|neviot (e_witness) wrote,|
@ 2008-05-21 13:08:00
|Current music:||改变自己 - 王力宏 <3|
|Entry tags:||baen free library, brain tumor, online piracy/online copyright, physics lab|
Website Rec: "Don't bother robbing me, twit. I will cheerfully put up the stuff for free myself"
My entire physics lab class is currently locked in each of our own rooms, scribbling away in agitation at our latest post-lab report, the most difficult and involving to date. Stress - especially communal stress - always leaves me with the urge to dissolve into hysterical laughter for some reason, but before I get back to work, I have a website/concept rec:
I just (only just!) came across the Baen Free Library and am charmed by "First Librarian" Mr. Eric Flint's introduction, in which he explains his two major reasons for hosting free fiction (specifically, in this case, sci-fi) online: his personal principle and commercial profit. In an online debate over the issue of online piracy/copyright, he took the side of leniency (towards piracy). As a matter of principle in upholding and acting upon his opinion, he and Jim Baen created the Baen Free Library.
2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.
3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom."
Mr. Flint's second reason for the free online library is profit. By this, he means promotion through exposure, the same concept applied in libraries. Another quote:
"I don't know any author, other than a few who are — to speak bluntly — cretins, who hears about people lending his or her books to their friends, or checking them out of a library, with anything other than pleasure. Because they understand full well that, in the long run, what maintains and (especially) expands a writer's audience base is that mysterious magic we call: word of mouth.
Word of mouth, unlike paid advertising, comes free to the author — and it's ten times more effective than any kind of paid advertising, because it's the one form of promotion which people usually trust.
That being so, an author can hardly complain — since the author paid nothing for it either. And it is that word of mouth, percolating through the reading public down a million little channels, which is what really puts the food on an author's table. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise."
It sounds like a win-win situation. :) Interested readers can sample different authors and stories, and authors get their writing advertised. "Don't bother robbing me, twit. I will cheerfully put up the stuff for free myself," writes Mr. Flint to his would-be thieves.
I haven't read any of the hosted fiction, so I can't technically recommend the stories, but there seems to be a pretty good sci-fi collection? Works by big name authors such as Mercedes Lackey are placed alongside works by lesser known authors. As Mr. Flint says, "one of the things we hope the Baen Free Library will do is make it easier for a broader audience to become familiar with less well known authors." The stories have all been published in print, I believe, and are available for download in a variety of formats.
Also, Senator Kennedy is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. :(