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THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR

View 482 September 3 - 9, 2007

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Much of the weekend was absorbed with the SFWA/EFF scribd.com flap initiated by Cory Doctorow with flames fanned by ars technica, boing boing, and EFF. You can read much of it in the weekend's View. It begins Friday and there are developments through Sunday.  There's even some glimmer of a sign that scribd has discovered they haven't won quite as thoroughly as they thought. I am preparing a more orderly presentation as this week's column since I think the matter is one of some importance for the future.

I am somewhat rattled by the number of people who automatically leaped to the conclusion that SFWA and the writers are the bad guys, and those who have posted hundreds -- year thousands -- of copyrighted works without even the pretense of authorization by their creators are the good guys. I note also that attempts by readers to put up somewhat different views in the places where this flap originated have been turned down. For many apparently it is enough to hear one version of the story.

In any event I'll have a column on the subject because it is important for the future. I'll try to be a bit more orderly in the presentation than I was in the day book.

================

A public announcement from SFWA

The Board has just passed the following motion by a vote of 5 aye, 1 no, and 3 abstain:

Motion: That, effective immediately, all of the the activities of the current ePiracy Committee be suspended and the Committee itself be disbanded until such time as the Board has had the opportunity to review the legal ramifications of sending out any additional DMCA notices, as well as to explore other methods by which SFWA may be able to assist authors in defending their individual rights, while ensuring that any such activity will not unduly expose SFWA to negative legal ramifications.

Further, that the Board shall issue a call for a temporary, exploratory committee of between five and nine individuals to investigate the views of the membership on issues of copyright, authors rights, what role the membership would like to see SFWA take on these matters and what level is risk (legal, public relations or otherwise) is acceptable to the membership in regards to that role, and what - if any - public policy statement SFWA might issue on these subjects on behalf of its membership.

Finally, that the Board, in conjunction with the findings of the above committee and its own deliberations, will work to develop a new, permanent committee with a clear matrix of operations and goals, whose purposes shall include, but not necessarily be limited to protecting the copyrights of our member authors who desire such protection in a way that complies with the applicable laws, and to help educate both our membership and the public at large in regards to copyright law.

Translation:  Authors, you are on your own; SFWA will no longer act for you in defense of your electronic rights.

Congratulations are due to those who have won this battle.  That includes EFF whose legal warning in defense of their client scribd doubtless played some part in the Board's decision.  I have no consolation for those who lost. 

I can take care of myself. I know how to generate DMCA takedown letters if I care to go to the trouble; Scribd has said they don't think this an onerous process. I disagree, but I know how to do it.  I can't act on anyone else's behalf nor will SFWA.

I have, with the expenditure of under an hour of investigation, found on scribd.com many of the works of Heinlein, Chalker, Chandler, Anderson, Saberhagen, and other dead authors as well as two story collections by Harlan Ellison who is very much alive and very much unlikely to be pleased by this.  Scribd was notified of much of this by two separate emails. I have not heard any reply from them, but I did not expect to.

If there are any venture capitalists thinking of investing in scribd who are members of any branch of the Masonic order, they may want to take note that the estates of many of those writers belong to their widows or widows' sons. If any are Catholic or Jewish they may want to take note of the specific Biblical prohibitions in these matters.

I repeat the following from what I said over the weekend:

I understand that I must not call scribd.com a pirate site: it's just a place where anyone can put up a copyrighted document without any legal authority and scribd won't do anything until a legal notice by the owner is sent to them. Better be sure the notice is in the proper form. So although there's a lot of other people's work available at scribd without any permission from the copyright owners, it's not a pirate site. Keep that firmly in mind.

====

An open letter to Michael Capobianco, President of SFWA

A version of this was posted in a closed SFWA forum, partly in answer to Michael's comment on my dismay about SFWA's action. I want one thing made clear: I don't blame Michael Capobianco for what happened.

