?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-08-02 17:34
Subject: [personal|links] This is not my beautiful house...no, wait, it is.
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:peacable
Music:a quiet house
Tags:books, child, funny, links, personal, politics, portland, process, publishing, weird, writing
Hey! I live here! I must be home. And boy does that feel nice. the_child went to Cape Cod today with her cousins, so we're almost as far apart as we can get and still be in CONUS.

In other news, there's a bit of a brawl in comments on my recent post about conservative principles. To make a disclaimer, I'm talking about my understanding of the ideal position adopted by conservatives of a philosophical bent. I'm not pretending these principles are applied by any particular people or group of people, let alone the entire Republican Party. More like, trying to understand what underlies the thinking of otherwise thoughtful, intelligent people who hold political beliefs which in my calculus are either profoundly disingenous or flat contradictory to the experience of conservative government in this country.

Also cooking along nicely is my ASiF forum, where I am guest moderator and topic focus for the next two weeks. I may cross-post some of the QA from there to here, if I can secure permission to do so, but regardless of that, drop by and check out the chatter from the land of Oz.

Elsewhere on the Intarwebs (no link for about-to-be-obvious reasons), someone has taken it upon themself to archive the fiction published at SCI FICTION on a blog. While I rather imagine the intentions are good, the result is a wholesale copyright violation of nigh epic proportions. Especially if anyone sues for statutory damages... I decline to fingerpoint, as I and many others are pursuing high road solutions.

Books read of late: jimhines's Goblin Hero, Matt Hughes' Template, bram452's A Betrayal in Winter, and of course the last Harry Potter book. Comments and/or minireviews to come. Also did some editorial reading for Other Earths. Pleasure reading is Paladin of Souls right now. I need to write at least one short story this weekend, and expect to be back on Escapement by Sunday, now that the Day Job has settled down to normal(ish) work hours.

Meanwhile the tireless danjite sends along a couple of gems:

Man arrested for having sex with road signs

Millionaire arranges attempted hit on himself to frame son in legal dispute

And in case you're wondering, at this moment I have my hair in a French braid, thanks to my stylist getting whacky this afternoon.
Post A Comment | 23 Comments | | Flag | Link






Rose Fox
User: rosefox
Date: 2007-08-03 01:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Now that's interesting. What makes the blog archive different from the SCI FICTION archive, which as far as any of the contributors knew was going to exist in perpetuity?
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 01:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not being published under any contract with the individual copyright holders. That work has been effectively treated as public domain by the blog publisher(s).

The SCI FICTION archive was covered by the terms of the contract in the original sale to that market.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Rose Fox
User: rosefox
Date: 2007-08-03 01:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was wondering which particular terms you're concerned about.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2007-08-03 08:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm interested, though, in the fact that all the fiction still is up there at the archive. Is it actually going to be taken down at some point? If you go in via the front page, it looks like it's gone, but they've just changed the front page!

That said, archiving it all on a blog somewhere is an outrageous copyright violation. Jeepers!
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2007-08-03 09:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Without wishing to come over all Cory Doctorow, I would argue that (although I haven't seen the website in question) maybe the intentions were good.

I've recently started a thing where I provide my friends with a link to a short story online for them to read during their lunch break at work. It's proved incredibly successful and introduced a lot of authors to readers who have never even read science fiction before. So as you can imagine I'm very pro short stories being able to be found online.

At the same time, I am fully aware that well meaning people may violate copyright in order to benefit the community.

I'm presuming that when you say blog, I take it you mean a blogger or an LJ, rather than something they host themselves with their own ads. I thought in order to get damages in a US copyright case you had to prove either loss of income for the author / original publisher or proof of profit by the 'new' publisher. Is that the case here?

Don't get me wrong, it still is a clear case of copyright violation and the act is at best morally grey. However, I've had photos of mine taken with out permission and republished, usually with full credits, and you know... more often than not it's been effective marketing.

If they were changing the name of the authors of the SciFiction pieces that would be wrong on every level, if they're just trying to ensure they don't get lost by a scifi.com disk wipe maybe the way to rectify the situation is to find a new location for the archive.

