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Ursula Le Guin's Petition Against Google Books

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the circling-the-wagons dept.

Books 473

Miracle Jones blogs about the petition against the Google Book Settlement created by science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin, winner of five Hugo awards and six Nebulas. Le Guin is urging professional writers who are opposed to the terms of the settlement to sign her online petition before the January 28th deadline. From the petition: "The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."

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Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884444)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (3, Insightful)

onionman (975962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884458)

"But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."

So, which corporation is more evil when it comes to copyright: Disney or Google? Seems to me that Le Guin is in effect supporting the Disney model.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (4, Informative)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884486)

No, she's saying that while copyright on the document is in effect that no corporation shall infringe upon that copyright.

Disney wants "copyright == infinity".

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (-1, Flamebait)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884526)

It sounds like Ursula Le Guin wants copyright to exist for her entire lifetime. Control of "her work" in perpetuity.

It is the same as Disney copyright except it goes to the author. It's only a half step better than Disney (as corporations are essentially immortal).

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (3, Informative)

bth (635955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884648)

Her copyright on her work in the US already exists for her lifetime. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Bono_Copyright_Term_Extension_Act [wikipedia.org] , US copyright law already exists for the "life of the author plus 70 years ...".

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885106)

There is a reason they call it the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

"In addition to Disney (whose extensive lobbying efforts inspired the nickname "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act"), California congresswoman Mary Bono (Sonny Bono's widow and Congressional successor) and the estate of composer George Gershwin supported the act. Mary Bono, speaking on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, said:

        Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution. ... As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti's proposal for term to last forever less one day. Perhaps the Committee may look at that next Congress."

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885174)

As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti's proposal for term to last forever less one day.

Then we all realise that mathematical illiteracy has just gone a step lower... Thanks edumacation system!

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884772)

It sounds like Ursula Le Guin wants copyright to exist for her entire lifetime. Control of "her work" in perpetuity.

So, you're claiming that she's immortal?

Your nick is truly accurate.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884798)

That's how copyright works and has worked throughout modern time. What's wrong with lifetime anyway? Better that than to sign away the movie rights to Disney for free after an arbitrary length of time, which would in effect give them control of the work.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (-1, Troll)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884838)

What's wrong with lifetime anyway?

Way too fucking long. How about, say... five years?

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884868)

I already answered that. How about spending 20 seconds reading a comment instead of just five?

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884914)

How about actually not spreading obvious bullshit.

The notion that a copyright should last for the entire life of an author is a very new thing. It's only due to relatively recent (within a generation) changes in the law that works are automatically under copyright, don't require registration, don't require renewal and don't EXPIRE within a generation.

While a 5 year term is extreme, it is infact more consistent with modern copyright law then the perpetual extensions that happen now.

What I find peculiar about Miss Hugo is the fact that she talks up libraries while then whining about "control" when it comes to Google.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884984)

The notion that a copyright should last for the entire life of an author is a very new thing.

Only in America, and only since The US signed on to the Bern Convention. That's based on French law, where preserving the creator's rights for as long as possible is more important than any possible benefits that might come from releasing a work to the Public Domain.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885124)

New? 162 years? [wikipedia.org] The registration bullshit is of course U.S. only, not elsewhere [wikipedia.org] (1886), and is obviously grossly unfair to those who don't speak the language of bureaucracy.

Neither I nor LeGuin have advocated perpetual extensions, only the author's rights, so I don't see why you bring it up. I don't support perpetual copyrights, nor renewal of copyrights.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884580)

No, she's saying the authors should have control over their work, or whoever they sell those rights to.

I don't have any problem with that. I think the Google deal is a bad one for everyone because A) why should Google have special privileges? Why can't anyone else get the same terms? And B) it doesn't focus on the real problem: indefinite extension of copyright terms and the illegality of DRM circumvention even if the activity would otherwise be legal.

Copyright law is broken. It needs to be fixed, not fiddled with to Google's advantage only.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885222)

No, she's saying the authors should have control over their work, or whoever they sell those rights to.

I don't have any problem with that.

