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Old 06-05-2020, 07:28 PM   #19
barryem
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Copyright is obviously the law and making copies of copyrighted material and distributing them without persmission is obviously illegal. But real life is rarely that simple.

Copyright law in the USA is based on the Constitution giving rights to creators for a limited time. The same people who created that constitution set that limited term at 14 years and allowed a single 14 year renewal. Given that most books stop selling after a few months, a year at most, with only very rare exceptions, that seems like overkill but it's what they set so that's that.

Of course copyright holders can make a little bit more every now and then if that's increased so they set about lobbying for those increases and they got them, over and over and over again. Unfortunately we readers don't have lobbyists.

Now we've reached the situation where books have a very good chance of being forgotten and usually are before they become public domain. Very nice for the publishers.

What the publishers did was, at least on the face of it, legal. It probably involved a lot of illegality to get it done, trips and girls and parties for congressmen and senators, but I don't actually know that. I believe it's probably true.

I like the idea of writers getting paid for their work. I love reading and I want good authors to write good books for me and for that to happen they need to make money from it. But it wasn't the authors who got the copyright terms increased. I'm sure they were happy about it but it was the publishers who got it done. It's kind of hard for me to feel sorry for the publishers or to care a lot about their rights. In the past publishers made it possible for me to have books to read but that hasn't been true for a long time.

The world of books is changing. I'm not sure it's for the better but maybe it is. And maybe it isn't. The publishers are stealing from us and from the writers. They're mostly doing it legally though not always. They cheat a lot.

Another example of cheating is the large number of new books by dead authors, or even live authors hiring ghost writers, such as James Patterson. This is terribly dishonest.

The fact that there's so much swindling in the publishing world doesn't give anyone the right to steal from them. We need more honesty, not less. But if we're going to complain about dishonestly let's complain about the big, long term dishonesty and not the good guy who's now maybe doing something wrong to make a point. Maybe he'll make his point. Maybe he'll lose everything but if he does we lose a lot more.

Barry


Barry
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