Dear Michael,

Frankly, sir, while I expected this action, I am greatly disappointed. It was predictable, but I did have some hopes.

Anyway, it's over. SFWA has caved, authors -- and their estates -- are on their own, and that is an end to it. We lost the battle, and probably the war. The white flag is up. That does not mean that we can or should concede the moral high ground. SFWA was on the right side in this. We were on the side of the authors. That is where an author's association has to be.

We will test the hypothesis that defending copyright against electronic piracy is not important, because absent some organization to do it for us, most authors will be unwilling or unable to go to that much effort. Despite SCRIBD.com's PR representative saying that the procedure needed to get them to remove a copyrighted work is not onerous, most will find it so. I have posted the model of a letter that worked. Whether someone will do that for the dozens of works I have identified in about 45 minutes of work examining their site is another matter. (I have elsewhere listed about fifty copyrighted works available on scribd including just about everything Jack Chalker wrote. Eva is Jack's widow.) Eva's web site makes it pretty clear that she's not up to doing that for Jack's work which I find all over that place. I think that is true of many estates.

I understand your position here, and absent some groundswell of membership support which never materialized I don't think you had any choice in the matter. I'm not disappointed in you. It is never pleasant to be the general of a defeated army, and you have my sympathy. We lost, and it wasn't your fault.

I am disappointed in SFWA collectively. We have caved, and quickly, without much of a fight; but that was done by the membership which allowed one view to prevail. I wonder if it actually does represent the views of the entire membership, but given the one-sided way in which the issues were presented out there on the web, perhaps so. Over time the real truths of the issues involved will come out: the conflict of the rights of those who want their works displayed for free download, and those who are trying to protect electronic copyright. In the one case, a few were deprived of the right of public display for a limited time. In the other, entire works, indeed an entire lifetime of work, is offered to anyone who cares to take it without the author's consent. To put those two issues as morally equivalent is bizarre.

The effect of SFWA's caving is going to be wholesale abandonment of any attempts to enforce electronic copyright. A few of us have the resources to carry on as individuals, but there is no one to do it for estates and for the many writers who don't have a sophisticated group of readers and subscribers already organized. The effect is going to be that there will be a few efforts to defend a few individual copyrights -- Harlan's team comes to mind -- but for the most part the "practice of the industry" will be abandonment of any such attempts.

I do not know the long term effects of that. They may be nil.

But I do believe that an important event happened this weekend, and even though this action by the Board was predictable, I certainly do not see it as joyful.

As to my own tactics: my apologies if you find them offensive; believe me, I do not intend you any personal injury. I think you had no choice. But I do want to make sure everyone understands just who has won here, and what those who won stand for. I have already seen some signs that the PR battle did not go quite as expected for scribd and its champions. I have heard a few apologies from erstwhile supporters of what they thought scribd and its supporters wanted. I expect more as readers begin to understand the issues.

I think it's important that people know that whatever its faults, SFWA was on the right side in this; that we have not one damned thing to be ashamed of; that we owe no apologies to a web site that allows and encourages the wholesale infringement of the copyrights of authors dead and alive, yet claims to be the aggrieved party when an author's association attempts, first by polite inquiry and notice and finally by the only means that seems to affect scribd, to act for authors and their estates. That scribd has the support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and its legal resources was certainly a factor in your decision; but while that adds to scribd's power to intimidate, it is not I think anything for EFF to be proud of, nor does it add to scribd's moral authority.

I do not concede any part of the moral high ground to SCRIBD and its sycophants whether those be inside or outside SFWA, and I do not believe that SFWA ought to make any such concession.

We can regret that a few people were temporarily deprived of the privilege of having their works available for free download from scribd but I am damned if I will equate that ethically or morally with what scribd is doing -- continues to do -- to authors and their widows and orphans. They damned well do not have any right to the moral high ground.