The natural state of things is that my thoughts are my own, and nobody needs to know when I share them with whoever I like. When original authors are given downstream control, they are given permission to intrude upon this. Why would anyone not have a problem with this?

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884586)

So, which corporation is more evil when it comes to copyright: Disney or Google? Seems to me that Le Guin is in effect supporting the Disney model.

No.

She's saying that, during the term of a copyright, a corporation should have to actually get permission from the copyright holder to use a writer's work.

The google-model is opt-out-- "unless you specifically contact us and tell us not to, we now have your implied permission to use your work."

I'm not real happy with opt-out models, myself.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884610)

The United States Department of Justice agrees, having declared that Google should negotiate individually with copyright holders. The Director of the United States Copyright Office calls the Settlement “an end-run around copyright law.”

Exactly. And that's the magic right there.
No claim of extending copyright. Just fair treatment of copyright holders without special exemption for corporations... Google operates for a profit. Your local library does not.

It'a an attempt to do "public domain". (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884674)

Google is attempting to re-create "public domain" in an industry where Disney is trying to kill it.

In this instance I'm in favour of Google as being the "lesser" evil.

Because Disney is still raking in the revenues on old works, they will continue to pay Congress to extend the copyright period. Public Domain will die. At least this way SOME works will still be available.

Re:It'a an attempt to do "public domain". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884846)

Why not choose none of the above. Reject both Disney's & Google's plans. Its not like those are the only options.

Less evil is still evil.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884946)

Use? I thought copyright was about COPYing.

Is Google making copies or not? If not then the authors and corporations whining about Google should shut the f*ck up.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885040)

"The google-model is opt-out-- "unless you specifically contact us and tell us not to, we now have your implied permission to use your work.""

But as opt-out is currenty LEGAL, I don't see a problem. Any author/copyright holder not currently aware of the option probably doesn't give a damn. This isn't some mouseprint clause in a 50 page cell phone contract. And considering the public good that will likely come of this (as compared to extending copyright) copyright holders/authors can frankly go fuck themselves.

Re:Which corporations does Le Guin mean? (5, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884788)

Le Guin does not in fact support the 'Disney model', e.g. here:

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Copyright.html [ursulakleguin.com]

she describes the Sonny Bono act as "the recent excessive extension of copyright term by the U.S.A, which has imperilled the international copyright system". She just doesn't want to be screwed over by Google in a land grab deal negotiated by an 'Authors Guild' that doesn't represent her.

Author's deserve to be paid! (3, Insightful)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884464)

I'm all for electronic distribution, as long as the author is still paid for their work; but perhaps they become public domain upon their death; none of this estate stuff...

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884476)

I'm ok with estate (surviving spouse), it's America's de-facto perpetual copyright combined with abuse of international copyright treaties (keep renewing in a different country to circumvent laws) that pisses me off.

Re: Your Grammar (``Author's'') (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884592)

Quoth Strong Bad's fantastic ``Rhythm N' Grammar'' album: ``Ooooh! If you want it to be possessive it's just I-T-S, but if it's supposed to be a contraction then it's I-T-apostrophe-S... scalawag.''

Or you can ask Bob the Angry Flower [angryflower.com] for grammar advice. (*)

*: Warning. Angry flower may be angry and sneer at you. Or worse.

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (3, Insightful)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884626)

Do you realize how quickly JK Rowling and other authors would be murdered if that were the case?
Book publishers would end up with their own mercenary task forces to get access to popular works.

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884728)

Do you realize how quickly JK Rowling and other authors would be murdered if that were the case?
Book publishers would end up with their own mercenary task forces to get access to popular works.

Heinlein would have loved that idea...

A big compound with the lights which tell float craft not to try it, and a lime pit behind the hot tub.

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885140)

If you had said literary critics instead of authors, I'd have bought it. In The Number of The Beast there was a literary convention where they housed the critics in a Klein bottle (entrance but no exit) and provisions were by the Kilkenny Cats method.

The old man was practical about authorship - it was indoor work with no heavy lifting, and paid better than honest work.

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884782)

"none of this estate stuff..."

