they exist.
    The US government abandoned these policies forever when FDR became the first US Tyrant.

    5. There would be no such thing as a government entity (be it legislative, or by judicial fiat) that has the power to protect "business models" from the advance of technology. Had we our current laws and politicians and courts in the time of Henry Ford, the automobile would have been outlawed as "stealing" from horse farms and coach and buggy makers. Had they presided over the time of Thomas Edison, electricity would have been outlawed as "stealing" from candle and oil lamp makers.

    I could go on indefinately, but you get the idea. The USA is rapidly becoming a Plutocracy, rule by merchants (large megacorps), which, while not socialist in the same FORM as communist countries, has the same exact effect on:

    1. civil rights
    2. freedom of speech, most particulary
    3. freedom to learn
    4. freedom to buy (or not to buy) products of your choice (try buying a computer at ANY retail store without paying the MS tax) 5. freedom to dissent. In communist countries they roll the tanks over you. In the American Imperial Corporate State, they just sue you into bankruptcy. Eventually it will become tanks.

    The American Plutocracy is a fusion of corporation into government, leading to corporate control of government. Communist countries are the same, except that it happened the opposite way, government took control of the corporations.
  • Just a quick reply to anyone thinking that books aren't going away.

    Sure, some TYPES of books aren't going away: novels, O'Reilly... But that's pretty much it.

    Don't forget the huge importance of technical edition. Anyone who worked in the electronic engineering during the last 20 years can tell horror stories about the amount of books they need to do their jobs.

    5 years ago, all theses books where replaced by cdroms.

    Today, everything is on the Internet.

    Obviously, technical books aren't everything. But think about all theses law books, catalogs, medecine books, textbooks, scientific journals...

    Traditionally it's been the libraries' mission to conserve this kind of books, so it is really important to deal with this problem now.
  • by Smegma4U ( 301112 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:03AM (#86543)
    Think about it. Isn't this really just the next step in the logical extension of copyright laws? Hopefully this kind of slap in the face will finally wake up the public at large into changing some of the ridiculous laws that are currently "on the books."

    Sorry for the rotten attempt at a pun. Except for that, the rest of my comment is quite serious.
  • by Smegma4U ( 301112 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:10AM (#86544)
    Wouldn't it be funny if the government decided to copyright every law it passed, and then didn't allow anyone to publish them? Then you would just have to take the word of the Police, FBI, NSA, etc. that you had broken the law.

    I can see it all now:
    "Officer, what did I do wrong?"
    "You turned left onto Jefferson St. on Friday the 13th. That'll be a $3000 fine, payable to me."
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:52AM (#86546) Journal

    I don't know what the average library is like in the US, but here in the UK, lending libraries are multimedia.

    My local library lends books, audio CDs, videos, DVDs and even some (mainly educational) CD-ROMs. Books rentals are free, video rentals cost £1/$1.50 per week (compared to £3/$4.50 per night from Blockbuster), and the cost of the others varies.

    But just because people are going to the library instead of the bookshop, authors don't loose out. Each time a book is lent, the author(s) receive royalties of around 5 pence/7.5 cents, capped (I think) at around £35,000/$52,500 per author per year.

    For many authors whose books are out of print and/or not readily stocked by bookshops, these payments make a big difference. Not every writer is as sucessful as Stephen King or Nick Hornby, and this pay-per-rental method promotes less popular authors (allowing them the chance to become more popular) and promotes literary diversity.

  • Personally, I think MTV fucked it up for all of us.

    MTV has a HUGE market of drooling drones, and as long as MTV portrays an "artist's" lifestyle as luxurious and glamorous and happy and shiny (whether it is true or not, witness the many bankrupt "artists" that once had a lot of playtime on MTV, and imagine the ones we do not hear about), there will be more among the masses that will STRIVE to BE the next artist, the next to be exploited.

    If there are fewer sales, you can bet your ass these RIAA folks are NOT going to forfeit some of their cut to keep the "artist" fed. They'll say "fuck him, if he wants to eat he should sell more records and/or help us with legislature to make the serfs^H^H^H^H^Hpeople pay more money more often".

    So you'll have these "celebrities" endorsing a huge media campaign (which MTV stands to win from) against "piracy".

    I say we go back to the way things used to be, when artists did things because they LOVED to do them. Not so that they can rap about how many cars they drive and how many "bitches they fuck, that they give no dough to".

    Van Gogh, a true artist the likes of which today's "artists" are unworthy of even licking his proverbial boot, was quite poor throughout his life. If we quit feeding fat cats and wannabe's we will advance further and faster.
    These people are not special, they do not deserve the attention they get nor perhaps their compensations.

    Art should be created for its beauty, from a burnign desire by the artist to bring what's inside of his mind to life.
    If he makes a living, good.
    If he lives confortably, better.
    If he prostitutes himself and his work by making it unavailable to all but those who directly make him richer, then he is no artist, he's a fucking businessman filled with greed and perhaps a bit of talent.

    If you ask me, I would prefer to see people do what makes them happy, and live modestly.
    I think THAT should be the function of our government, to asure that is the case.
    Not to allow people to grow immensely rich while selling our and their own freedoms.

    Government supported artists, digital distribution (as it is far more efficient that shipping shiny little discs all around the world. For example, compare the weight of the electrons necessary to carry all of Shakespeare's works as opposed to the print)
    A good modest life for ALL (even government officials and employees, being part of the government should not entitle you to more compensation - that's not fair)

    I think that's called communism...
    (not Leninism, or Castroism - real communism. The likes of which has not been seen since we lived in primitive tribes)
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:29AM (#86553) Journal

    Some time ago, like, say 1997, copyright holders were reactive. That is to say, they waited until Napster was in use, and was allowing people to trade songs. Now, they seem to be going after parties that they suspect may one day plan to engage in something less than total protection of their copyrighted material. In other words, they're on the offensive.

    Can you blame them? Let's abstract the situation somewhat: a multi-billion-dollar industry has operated in a particular way for decades. Law exists to protect them against a type of theft that is particular to their industry. Suddenly, technology exists to make it incredibly easy to accomplish this type of theft, potentially threatening their industry's existence. Would you expect the people involved to do anything less than vigorously defend themselves by applying the related law, and even sharpening the law?

    I also remark that if these content-based industries failed to defend themselves, and collapsed, the content they provide would likely dry up as well - because there wouldn't be any money in providing it. This is what I've never understood about the Napster debate; the pro-Napster arguments do not seem internally consistent.

    If you find this to be a troll, I encourage you to refute my claims.

  • Interesting thought, though it was discussed in this link [slashdot.org].

    As for the story at hand, it seems to me that publishers are desparate to maintain their livelihoods. However, libraries seem to be at best, a minor threat.
  • Publishers afraid to publish books because Publishers fear their copyrighted materials will be freely distributed in a digital form?

  • In this context it seems that the actual media publications were printed on was the only thing that made content publishing economically viable.

    Now we seem to have an ever-increasing conflict between content publishers and the public who will get information for free if they can. Micro-payments and subscriptions are possible answers, but they seem like very clumsy solutions to this problem.

    With easy duplication of information in the so-called information age, and the difficulty the market is having transferring cash value to the content generators, maybe the Internet and easy duplication of information is exposing a fundamental flaw of capitalism?

    We all know that information has INCREDIBLE value, yet the free market doesn't seem able to transfer the benefit of this value to the people who create the content. As such, they will have to find another means of making a living which may well be less valuable to society, but yet pays them better...

    chew on that for a while.

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

Working...