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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: January ::
Books to Buy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0052  Monday, 28 January 2008

[1]	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 02:58:24 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy

[2]	From:	David Lindley <
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	Date:	Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 21:47:18 -0000
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy

[3]	From:	Joseph Egert <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 11:02:13 -0800 (PST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 02:58:24 -0500
Subject: 19.0046 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy

Gabriel Egan

 >see[s] no need for legal barriers to simple copying of words
 >so long as the meanings and attributions are not distorted
 >thereby. In giving away copies of A. C. Bradley's _Shakespearean
 >Tragedy_ on [his] website [he does] not misrepresent Bradley
 >nor take credit for what he wrote, and that's important.

No doubt, and many authors are annoyed when their words are 
misrepresented; but the sensible ones recognize that a certain amount of 
that sort of thing goes with the territory. Misstating an author's ideas 
hardly injures her in a material sense or reduces her standard of 
living. Giving away or selling pirated copies of her works does have 
that effect.

Of course, making a copy of Bradley's "Shakespearean Tragedy" available 
for free is a reasonably safe bet, as that book is almost certainly in 
the public domain. Bradley's lectures were first published in 1904 and 
Bradley died in 1935 (and is beyond caring about his words being 
misrepresented). Would Gabriel treat a living author the same way? Would 
he, for example, make a PDF file of Stanley Wells's "Shakespeare & Co.," 
which bears a 2006 copyright in Stanley's name, and make it available on 
Gabriel's website to be downloaded by anyone who wants to read the book 
but prefers not to pay for it?

I would be willing to wager that Gabriel would feel much abused if he 
were hired to teach a class of undergraduates and, after doing so, was 
denied his salary on the ground that he had delivered the same lectures 
the previous year, so he had already been paid for them. There is no 
principled difference between that and publishing unauthorized copies of 
a book containing the same lectures.

It is an axiom of Marxism (a world view which I suspect Gabriel finds 
attractive and which has achieved such signal success in actual 
practice) that all property is the fruit of labour. Whether that is true 
of land, machinery, money, etc., is a point to be mooted elsewhere; but 
that notion is uniquely true of intellectual property, which is a direct 
capitalization of labour. To infringe a writer's copyright is to deprive 
him of compensation for the sweat of his brow; it is theft of his labour.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Lindley <
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 >
Date:		Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 21:47:18 -0000
Subject: 19.0046 Books to Buy
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy

I take it, then, that Gabriel Egan neither accepts royalties himself, 
nor feels that anyone else has the right to be paid for their labour in 
this kind. I'm rather with Sam Johnson's oft-quoted dictum that 'no man 
but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money'.

David Lindley

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Joseph Egert <
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 >
Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 11:02:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 19.0046 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0046 Books to Buy

Gabriel Egan explains:

 >I see no need for legal barriers to simple copying of words so long as
 >the meanings and attributions are not distorted thereby. In giving away
 >copies of A. C. Bradley's _Shakespearean Tragedy_ on my website I do not
 >misrepresent Bradley nor take credit for what he wrote, and that's
 >important.
 >
 >The medium by which Bradley's words are conveyed is unimportant. Our
 >copyright laws exist to support the businesses of those who have, until
 >recently, controlled the medium by which most mass dissemination took
 >place: printing on paper. Printing is no longer the best medium for mass
 >dissemination of words, and those laws are an impediment to knowledge.
 >
 >The claim that copyright law protects writers is untrue. I want to be
 >able to copy anybody's words for the purpose of reading and engaging
 >with them, and I am happy for anybody to copy my words for the same
 >purposes. The only "foul use" is misrepresentation, and the best tool to
 >prevent it is open debate.

JE: I recently downloaded David Bishop's new EIGHT HAMLETS for the 
exorbitant price of one dollar (the paper version was priced much 
higher). Having read Eagan, I'm now inclined to demand a full refund of 
this unconscionable exaction. Perhaps Gabriel might download the full 
text onto his site and offer it free to the rest of us. I'm sure David 
won't object.

Or would he?

Joe Egert

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