Tuesday, January 07, 2003

A comment on your comments about the ebook lending and the PLR.

One of the few laws that the media companies (which by and large profit much more than the artists) have not managed to undermine in their quest for a pay-per-view world, at least in the US, is the right of first use.

This is the law that lets me purchase a book, video tape or DVD and lend it to my friends, or rent it out, or even sell it on to somebody else. In many countries (Japan for example) this is illegal. There are many cases in Japan where video game companies have sued used videogame stores in order to make them stop selling the games.

Now I'm a huge fan of yours, and a lifelong reader, regularly dumping large chunks of change on books/dvds/etc that I hope eventually works it's way up to the creative people behind the works, but disagree that authors/creators/etc should be compensated when a purchased copy of their works is sold or lent to others.

The creator of a work deserves compensation, but authors have lived for centuries without nickle-and-diming their readers into other hobbies.

Er, yes. You can go and find things I wrote in March (Tuesday, March 19, 2002) and April (Wednesday, April 10, 2002) pointing out that books don't have single end-user licenses and why I think that's a good thing.

I don't have a problem with you buying a copy (physical or electronic) of one of my books and then lending it to as many people as you wish. Or selling it. Or making a papier mache house with it. (I do have a problem with you copying it and selling the copies, or simply giving them away, without my permission.)

In the case of PLR, I think it's a sensible system. I don't see anyone being nickel and dimed -- the authors who receive their PLR checks are normally very pleased, they buy a dinner with it, or pay for heating. It's capped, so no-one's making a fortune out of it, and the vast majority of the authors are getting less than 500 pounds from PLR. Many of the authors in question are old, many of them are being compensated for books long out of print, the libraries are free, and the money doesn't come from funds that would be buying books. I can't see why this would be a bad thing. In the main, it simply fosters a general feeling of goodwill between authors and libraries.

I can't see it happening in America, though.