I fully support copyright, and trust me, I KNOW writing is a business (*looks at bank account and sighs*), but I also believe in preservation of the arts.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 13:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, I actually think the intentions are good here as well. But in US copyright, any unlicensed use is an infringement regardless of profitability. There is a fairly broad Fair Use exception, but this quite clearly doesn't fall under that. There are also exceptions for citations within other works (a form of Fair Use, I believe), but they rely on only an insignificant portion of the copyrighted material being reproduced.

(As a sidebar, this is why music sampling has been so troublesome within our copyright regime. Many pop songs have lyrics that run <100 words, or not much more, so pulling a line or two out or even a small, recognizable cluster of notes, has been held by the courts to be a substantial portion of the copyrighted work.)

The damages are statutory, which is to say they apply to the infringement itself, not to the commercial value. That also means that if a court fings infringement exists, the damages are automatically applied. And they are humongous. If commercial value were being derived, there might also be compensatory damages.

Copyrights aren't like trademarks -- there's no use-it-or-lose-it aspect here. Ie, an undefended copyright does not then lapse. At the same time, many if not most writers object to unlicensed use of copyrights because it puts our work out of our control, and deprives us of livelihood through lost income. In simple terms, it's stealing, regardless of the intentions. Now, if the original work had been posted under certain forms of the Creative Commons license (pace Doctorow), then we'd have a different issue. But the SCI FICTION contract didn't offer CC licensing that I recall, and I don't normally elect it for my fiction.

I have all my flickr photos under a very permissive form of the CC license, btw, because I do perceive and understand the value of that sort of openness. I prefer to have more control over my fiction.

If anyone reading this is an attorney, please feel free to correct me or amplify my remarks.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2007-08-03 14:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay, as you said it's your fiction and you can control it however you like. I'm not trying to disagree with your points (I just have a habit of being "on the other hand" type of guy in debates).

US Copyright law changed last year so I'm not as up to date as I could be (but I used to be be pretty good having fought a few battles myself, even for a foreigner). I always believed damages were based on commercial loss, but it is very probable that I'm wrong on this...most of mine were based on establishing that the infringement wasn't fair use, rather than establishing damages.

Here's the danger though (and maybe this is worst case scenario):
Joe Public is not gonna see this as a copyright issue. They're gonna see this as someone trying to save content that was free to them on the web (i.e. they're a good guy). They'll presume you were paid by SciFi.com with the intention it would be on the site forever, so they're not gonna see authors as out of pocket here. If authors start saying they need paying and contracts and such, Joe Public will say "greedy authors, they were paid once already". Legally, yes the authors will be in the right. It's copyright infringement pure and simple. Morally though, it's a bit more grey.

You (and the other authors) should contact the blog owner and work with them and scifi.com to find a new archive for the stories (I'm sure if you told them they were going to another location where the public could find them they would more than gladly take them down), and everyone comes out a good guy. If you are seen to fight against someone doing what people will perceive as good, and you'll be the bad guys, and you'll find the internet mob either boycotting your stuff, deliberately violating your copyright by posting your works everywhere or at worst DOSing your site.

I'm not saying this because I think your position is wrong, I'm just saying be careful! It's just that copyright is a very thorny subject and the majority of people agree with copyright protection in principle but have strong views on what should and shouldn't be considered a violation.

Hope this comes across as helpful, not argumentative. I've just seen too many people/ companies get hit by the internet mob not to voice a possible concern here.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's a meta-issue here, which arises much more strongly in fan-fic. People who are invested emotionally in a story -- surely the desired goal of virtually all authors -- acquire a sense of ownership which has no particular connection to the realities of copyright law. Some authors simply ignore fan-fic, some attempt to restrain it, a very few endorse it.

It's still wrong.

Look at it this way -- copyrights are real property under the law. In effect, they have the same status as a house. If I have a fine house on the corner which you rented for a while, and it falls vacant, I am under no obligation legally or morally to allow you to occupy it, no matter how much you might want to, or even how much good you might do to my house, say, maintaining it for me. Since it's my house, I can choose to allow you to occupy it, for rent or for free as it pleases me. Even so, no one but me gets to decide how my house is used. (We'll ignore zoning and land use codes for purposes of this analogy.)