This always drives me nuts as a writer. Okay it can take a decade or more to get your work out there. Say I write a dozen books and finally get one published then a day later die in a car accident leaving my family with nothing but the work I spent ten years writing. Are you saying they don't have the right to benefit from my work? Some writers only become popular after their death even though they may leave a large body of work. Why should the public benefit but not my family? I'm anti corporation because out current system basically forces the artist to give up rights to see their work published. I think artists should be able to retain rights and their families benefit if they die. If my family isn't going to be allowed to benefit from my work then I'd rather do something with my time they are allowed to retain so they can live without going on welfare if I happen to die young. Why should the public have rights over and above the creator? It makes no sense. If there's no incentive to publish then I have no choice but to stop and do something else with my time. If I built investment houses for a living there wouldn't be a debate about taking them away from my family after I died. Say I'm a sculptor and I have a warehouse full of sculptures when I died should those be taken away from my family upon my death? Why are writers and creators of media singled out for loosing everything upon their deaths? My work is my legacy to my family as much as it is to the world.

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884944)

"Say I write a dozen books and finally get one published then a day later die in a car accident leaving my family with nothing but the work I spent ten years writing. Are you saying they don't have the right to benefit from my work?"

They can have whatever you signed with your editor. Same as everybody of us, mere mortals.

Or are you implying they won the right to get a life out of no work from themselves? The day I don't go to work is the day I am not payed my wages. Why do you think you "deserve" any kind of reward because of your unasked-for efforts? And I you get to have such a right, why I can't have the right to be rewarded by my hard produced farts?

"Why are writers and creators of media singled out for loosing everything upon their deaths?"

Are you implying that somehow somebody will go after your bank accounts to deprive your heirloom from whatever money is there?

Re:Author's deserve to be paid! (5, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885108)

Why are writers and creators of media singled out for loosing everything upon their deaths?

You're not. Anything you physically own before you die will be passed on to your family (local laws permitting), just like any other person on the planet... house, money, car, copies of your books, porn mags, etc.

The real question should be: why are writers and creators singled out for _EXTRA_ rights which aren't given to anyone else? If I die, my kids won't be able to go to my boss and demand that he continues to pay them my salary, why should writers be any different?

Limited times (3, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884468)

But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

So, what in her mind happens when that time expires?

Re:Limited times (2, Interesting)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884540)

Not sure what Ursula has in mind, but I think that copyright is one thing the Founders got right back in 1790. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Limited times (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884560)

Simple. It never expires. She seems to have a very very distorted idea of what "free and open dissemination of information and literature" means. Apparently she thinks that information needs to be controlled by its author(s) in order to be open or some such nonsense. It's an extreme sense of entitlement.

Re:Limited times (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884678)

You have hit it on the nose. "free and open dissemination" simply does not jibe with it being "controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it." Putting it in the public domain is free and open; using a Free distribution license like Creative Commons also is. And of course, infringement of copyright law is also free and open dissemination. Anything else is not, but PD and so-called piracy are both clear examples of free and open distribution which do not involve author/owner control.

I don't have a problem with copyright law as it once was written, which is to say that copyrights actually expired. But I do have a problem with an author who doesn't understand the language in which they write. I'm done buying LeGuin books, and yes, I do buy books new, and that has included several of hers.

Does this remind anyone else of a certain Metallica-related event?

Re:Limited times (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884842)

And what's your alternative?

Re:Limited times (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884928)

And what's your alternative?

Well, we could start with securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries to promote the progress of science and useful arts. And then after a few years it would go into the public domain and someone could cut all the mind-numbingly boring parts out of 'The Dispossessed' and release a version that's worth reading... no, actually, that's probably impossible. They could at least stick more sex and explosions in there, I guess.

Re:Limited times (3, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884908)

But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

So, what in her mind happens when that time expires?

Nothing, obviously: Under ACTA, copyrights will expire roughly two weeks after the heat death of the universe.

the parental model (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884502)

It occurs to me that authoring a book should be a lot like raising a child. You should have the right to full control of your progeny for a little while then it's not "yours" any more. To hold on to that relationship too long is unhealthy for everyone involved, including society as a hole.

