|09-17-2011, 11:14 PM||#31|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Device: Rocket, Nook ST, Kobo WiFi, Nook Color
|09-18-2011, 11:09 AM||#32|
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New York
Device: Nook "1st Edition" Wireless, Nook4PC, NookStudy, Kindle4PC
Quote from the EFF: <<Author’s Guild members: is this really the best use of your dues and your organization’s strong pedigree? >>
As an Author's Guild member (one could have guessed that from my previous posts), my answer to this question is yes. The Authors Guild, as an organization, has a pretty simple point, which you can find stated on their home page (under Membership), where it says: "The Authors Guild has been the published writer's advocate for effective copyright, fair contracts, and free expression since 1912." Everything they do, from the education they provide authors on publishing contracts to suing Google or HathiTrust is toward that end.
Even though EFF may be technically correct that AG has no standing to sue, what they managed to do with that suit in a couple of weeks is to make it clear that there are a lot of things the trust hasn't thought through and hasn't followed up on properly. Part of the problem in negative reactions I’ve seen to the suit such as the "open letter" at the link below from someone representing one of the participants in this venture is that the trust and commenters like EFF too easily conflate "orphan" with "out of print" with “out of copyright,” effectively threatening (even if unintentionally) to deprive authors of their right to control the use and distribution of their own work. The lawsuit has made both HathiTrust and the participating institutions stop and think over what they are doing. I'm not necessarily against the trust’s basic idea, but first they have to get clear what exactly they are doing and how they are doing it. The Guild has done the right thing in making Hathi look more closely at what it is doing and how it is doing it, and they've opened up an important public discussion in the process.
The open letter from Kevin Smith to J. R. Salamanca, one of the living (and still publishing) authors on Hathi's list, strikes me as patronizing toward the author, not to mention based on a misunderstanding. Salamanca hasn’t expressed an opinion about the fracas as far as I can find, though his agent has been cited as being unhappy about what HathiTrust was planning to do with his client’s work. Smith’s last paragraph in particular is an exercise in pretzel logic as Salamanca hasn't actually chosen one way or another whether or not to make his work available through Hathi’s orphan project - and in fact, he couldn’t have made that choice because his A Lost Country is not an orphaned work.
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