FWIW, if the blog owner had contacted me and asked permission to provide a not-for-profit Web reprint of the SCI FICTION archive, I almost certainly would have agreed (after checking my original contract for exclusions). I don't disagree with the intent at all. The execution is both inconsiderate of my rights and illegal. Honestly, the lack of consideration bugs me a hell of a lot more than the legality.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



steve_buchheit
User: steve_buchheit
Date: 2007-08-03 14:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, I would look at it this way. Someone finds some older, say 90's, Asimov's and Analog stories they really like. So, since it's hard to find reprints of those issues, they collect these stories in a new Kinko's Edition to hand out to as many people they can, even leaving them in coffee bars. Now, while we can discuss the motivations of the person doing this (out of pure fan love, not doubt), it's still a violation. Now, if they collect those stories and obtain permission from the copywrite holders to create and anthology, well, that's a dairy cow of a different color.

Those stories can be resold (depending on contract) for anthologies, to other websites, as a collection by the author. They still hold value. SciFiction (and here I'm speaking out of my neither regions without having seen their contract) bought the rights to publish those stories and how they exercise those rights (as long as it's within their rights) is their own business. Including not offering them for reading. The authors still own other rights to the works, so this person is stealing those rights from every one of those authors. They're not "liberating" work that was soon to be unavailable.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 14:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Right. Those works have value which can be resold to themed print anthologies, for example. Or included in collections. That value can be reduced by the free availability. If I've chosen to provide the free availability, then I've chosen to accept a possible reduction in the value of my copyright. No one else has the right to make that choice on my behalf.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 14:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Also, quite frankly, if I make decisions for fear of what an Internet mob might do, I should just pack it in now. I try to be a thoughtful and considerate human being both online and in real life, but pressure and bullying will put me into rigid asshole mode faster than just about anything else.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2007-08-03 14:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, for what it's worth you always come across as thoughtful and considerate. And yes it is 110% inconsiderate for them not to ask, even if well intended.

I hope it all gets sorted out to all parties satisfaction
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



bram452: Shadow
User: bram452
Date: 2007-08-03 02:31 (UTC)
Subject: Two very minor points...
Keyword:Shadow
And while I appreciate you reading the book, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed Mainspring, I'm actually bram452 and they're publishing it as A Betrayal in Winter. You know, just FYI. :)
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 13:05 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Two very minor points...
I knew all of that, I swear.

Fixed in this post, will be correct when I post more about the book. Thank you for your forebearance.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



bram452
User: bram452
Date: 2007-08-03 23:19 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Two very minor points...
You are, as ever, a prince among men.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



anghara
User: anghara
Date: 2007-08-03 03:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And in case you're wondering, at this moment I have my hair in a French braid, thanks to my stylist getting whacky this afternoon.

How do you like it? [grin]

I do a mean French braid, you know. I could always do you another in Japan (we appear to be on a panel together for Worldcon...)
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 13:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That might be quite lovely! Saturday morning, so I can take it down and have it be all wavy for the Hugos...mmm...
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



sheelangig
User: sheelangig
Date: 2007-08-03 05:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Welcome home.

Oh wait, did I already say that?

Reply | Thread | Link



Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.: weird
User: slithytove
Date: 2007-08-03 13:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:weird
Man arrested for having sex with road signs

Yet another spin on J.G. Ballard's Crash.
Reply | Thread | Link



Coffee Shop Whore
User: skidspoppe
Date: 2007-08-03 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Just out of curiosity, since it's early and I'm tired, was the work at Sci Fiction originally published on the web? Not that it makes a LOT of difference, but it might make some.
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 14:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes indeed.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jon Hansen
User: jonhansen
Date: 2007-08-03 18:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Interesting. I'm curious: what's your opinion on archive.org's Wayback Machine also holding several archived copies of SCI FICTION?
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-08-03 20:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't have a problem with SCI FICTION itself being archived by a neutral third party. (Otherwise, even Google search returns of my blog would be problematic.) I don't know if that's fair use or not, but it seems to me to have that same sensibility. I have a problem with my fiction being (re)published on a private blog without my permission.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



browse
my journal
links
January 2014
2012 appearances