SFWA has lost a battle and probably the war. I am sorry we had to run up the white flag. But I will not apologize for being in the battle, and I will not concede that scribd and its minions have the moral or ethical high ground.

SFWA did and does have the moral right of it.

Jerry Pournelle
Chaos Manor

========

Apparently the fallout continues. While a faction friendly to Doctorow and the information wants to be free group, coupled with intimidation from Electronic Freedom Foundation lawyers representing scribd (see http://blog.scribd.com/ ) were successful in getting SFWA to withdraw from the business of protecting authors electronic copyrights, scribd seems to be feeling some pressure, and I am told scribd is taking down a large number of posts, possibly including all of Chalker's work. Included in that takedown are the works of some of those who screamed loudest when SFWA erroneously included some works that should not have been on the takedown list; but apparently they are not screaming this time.

Apparently scribd which thought it was winning hands down in its stonewall campaign (Send us DMCA takedown notices in proper form or we will do nothing) is learning that this isn't as popular a stand as they originally thought.  We'll see. I hear all this indirectly, but I do note that when I search for Chalker's works, which I found this morning, I now get an error notice.

It may be that they have won less than they thought they did. That doesn't change the fact that SFWA has been defeated by Doctorow, ars technica, scribd, and EFF in that we will no longer be representing members in protecting electronic copyright; members are still on their own.

I do point out that if scribd had been anything like cooperative in the past weeks when Dr. Burt was trying to negotiate with them, instead of simply stonewalling and insisting that they would pay attention only to properly worded DMCA takedown notices, SFWA would never have sent the list of documents to be taken down, Doctorow's work (posted by a third party, not by Doctorow, and widely available on many other sites) would not have vanished from scribd, and none of this flap would have happened; and SFWA would continue to look after the electronic copyright interests of its members.

Congratulations are due to EFF and Doctorow. They have won their battle to defend the rights of scribd to post whatever it wanted and leave it there until properly served with the right notices: but apparently even scribd is having a few second thoughts. Pity they didn't have them a week ago. None of us would have had to go through this. Now they are apparently sufficiently frightened by public reaction to try some remedies. I repeat: SFWA tried to get them to do what they are now doing without any success whatever; it took our sending DMCA takedown notices, the Doctorow - ars technica - EFF reaction, and our responses including my explanations here, and the resulting public reaction when many readers began to understand just what EFF and scribd were defending, namely the right to have thousands of copyright documents available for download without any permission from copyright owners, and to leave them there until precisely drafted DMCA notices were sent for each and every such document) to generate any kind of change of policy.  My thanks to all the readers who have taken the trouble to find out what was really going on, and to respond.

For those who wonder what ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION does, please go to http://blog.scribd.com/ and read the letter EFF sent on behalf of its client scribd.com to the Science Fiction Writers of America.  If you support EFF, you should see them in action, and take pride in what they do. See how they cover themselves with glory, and how helpful they are in protecting author's rights.

Having read this, go to yesterday's view to see scribd's statement on their view of the matter.

I will leave it to you whether, given the EFF letter, the process of getting scribd to pay attention to the rights of authors and their widows is onerous.

Scribd is trying to make some semblance of amends; I trust that I won't seen unduly cynical if I doubt their good will, since they had weeks to be cooperative and stonewalled, then started their war and sent their EFF lawyers to their aid, and are only now acting as if they have any concern for the rights of authors and creators.

=============

I note that Macdonalds is advertising on scribd. That certainly tells me something about where to buy hamburgers.

 

 

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007   

I am preparing a summary of the copyright case and the peculiar act of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a 501c3 organization) supporting the commercial firm scribd against an authors' association trying to act for its members. This will be this week's column, because there are a number of important issued buried in this controversy. It's taking me some time to do this properly, and things haven't been made easier by (1) a Summer cold, and (2) temperatures in excess of 100 F.