This idea that artists control their work forever is unfair to everyone.

Re:the parental model (4, Insightful)

wjc_25 (1686272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884534)

That's a good image; I'll have to remember that one. LeGuin doesn't seem to be saying that artists should hold onto their work forever. She's saying that while the copyright is in effect a large corporation (in this case Google) should not have the ability to twist the law to their own ends. I would have thought the typically left-of-center audience of Slashdot would sympathize with this sentiment.

Re:the parental model (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884652)

NO she is saying she wants the Disney model where her great great grandchildren get paid for doing nothing because they are related to her. The google model while not much better at least lets the works become useful after her death.

Re:the parental model (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884886)

"NO she is saying she wants the Disney model where her great great grandchildren get paid for doing nothing because they are related to her."

The audacity of everyone here that thinks it should be any other way is astounding. Where do any of you get off saying that there should be a point where things I create should not be mine, or that I should not be able to bequeath them to my grandchildren? If my wife makes a wedding dress, why shouldn't it belong to her until she passes it on to my daughter to wear at her wedding? Would you actually say: You shouldn't own that. You didn't make it! ?

Re:the parental model (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884980)

The "audacity" here is simply a literal reading of the law.

That law includes the relevant uber-law.

Copyright is not a natural right but something that the state is allowed to do as a means to some other end.

What audacity you must have to dictate to me how I use something you've sold to me.

A song is not a wedding dress. The moment you attempt to conflate the two you are engaging in obvious dishonesty.

Re:the parental model (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885206)

"What audacity you must have to dictate to me how I use something you've sold to me."

I have news for you pal. If I sell you a book, you already don't have the right to make copies of it and give them to anyone who wants one.

"A song is not a wedding dress. The moment you attempt to conflate the two you are engaging in obvious dishonesty."

No, but a CD that you buy is tangible, as is a wedding dress. When you buy the CD, you buy the right to listen to the song in perpetuity. You don't buy the right to make copies and give them to anyone who asks.

You should really stop and think before calling someone dishonest as you argue your right to steal ;-)

Re:the parental model (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885002)

"Where do any of you get off saying that there should be a point where things I create should not be mine"

Because it's fucking obvious. The moment you make something public it becomes, well, public.

"If my wife makes a wedding dress, why shouldn't it belong to her until she passes it on to my daughter to wear at her wedding?"

If your wife makes public her wedding dress design why should she expect that nobody will replicate its design? If she doesn't want the design to be copyied, she has the easy solution of maintain her dress well cared in the closet.

If you mind your mind products being disseminated, just leave them to your own.

"Would you actually say: You shouldn't own that. You didn't make it! ?"

Not at all. I would say: It's still your authorship, nobody will deny that but once published the copies are not your own. *I* did the copy so this copy belongs to *me*, not you.

Re:the parental model (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885076)

Oh, she can own the paper (and ink!) she wrote the books on forever, and pass it to her grandchildren. Well, nowadays it would be the original DOC file or whatever.

Please don't mistake IP with physical property. IP is not about *owning* something, it's about preventing other people from copying it.

Re:the parental model (0)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885168)

You are putting physical property at the same scale as """""""intelectual property""""""" (No amount of quotes is enough for that travesty).

Your wife can be buried to rot in that dress for all I care. Now, preventing every woman from making a similar dress is STUPID. That's what copyright is.

Your book is the one you wrote. You don't want other people copying your book? Then don't fucking publish it.

Re:the parental model (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884790)

More of us would be sympathetic with that sentiment if copyright laws/terms were not so out of whack.

The original terms of 14 years, with an extension to double that was spot on. Now days, 28 years can be an eternity with software, among other digital forms of media.
Add to that the always connected trend in recent years, social networking, youtube(and similar), etc., and you begin to see that 95+years can seem excessive.(especially when it seems to Joe Sixpack that most rights to stuff is owned by big corporations.)

The French would disagree (4, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884590)

This idea that artists control their work forever is unfair to everyone.

