[-empyre-] Hi everyone

Sean Dockray sean.patrick.dockray at gmail.com
Thu Jun 3 08:49:07 EST 2010

Hi everyone,

Morgan asked me to introduce myself and my experience with AAAARG as a  
distribution platform and give an update on what's happening now, so  
I'll follow her questions more or less to the letter.

I think there is enough background about the project in these two  
links and I'll try and avoid repeating it here.

* email interview with Julian Myers:
* chat interview with Morgan:

There's a lot that I'm interested in discussing, but from the  
perspective of "distribution" there are a couple of things that stand  
out at the moment:

Now that digital reading devices like the Kindle or iPad are becoming  
popular and widespread, PDFs (and other digital text formats of  
course!) seem like a viable market. Obviously manufacturers are  
competing for students and trying to partner with academic publishers.  
The person who wrote the cease and desist letter from Macmillan (iPad  
partner?) describes himself as an expert from the music industry.  
AAAARG has been around for more than 5 years -- there are a lot of  
places around that host or index the same material, not to mention the  
totally common practice of people sending each other PDFs -- and it's  
been in this last 12 months that all of the cease & desist letters  
have come in.  What was once just a bad copy now becomes the product  

Another point in this constellation are non-profit services like  
JSTOR, which again makes partnerships with publishers and academic  
institutions. An individual is absolutely aware of being outside of  
the academy here - most material is not accessible at all and the  
material that is accessible costs a lot of money. And for those in  
institutions but outside of wealthier countries, it's often a similar  

Within these kinds of shifts, who has the right to build a library?  
We're technically and legally not allowed to share a PDF between  
Kindles (the way I might give you a book after I've finished reading  
it) so what does that mean for similar collective acts?  I'm thinking  
about the history of the public library, of little traveling  
libraries, of how collections were acquired, donated, redistributed,  
etc. about how one book might be read by hundreds of eyes. Now, of  
course, every individual is responsible for purchasing their  
individual file and sharing is reframed as unethical, illegal, naive,  

Maybe that's enough for now?

Oh, finally, for an update on what happened and what's happening now:  
see the very end of the interview with Morgan above! Before this week  
is through there will be more news, but for now I'll just say that  
some people will be unhappy and many more will be happy.


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