Way off topic
M K Edwards wrote:
>Why do you think self-publishers and indie record labels struggle?
Lack of advertising. That's where the evidence points, anyway.
> Do you think Tom Lehrer would ever have
> played Carnegie Hall if his cult following could have passed ripped
> bits around instead of sending three bucks to his P. O. Box?
Almost certainly yes.
> Would I
> ever have run across the gems in Gilmour's Albums if there were no
> market for commercial re-publication of lovingly selected tracks from
> old records?
I don't know. If they were available free online from libraries, you almost
certainly would have. Anyway, the existence of free reprints does *not* seem
to hurt the market for commercial reprints of older material, as long as the
commercial reprints feature "added value" such as remastering, careful use of
best originals for masters, professional restoration, etc. And when they
don't feature any of those, the commercial reprints are just trying to make a
quick and irresponsible buck off of other people's work. :-P
> Which is more important: protecting the consumer from the risk that
> something might go out of print,
That one. Obviously, given the actual facts.
> or improving the likelihood that it might get created in the first place?
The actual evidence is that copyright protections are not the primary
incentive for the creators of literary works, and that nearly all would be
created even if there were no protections. Now, many might not be
*published* if there was no copyright at all, but the evidence indicates that
a more limited copyright -- which only protected against *literal* copying,
for instance, or which featured publication requirements -- would be enough
incentive for almost everyone to publish. And I say this as a creator of
copyrighted works, and someone most of whose family members are too.
>And which is nicer to have -- a
>Xerox copy of the children's book you and your brother both loved
>best, or a reissued edition with non-toxic colors that your daughter
>can chew on between readings?
What reissued edition? I'd like to make a reissued edition (I know a printer
and a publisher), but I can't figure out whether the book is subject to
copyright in this country, nor who the copyright owners would be if it is.
Or, in another case, the only legally reissued edition has been censored.
> Now that print-on-demand is almost price-competitive with conventional
> printing (for instance, check out Beard Books for classic works by
> Thurman Arnold), maybe we could use a compulsory license system for
> unpretentious paperback editions of books at least 17 years old.
Shouldn't be limited to "unpretentious paperback editions", and doesn't need
to apply to books kept in print. Frankly, I think compulsory license should
apply whenever the copyright holder leaves a work (in its original form)
continuously out of print for more than a specified period (5 years perhaps).
Of course, this probably wouldn't be necessary if copyright expired without
renewal after a short period, because those works' copyright normally
wouldn't be renewed. My oldest abandonware computer game (which I have an
antique legal copy of) is now 24 years old, and would probably be in the
public domain under the copyright laws of 1790 (and would certainly be in the
public domain in four years).