The French would disagree with this. They have single handedly foisted on the world ever longer copyrights since the 19th century. I don't know why the French are this way, but given that they have invented croissants, mayonaisse and champagne, I'm inclined to believe them.

So it looks like the French are our new political football in America. Liberals loved the French when they were anti-war, and now, here we are, conservatives, saying, "hey, look at how great France is", in order to support copyrights.

Oh France! Some Americans will always hate you, but America as a whole will always love you!

Re:The French would disagree (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884684)

and now, here we are, conservatives, saying, "hey, look at how great France is", in order to support copyrights

I get it too that there are many liberals for copyright and conservatives against. I was just making a joke about the role of France in the USA.

I'm actually increasingly against copyrights and patents because I think they create a social inequality between different kinds of workers. A man that builds a house, can only charge once for that house. A man that writes a computer program, or a song, can charge over and over again. This to me is unfair, because honestly, I think building a house is some pretty damned hard work. But, all tributes to the working man aside, the deal is that copyright and patents are an economic distortion created by the government.

Re:the parental model (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884814)

"To hold on to that relationship too long is unhealthy for everyone involved, including society as a hole ."

So let me guess ... you are not a professional writer ;-)

Re:the parental model (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884824)

I love how all the people proposing these theories here have never published a book that actually could be sold for real money.

Why is it unfair that artists control their work? That's like saying that people who build or buy a house should eventually have to give it back to society. If you have talent and tremendous dedication, go make another work that may be inspired by the works you admire. Just don't copy passages verbatim or use the same names.

If you don't have both talent and tremendous dedication, well then. I guess you post here and get 300 other slashdotters to mod up your posts for each other's approbation.

Re:the parental model (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885006)

> Why is it unfair that artists control their work?

Why? Because you have to trample on the rights of others to do so.

A dress is not in many places at once. If you want to control what happens
to a dress, or a car, or a chair then it is a fairly simple matter. Any
attempt to control physical property is by the nature of non-imaginary
property very limited in scope.

In order to "control" what's in the ether you have to be ready, willing and
able to interfere with people in their own homes and businesses in their own
offices. The scope and scale of the necessary meddling involved is as infinite
as the nature of the "property".

COPYright is about making copies. Anything else is just bogus artistic megalomania.

Programmers Are Authors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884524)

As a professional code writer (programmer) who agrees with the petition but doesn't have any published books, should I sign or is it not for me and I would harm their process by signing?

Re:Programmers Are Authors? (1)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884804)

As a professional code writer (programmer) who agrees with the petition but doesn't have any published books, should I sign or is it not for me and I would harm their process by signing?

By supporting restrictions on the free and open dissemination of information, you'd be harming society as a whole by signing.

Uhh, some of the best benefits are NO control... (3, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884550)

Part of the beauty of the library is the copyright owner/author/interest holder is NOT able to control access to the work. How many publishers would love to say "this book is for retail sale only: all lending is prohibited" on all their books?

Sometimes, the interest is maximized when the copyright owner/author/interest holder does NOT have control.

I think, under a slight variation (ALL others can be under the same terms as google), the proposed Google settlement would be a good thing.

(Of course, with Google getting effective exclusivity under this agreement, I think its a bad thing, but for a very different reason).

Re:Uhh, some of the best benefits are NO control.. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884922)

Part of the beauty of the library is the copyright owner/author/interest holder is NOT able to control access to the work. How many publishers would love to say "this book is for retail sale only: all lending is prohibited" on all their books?

I'm pretty sure I've seen that in print... might have been on a sound recording though.

Doublethink (4, Interesting)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884552)

It seems to me that Ms. LeGuin is engaging in a bit of doublethink: How exactly is anything "free" while it's simultaneously "controlled"?

(Not to mention, of course, that claiming "legitimate right" is begging the question...)

Re:Doublethink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884926)

She is a writer. She is trying to sound like she's being reasonable while being unreasonable.

This ends up sounding like nonsense to anyone who pays attention but something deep and insightful to anyone who's not.