The column has to (1) summarize the facts, which means a great deal of repetition of material already posted here, and (2) look at the implications. There are many, and some are important. Apologies for the delay. Those who wonder what this is all about should go back to yesterday's View.

I am also determined to finish Inferno II and get it out the door. There remain only two scenes I know I have to write, but close reading as I look for the proper place to insert those scenes has shown me ways to improve the book. The draft we turned in on June 1 was about 80,000 words. The current draft is 89,000 words, and I expect the final work to be about 91,000 total. Publishers prefer works to be about 90,000 to 110,000 words; this is a change from when I began writing. Red Heroin, my first published novel, was about 50,000 words, and that was typical of the action/intrigue genre of that time. A Spaceship for the King was under 50,000 words, but that was dictated by the maximum length Analog Science Fiction would accept for serialization; first serial rights were very important in those days. Alas, magazine rates haven't changed much in forty years, and serialization is no longer a major source of income.

And now to work.

===============

The column is up. It's about the scribd flap, and that is probably all I will have to say on the subject.  I may already have told you more than you want to know, but I hope I have interjected enough amusing asides to keep it readable.

I found I have been saying Electronic Freedom Foundation when the true name is Electronic Frontier Foundation. I got it right in the column (thanks to Bob Thompson).

 

 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I don't intend to spend any more time on the EFF vs. SFWA issue. I said about all I have to say in the column. I dealt with one issue in mail.

I do thank all those who have sent letters of support, and I particularly thank all those who have subscribed recently. Now it's time to go back to Hell.

=================

Astonishing! Studies show that the stubborn persistence of poverty -- the reason we have lost the war on poverty -- is mostly due to, wait for it, immigration.

Astounding. If you import poor people, or allow poor people to enter illegally, then you will have more poor people, and thus more poverty!

I am sure some social scientists will have an explanation.

========

Stardust will be my movie of the month, but don't wait until then to go see it. It's wonderful.

===

Luciano Pavarotti, RIP.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?
id=D8RFOO900&show_article=1

Roland Dobbins

When we went to Italy many years ago, Roberta had me drive us to Modena. She went to a local bar to determine where his house was, and I photographed her standing outside his gate.

 

 

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Off to the beach. I expect to finish Inferno II on this trip.

I have interesting correspondence from a scribd official. Has anyone read The Good Soldier Schweik? I am somehow reminded. Although scribd has taken down many copyrighted documents to which they had no glimmer of a right to publish, they continue to act as naifs.

SCRIBD yet again

When I informed them that my column (complete with copyright notice) was on their web site, their response was to act pleased that I had posted it, although they knew, and they knew that I knew they knew, that I had done no such thing. It will be interesting to see how long they leave it up there. They also have much of Asimov's work, so their exploitation of widows continues. Apparently they took a considerable PR hit, and some investors are having second thoughts, so they want to polish their image a bit if possible. They are claiming to have cooperated with SFWA, which astonishes those who were involved for SFWA.

In fairness, they have a dilemma. They want to provide a sort of documentary You-Tube, a place where anyone can put up nearly anything with little difficulty. This would include reviews, commentaries, Creative Commons documents, and nearly anything else people might want to present. Depending on the quality of their contributors this could become an interesting place; but of course it is a magnet for pirates, and if they had minimal prudence they'd have known it would be. Even if they had not figured that out, they know it now.

It is now pretty hard for them to claim the DMCA "safe harbor" protection: they know that their site has thousands of copyrighted documents. They know. I recently sent them a list that included works by Asimov and Sir Arthur Clarke: their answer (progress -- they answer; previously they simply ignored me) was

Thank you for the information and for your interest. At the risk of being tedious: since this is not an official DMCA notification, I can't do anything directly until I hear from their legal representatives. I have heard from Sir Arthur Clarke's, and I will remove his content posthaste. Thank you for pointing it out. If you know the entity that manages the affairs of the estate of Isaac Asimov, they will want this information in order to send us a request that we can comply with.

