[-empyre-] Book Piracy and Alienated Labour

christopher sullivan csulli at saic.edu
Fri Jun 4 14:54:01 EST 2010

well I have to say that is seams we are coming around to issues of free,
collaborative culture. I think it would be very interesting to have a question
that does not once again get to this discussion.
The notion that Free software, books, classes is all good, is fullish. 
for all of the academics defending dissemination of thought, how do they feel
about on-line education. where schools make money off professors teaching
sometimes to an empty classroom, while there ideas flow out,to students in
there T.V. rooms, and into the pockets of the university or college. thanks
goodness the book is not dead, but if paper starts to become untenable, at
least we can create some kind of Itunes like way to share literature, so that
writers can eat. Chris

Quoting Emmett Stinson <stinsone at unimelb.edu.au>:

> Hi Everyone:
> Michael has asked me to introduce myself, and I thought I¹d talk a little
> about my own research in relation to the posts so far.
> I think the question of what AAAARG is (raised by Renate) is an interesting
> one. Sean, obviously, sees AAAARG as an online library or archive, one that
> offers freely accessible digital copies of books that, by and large, are
> related to the tradition of continental theory and related disciplines.
> Others (notably, it would seem, Pan Macmillan), however, would see AAAARG as
> simply a website for book pirates, which violates authorial copyright (and
> the copyright license owned by publishers).
> I¹ve just written an article offering a pragmatic analysis of so-called
> Œbook piracy¹ for Overland magazine, and I have mixed and contradictory
> feelings about the practise. On the one hand, I am emphatically against any
> attempts to criminalise or penalise activities relating to not-for-profit
> Œbook piracy¹ and am a staunch believer in copyright reform that enables a
> more free and open access to copyrighted material. But I also come from a
> publishing-industry perspective and strongly believe that both authors and
> their publishers (or other intermediaries) have a legitimate right to expect
> payment for their labour.
> The argument that books and information should be (monetarily) free to
> everyone is absolutely compelling for academics; since most academics have
> salaried positions, they don¹t need royalties from books to survive. But for
> other kinds of writers, the idea of free culture may simply result in more
> alienated labour (i.e. people who say things like ŒI write advertising copy
> during the week, but I¹m a novelist on weekendsŠ¹).
> Book piracy is clearly a huge problem for the industry (much bigger, I
> think, than most publishers realise), although I think publishers themselves
> can partially solve this Œproblem¹ simply by acknowledging that ebooks
> require a different form than print books. This goes beyond ebooks that
> include Œvalue adds¹ (i.e. audiovisual content); publishers need to
> radically rethink the form of ebooks by creating books that can be
> customised by users and include user feedback/interaction in order to make
> the book a dynamic process rather than a static artefact. An artifact can be
> pirated, but an evolving process can¹t.
> On a final note, last week I spoke with two librarians in charge of major
> Australian research libraries; interestingly, they were both strong
> advocates of significant copyright reform, and very much believe in
> something like the creative commons mode of copyright. Ironically, they
> argued that electronic providers of copyrighted content are currently the
> biggest barrier to a more free and open information exchange. Most
> Australian research libraries spend far more money on electronic resources
> than they do on print, and very few digital providers offer reasonable
> single-use or single-user fees. So digital publishers, themselves, are not
> in anyway inherently more open or free.
> -- 
> Emmett Stinson
> Lecturer, Publishing and Communications
> School of Culture and Communication
> The University of Melbourne
> Parkville, Victoria, Australia 3010
> Ph: 613-8344-3017 

Christopher Sullivan
Dept. of Film/Video/New Media
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 so michigan
Chicago Ill 60603
csulli at saic.edu

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