Her statement seems inconsistent. (5, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884570)

The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

Her statements here appear contradictory. She says that electronic books should be available as books are available in libraries, but goes on to say that copyright holders must control their dissemination. But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884628)

First off, the "dissemination" in a library is indeed tightly controlled. A library cannot lend out more copies then they purchase, and the lending is according to some rules. Libraries do not allow copying and redistribution, for example.

The second point is what Google is proposing today is one thing, and what happens in the future, should their forced opt-out agreement hold, is quite another. They may use their control over the content in ways that are unforeseen today and extremely unfavorable to authors. No part of their proposed agreement says what they can and cannot do in the future.

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884704)

First off, the "dissemination" in a library is indeed tightly controlled. A library cannot lend out more copies then they purchase,

True, and that's a good point.

and the lending is according to some rules.

Ahh, but it is the library that makes these rules, not the author!

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (2, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884956)

"Ahh, but it is the library that makes these rules, not the author!"

Actually it is an evil group conspiracy! involving the publisher, library, the law, and physics:

  • The publisher sells X number of copies, thus limiting availability and making sure they amd the author - GASP! - receive money for their efforts
  • The library decides who they will and won't allow to borrow the books they - GASP - paid for !
  • The law says you cannot make a copy of the book
  • Physics insists that the same physical book cannot be read by two different people in two different places at he same time

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884680)

But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

Yes they do. If the library purchases one copy of a book, they can only loan out one copy of that book. They can't take it into the back room and make thirty copies of it. That's because... wait for it... the author and/or publisher maintains copyright control of that book.

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884706)

But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

Her statements are contradictory, but not for this reason. In fact, you have failed the semantics test. Copyright holders most certainly have control over the dissemination of information in books in public libraries, including eBooks. You must purchase one copy for each loan you wish to make. Libraries use DRM on internet eBook loaning (except as permitted by the publisher) to prevent multiple-loaning.

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884834)

Your mistaken dissemination for copying.

Go into any public library, and you will find that they will actively stop you from photocopying wholesale any of their books -- but they're happy to lend them to you! In other words, they abide by the copyrights of the author and publisher.

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884872)

Her statements here appear contradictory. She says that electronic books should be available as books are available in libraries, but goes on to say that copyright holders must control their dissemination. But copyright holders have no control over the dissemination of books in public libraries!

You're right but the biggest problem is the phrase 'information and literature.' I have a bigger problem with her logic that information should be controlled. Had she said 'arts and literature' I would have written a lengthy response attempting to identify with her or at least asking what her desired end state is. But when you start to advocate control of information, you kind of lose me on pure principle.

Now I'm not naive enough to think that fiction and nonfiction are a pure dichotomy and would open dialogues of the works of great historians. But I agree that capitalism (especially current implementations) have flaws when rewarding artists versus -- say -- an engineer. I would also agree that they are not always fairly reimbursed for their contributions to society. And that's a subjective thing so of course you will never get it right. But if you purchasing books used to be their major income and now -- if what she fears is true -- you can get a lot online for less cash, how is she reimbursed? I guess we'd need major clarifications on the Google book deal. Like who will set the prices? Google? The publisher? The author? She, of course, fears for this control and I hope she contacted Google about clarifications on this before speaking publicly as this could just be a misunderstanding.

In the end, she has a right to her opinion. She should never have joined the Authors Guild as they turned out to be horrid representatives for her. I don't know what effects -- if any -- her open resignation [ursulakleguin.com] had in that community but she made a poor choice in joining. She has a right to express her opinion, I'm curious to see how many authors agree with her. As you pointed out, books are available for my lending in a library so what if an online scheme could do the same thing? Especially for out of print books and the agonizingly slowly growing population of those in the public domain.

Re:Her statement seems inconsistent. (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884878)

The great inconsistency I see is that when a book is lent out through a library, only n copies can be lent out at a time, depending on how many copies the library bought. But with electronic distribution, any number of copies can be "lent" at a time.