Titles are uploaded to Scribd by independent users acting independently. Scribd does not generate revenue from the content posted to the site.

I would like to invite you to post your perspectives on copyright and e-books to Scribd. The service is, of course, free, and I think your perspective is a valuable one. Every document uploaded to Scribd can be set to a standard copyright license, and you can remove specific download formats if you so desire.

 

In other words, "even though we know that there is pirated material on our site, we can't do anything about it until we hear from the owner. We can rip you off, and rip off widows and orphans, and continue to do it until the victims find out about it and complain. Oh, and have a nice day."

Actually, I don't think that will do it. I don't think the law actually says that you can rip people off so long as they or their legal representatives aren't aware of it and don't complain. I think the law requires a certain degree of common sense. In any event they know they are harboring pirates, they are claiming they can't do anything about it without complaints from the owners, and they'll continue to harbor pirated works, so have a nice day.

It's an interesting position to take. We'll see just how well it works.

=========

Again I want to thank those who have recently subscribed or renewed subscriptions. It gives some weight to the proposition that there are those in America who will pay for web content without being forced to.

=======

We are safely at the beach house in San Diego, having taken about 3 1/2 hours of reasonably pleasant driving with a 20 minute stop at El Toro to get here. I have everything set up using the IBM t42p laptop and the ViewSonic VA1930wm monitor and the Microsoft sculpted wireless keyboard and mouse. I have one problem. The VA1930 wants a resolution of 1440 by 900. That turns out to make 12 point type too small for me to see properly. I have to run everything up to 14 point, both here and in mail. I suppose I could compose in 14 point and drop it back, but that's tedious. So for the next few days, we'll operate in 14 point.

You see this in a browser and for most of you it's easy enough to change text size. Alas, I can't do that in FrontPage. One of these days I may "upgrade" from FrontPage, but I don't have much incentive to do that. FrontPage is good enough for most of what I do.

============

 

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Friday,  September 7, 2007

We're down at the beach house, and with luck I'll finish Inferno II. I still have two big scenes to add, but each time I approach the spot where they need to be, I find a few lines I can improve along the way. The problem is that the new scenes have to be fit in, and the book has a continuity and logic that makes that hard to do. I have to take a couple of good scenes apart. I don't suppose much of this is interesting.

The fallout from the scribd/EFF vs. SFWA flap continues. There aren't really any new developments, but some within SFWA are discovering that the "disaster" wasn't nearly as bad for SFWA as they feared -- we were on the right side, we remain on the right side, and fighting for the right side is a good thing to do and most know that.  Those who think SFWA was on the wrong side will never change, and anyone who believes it is OK to maintain a web site predominantly composed of pirated materials will believe many other things.

The fact remains that those "harmed" -- I would say inconvenienced -- by SFWA's action were using a web site composed largely of pirated materials to get attention to their freely distributed works. We can regret that their works were, for a time, no longer available on a web site that harbors thousands of pirated works, but I refuse to become terribly upset by it. My sympathies are for the pirated authors and their widows and orphans.

One more point. Robert Bruce Thompson and others continue to believe that the problem will never be solved. No matter what DMCA says, the US has no control over servers in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

That may be, but it may not be. Many European governments are harder on pirates than the US. So are many Asian countries. Even Russia is subject to commercial pressures. But even that is beside the point.

The important thing is never to give up the moral high ground. Many decent people will continue to pay for what they read -- the existence of subscribers to this web site is ample testimony to that -- provided that they understand that authors deserve payment, that information does not necessarily want to be free and creative work deserves to be paid for, and provided that there are convenient legitimate outlets for eBooks at reasonable prices.

Making those works available at reasonable prices will require publishing -- either by the author, as I have haphazardly done here, or, preferably, by a publisher with some experience in distribution, like Baen. Baen's lead is beginning to be followed by others.

