Tag Archives: Protest

How to insult people – Lesson 1

Imagine having thought you bought a book and finding it missing. Scatterbrained ? Lended ? Delusional ? Paranoid ?

Not if you bought the book in e-version off of Amazon. Apparently, e-book sales are reversible according to Amazon. Apparently, although you purchased your copy legally on Amazon and put it on your Kindle, Amazon reserves the right to go onto your Kindle and erase your purchased content, or so they think they do. Of course, only after crediting your sale charge back into your account ! Goodbye, book…

After a move that deleted a range of books from customer’s Kindles, including 1984 by Orwell – How Ironic ! – Amazon sent out a press statement that the company that added the books to the online store did not have the copyright to do so and were in fact uploading illegal content. However, does this give Amazon the right to go onto Kindles and delete ? Apparently not, if you read Amazon’s license agreement and terms of use.

I know that if I buy a Kindle and buy Amazon e-books instead of the traditional dead trees, I will not be able to lend my e-books to my friends and I accept that I can’t resell my purchased digital copies either when I am finished with them. But now I will not even know that I will have them for myself to read ? And I will have to make due with my money back ? Are you adding extra credit for devaluation too ?

It seems like David Pogue is right; “As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.”

Copying is Free

Author and Wired editor, Chris Anderson got himself in a bit a pinch when the Virginia Quarterly Review analysed his new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, for review and found that Anderson had lifted a number of passages from uncredited sources, amongst them Wikipedia.

When asked for comment on the situation, Anderson replied that the outcome was unintentional. While both he and his publisher, Hyperion, say that sources were originally credited in footnotes, it seems that when deciding against using that structure in the book and changing it to an in-line crediting lay-out, neither Anderson nor his publishers found a way to satisfy Wikipedia’s crediting policy and unintentionally omitted the references altogether.

When reading Creative Commons’s explanation of Wikipedia’s Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence, it states that it will allow others to “remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms”. The terms Wikipedia has set for the use of its article are attribution, sharing alike, if need be indication that the original work has been modified and release under identical license of the original work accompanied by a notice of such license.

This last one of course could find Anderson and his publishers in a quandary. If part of the book is adapted from material under a CC-BY-SA license, the parts or whole that contain that passage will also need to be published under the same license. If I understand the licensing agreement correctly, Anderson would be permitted to commercialise his writing, however, he would still have to publish his work under a Share-Alike license. And I doubt that he would want that. The publishers have indicated that the book will be re-edited to include all appropriate attributions, but even so, Anderson should have paraphrased the original sources or in lieu of that used quotes and block quotes. The issue whether or not Anderson committed plagiarism is difficult, but at least he practices what he preaches; Free is Free.

Irish writers band together

A host of Irish writers are protesting the termination of funding to the Irish Writers’ Centre. As the Guardian writes, closure of the centre would mean the loss of a focal point for events, discussions, conferences and holding archives.

The Irish Writers’ Centre, which [Irish author] Seamus Heaney has called “a part of the literary culture” and [Costa prize winner John] Boyne “a part of the fabric of literature in Ireland”, works to develop and foster new Irish writing, providing a space for literary events, festivals and courses, as well as a home for a host of writers’ groups. [T]he decision to terminate its funding meant that access to these resources would be lost, “leaving the next generation of Irish authors in a vacuum and having to look elsewhere for guidance and development”.