On limited times (2, Interesting)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884620)

Ironically, given the state of copyright legislation, it seems that a good compromise position would be to ditch the Google Book Settlement (reverting control to authors) and slash the duration of copyright to a tiny fraction of its current amount (opening a vast amount of works into the public domain -- and into electronic archives). Google and other companies could then negotiate terms with authors for rights to enter newer works into their archives as well. Offhand, I'd target between five to twenty years or so, possibly varying in that range depending on renewals, etc.

Re:On limited times (4, Interesting)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884794)

Offhand, I'd target between five to twenty years or so, possibly varying in that range depending on renewals, etc.

Some economic studies done have shown that the original 14/28 year lifespan on copyright produces the most incentive to authors while still allowing the works to become the basis of new works within the lifespan of the original purchasers of that work.

Begs question (1, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884640)

But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it.

Why not?

Re:Begs question (2, Informative)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884698)

No, it raises the question. Begging the question [begthequestion.info] is quite different.

*casts fireward on himself*

Re:Begs question (3, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884896)

From the site you linked to:

What is "Begging the Question?"

"Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

Sure sounds like LeGuin is begging the question to me. That's exactly what the quote from the summary shows her to be doing. Unless the summary didn't bother including the rationale for her argument, I'd say she's begging the question.

Forward this mail to five of your author friends! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30884660)

... and by employing the the ever-ineffective "online petition," she's proven once again that she's clueless about the internet.

huh? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884682)

"The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media."

ok

"All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it."

huh? you just logically countered your initial statement

either its free, or there's control. i love ursula k leguin. in fact, i noticed cameron ripped her off with the "every plant is a node in a giant neural network" idea in avatar. it was a short story of hers, i forget the name, and she played it like a horror movie instead. but leguin isn't seeing the bigger picture here, despite her prodigious and keen powers of insight as shown in her works of fiction. kinda like the mathematics professor who can't balance his checkbook, i guess

"We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."

i agree 100%. except that already happened many decades ago, and has only gotten worse. existing copyright law no longer serves creators. it serves distributors

such that creators today actually make out better releasing for free, and deriving ancillary revenue streams from their popularity: advertising, endorsements, personalized content, movie deals, etc.

current copyright law will not serve you to make more money than this all-free-on-the-internet model. it will only serve some asshole in a distribution company. a distribution company that serves no function anymore in the world of the internet

the internet has made ip law defunct. and this aids creators: direct interaction with your consumers. the only people that are hurt is the parasitic middlemen in between

Re:huh? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885180)

Will your movie be free on the internet?

An by the way I don't believe google and the internet mean that content has to be free. I am fine with creators who charge to download their works, but I don't download DRM controlled formats. But at the same time I can't really be bothered distributing free copies of stuff I may have downloaded. I have 5 gigabytes of CDs on my laptop which I am not sharing with others, mostly because they would pick on my taste in music...

that's ok for you (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885210)

but how would you enforce those rules on a million technologically savvy, media hungry, and, most importantly, POOR teenagers

the future is now, get used to it

Bounty System. (5, Interesting)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884736)

Here is how (I think) I would do it. I start to write a book. I will release a few chapters for free online. I could and would even solicit feedback from these chapters. I now start a bounty. I would want X dollars for my work and a little bit to keep me going. Once I have reached X dollars, I will finish my story and release it as an e-book - free for any and all to read, share and do pretty much anything with besides alter or make money off of. If I fail to reach my bounty - it would be because people didn't want my story - why should I get paid for or release/finish something no one wants? They key to this idea is that I get compensated what I believe I should and get compensated(until a movie studio wants to buy the movie rights). And no one gets denied my literary genius :) The public does not even need to know how much my bounty is - maybe I would let them know what percentage has been obtained - and if unreached, I would guarantee refunds.

Re:Bounty System. (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885058)

"Here is how (I think) I would do it. I start to write a book. I will release a few chapters for free online. I could and would even solicit feedback from these chapters. I now start a bounty. I would want X dollars for my work and a little bit to keep me going."

Wow, you invented warm water, no less.

I'll tell you a secret: that's exactly how Alexander Dumas (and a lot of others) made his life.