What is important is that when a reader sees a legitimate copy of a book and wants it, he buys it from the legitimate source rather than routinely going to Google to find a pirate site for a stolen copy. If the authors ever give up in despair, that will be the situation. If we don't continue to assert our moral rights, then it won't be evil to list stolen books prominently on search engines, and the entire eBook industry will be in trouble.

I have made most of my lifetime income on the paperback rights to a few books. I am in a beach house bought in large part by the paperback income from Footfall. My house was paid for an improved by the paperback revenue of Lucifer's Hammer, which also paid for my four boys' schooling. Those books were a lot of work. Each took nearly three years. I would hate to see it impossible for other writers to have similar success.

The income I get from subscriptions here is a handy supplement to income from savings and social security. I could, I suspect, work hard enough to live frugally in retirement fashion having divested myself of extraneous assets like a second car and the beach house we bought 25 years ago in a real estate slump. But then my house and car are paid for (Mr. Heinlein told us to do that: writers are professional gamblers, and we must remember that) and I don't have any kids to put through school. But I couldn't make a normal living on the income from this site despite your generosity; and if I couldn't, then it's not likely that many can.

Eric Flint has recently said that for fiction writers most of their income will be from early sales of hardbound books in future. For those with readers and fans eager to see their next work that's fine; but again I point out that over my lifetime my income has come first from paperback book sales (Mostly Hammer and Footfall); then from columns (I had a very good run from 1980 to 1998 when BYTE was riding high); then from my other fiction, again mostly paperback sales; then from lecture fees; and finally from web site subscriptions which now comprise a significant part of my income until I finish more fiction. I hope to get significant revenue from both hardbound and paperback sales of Inferno II when that's done, and I can hope that Janissaries IV and then either a new Falkenberg or a space opera won't do too badly.

But for the future, paperback book sales are collapsing for everyone; and the scribd affair shows that it's possible that eBook sales won't amount to a hill of beans -- after all, many of the offerings of scribd were copies of once legitimately sold eBooks, so there's not much question of quality.

I repeat: if it becomes the standard practice for people to go to pirate sites for copies of eBooks, then a large part of a writer's potential revenue is gone, and much of the incentive for publishers to bring out legitimate copies is gone.

That's what is at stake. For now the revenue loss to pirate sites is trivial; but it may not be ever thus, and in any event the morality of the situation is clear. Authors should control what is done with their works. And while SFWA may regret inconveniencing people who used a site that harbors pirated works to draw attention, I fear their inconvenience at not being able to have their wares available on a place that harbors pirated works is not equivalent to the authors' potential losses if it becomes widely acceptable to go to a site harboring pirated works to get your eBooks.

So say I, and proudly.

On the one side we have defense of an author's right not to be pirated. On the other we have vigorous championship of the right to have one's work available for free download on a site that consists largely of pirated -- stolen -- property. I fear I am unable to equate those causes.

===========

In far better news:

Oh My!

Jerry, Iíve no ability to assess this, but if it is really soÖ..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/06/nlevitate106.xml

Mark Huth

To which I can only say Goshwowoboyoboy! Assuming it's true. I have had missives from St. Andrew's for years saying that a reactionless drive that passes the swing test is coming Real Soon Now, and each time I have greeted the letter with joy, but alas, so far, no joy.

But we can hope! Dr. Huth kindly provides this reference on the Casimir Force:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/26321

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Madeleine L'Engle, RIP.

'A Wrinkle in Time' Author L'Engle Dies

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: September 7, 2007 Filed at 4:32 p.m. ET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose novel ''A Wrinkle in Time'' has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s, has died, her publicist said Friday. She was 88. L'Engle died Thursday at a nursing home in Litchfield of natural causes, according to Jennifer Doerr, publicity manager for publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The Newbery Medal winner wrote more than 60 books, including fantasies, poetry and memoirs, often highlighting spiritual themes and her Christian faith.