Does anyone understand what she is trying to say? (1, Insightful)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884862)

I think I am missing some part of the argument. What she is saying makes no sense.

The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that.

So she wants to share everyone to have access to her books and ideas. I think thats awesome and wonderful.

But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control.

What? This so now sounds like the RIAA. Your in a catch 22. You can't control information once you free it from its box. It seems like you want your cake and eat it too.
That said I agree that the Google deal is not legit in any shape or form. You can't just force a party into an agreement especially how this one is worded. I hope this might be a turning point where Google is forcing the world to look back onto itself and realize how absurd the copyright laws are in their current state. And eventually copyright reform might occur, but I doubt that will ever happen.

"free and open" or "controlled"? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30884954)

Why would "free and open dissemination of information" be controlled by anyone? how can it be "free and open" and "controlled" at the same time?

Miracle Jones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885010)

Wow, with a name like that, what would she choose as her porn name?

LeGuin's stance on copyright is so 20th century (5, Interesting)

kasper_souren (1577647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885024)

LeGuin wrote some very interesting books. Unfortunately her stance on copyright is a bit too 20th centure to my taste.

Doctorow: "I did this with the understanding that reproducing, for the purposes of commentary, a single paragraph originally published in a noncommercial venue, was fair use under 17USC, the American copyright statute. Ms Le Guin disagrees, and though I haven't heard from her personally, my understanding is that she disagrees on the basis that taking the whole story can't be fair use. I have taken the piece down. The last thing I wanted to do was quote Ms Le Guin against her wishes, and had I known sooner that she objected to being quoted, I would have removed it sooner. " http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/14/an-apology-to-ursula.html [boingboing.net]

"Free" vs. "Controlled" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885062)

"Lending" and free are not one and the same. Libraries do lend, but are still controlled by copyright - that is, they cannot allow someone to copy an entire book, but the can lend it out to be read. Likewise, reading online should be okay but downloading (which would allow for unlimited copying) should not. I see nothing contradictory between "free" and "controlled" when you take this into account.

Google is a BUSINESS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885068)

and libraries are not. Google is trying to make money off of someone else's work without paying that person. Libraries are buying the book and then loaning it out for the sake of information, not for profit.
Google can either give money to the authors or a non-profit can be set up, run by the gov even, to do the same.

Le Guin is now the Lars Ulrich of fiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885128)

It's about control! No wait... fans, it's all about the fans!

Now where did I put my cane?

Bored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885166)

I'm fucking tired of Google related articles, please open googledot.com and discuss this shit there.

Ursula Le Guin is old and senile (4, Insightful)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30885204)

Copyrights are a detriment to human progress. When Benjamen Franklin and others created the idea of the public library, it was so that people could free themselves from ignorance and use their new found knowledge to create a better life for themselves and posterity. Now in the year 2010, that dream dream of free knowledge for freedoms sake is very very sick. In the USA, libraries are shutting down earlier and earlier, and the masses are kept satiated with a steady supply of pointless entertainment, and meaningless work. Copyright "rights holders" want to keep you in ignorance and beholden to them for knowledge.

However there is hope on the horizon. Thanks to the up-coming and inevitable e-book revolution, the written word will be free from the printed page, and those that would control those pages. Let us burn down the publishing houses, and give a Kindle to every man, women and child. Those that want to make a living of the work and sweat of others e.g. Publishing houses, the Author's guild, and the descendants of the writers who still want to be Paid 70 plus years after the actual author's body has been eaten by worms should find themselves dead in the street.

Ursula Le Guin did some good work in her day. We should respect Ms. Guin, like we respect a slightly senile and kindly Grandma, but we should not let our lives by run by your old grandparents.

-Strike a blow for freedom today, by downloading an illegal e-book today and reading it.

Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30885220)

Once you make something public, it's public. I'm a little biased here-- I write exploits for a living. As soon as more than a handful of people get a look at these, not only does someone publish my work with their own name on it, another group of people goes and modifies the targetted product, destroying the entire work. (which could take up to a year). So fuck artists, really. If you want to retain control of your work, keep it private. We have to.

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