Although L'Engle was often labeled a children's author, she disliked that classification. In a 1993 Associated Press interview, she said she did not write down to children.

''In my dreams, I never have an age,'' she said. ''I never write for any age group in mind. When people do, they tend to be tolerant and condescending and they don't write as well as they can write.

''When you underestimate your audience, you're cutting yourself off from your best work.''

''A Wrinkle in Time'' -- which L'Engle said was rejected repeatedly before it found a publisher in 1962 -- won the American Library Association's 1963 Newbery Medal for best American children's book. Her ''A Ring of Endless Light'' was a Newbery Honor Book, or medal runner-up, in 1981.

And hurrah for her. I took her seriously: I never underestimated my audience. Go in peace, grand lady.

===============

One more note on the SCRIBD flap.

It may not be over. The SFWA officers are discovering that while there is a vocal contingent of people saying SFWA sucks, there are even more cheering for its actions. There are also many who are not happy with the retreat in the face of victory.

I said this in the private SFWA conference (naturally I can't quote responses or even summarize them without permission, but I give myself permission here). We should have said:

SFWA acted, made a few errors, but was part of a good cause that gathered a
great deal of support. Unfortunately our support came from more solid people
who don't spend their lives on line and who have a life other than this
discussion; while the denunciations came from the Web 2.0 group. For a while
it looked as if SFWA had taken a terrible PR blow. It hadn't, and disbanding
the committee is likely to result in more losses than the original. After
all, zeal in support of writers is EXPECTED of a writers' association.
Quitting under fire isn't most people's idea of courage. I have more mail
from people who had hoped to qualify for SFWA membership and now wonder if
it's worth it to join than I do from people who were incensed over the
errors made.

What we should have done was say we regret the errors, but it was an
important battle, we're on the right side, and we have done what we can to
rectify OUR mistakes; now when is scribd going to cooperate and make this a
joint effort rather than a war?  Had we done that we'd have won hands down
and all around. 
 

I believe this, and I am trying to convince my fellow members. This is not the time to retreat. This is the time to make it clear to everyone that if you expect to make money by harboring pirated material, we are going to be in your face, and your investors may not like it.

I don't care if over on SCRIBD those who post pirated works now start their post with "SFWA SUCKS".

I know that we will never stop piracy. I know that many people will post copies of MOTE and DUNE and STRANGER and such, and we will never find them all. That's at worst an annoyance. What I find worse than annoying would be this: a new reader similar to iPhone comes out. It's cool. Millions of oeople like it. They like reading books on it. And when they go to Google looking for MOTE IN GOD'S EYE the first entry is a link to a pirate site where they can get it free, and not to Pocket Books where they can get it for $5.95.  (Alas, no, Pocket hasn't got a good electronic copy available at that price. I can hope they will get that smart. On the other hand we don't yet have the reader I postulate. I don't have to hope for or dread that one; it's going to happen.)

I sure hope to see some iron in SFWA's spine.

 

LATE: The President is making a powerful statement. SFWA lives.

 

 

 

 

Saturday   TOP  Current Mail

 
This week:

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Sunday,  September 10, 2007

What I put up here Sunday never got out on the web and is lost.

If you sent me mail between Thursday 6 September at 0900 PDT and Sunday, 9 September at 2000 hours (8 PM) PDT, I do not have that mail. If you sent it and I answered it, I have neither your mail nor my answer. In short, for that period I have lost all  the mail. (It will eventually be recovered, but not for a while.)

If you have recently sent me a subscription notice and you have not received a welcome message, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. YOU ARE NOT ENROLLED. Please send me a notice. If you paid by subscription to Roberta's mail, that is not lost, but the NOTICE TO ME that you subscribed is lost.

And what I wrote to put up here for Sunday is lost as well.  As well. So is much of the mail that I had selected to post.

 

SFWA lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sunday   TOP        Current View  

 Current Mail

This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending.  (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If  you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.

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