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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: January ::
Books to Buy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0055  Wednesday, 30 January 2008

[1]	From:	David Bishop <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 15:26:58 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

[2]	From:	Kirk McElhearn <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 21:45:10 +0100
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

[3]	From:	Ron Severdia <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 13:05:22 -0800
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

[4]	From:	Lynn Brenner <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 16:48:55 EST
	Subj:	Re: copyright

[5]	From:	Robert Projansky <
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	Date:	Monday, 28 Jan 2008 16:58:11 -0800
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

[6]	From:	Gabriel Egan <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 29 Jan 2008 10:36:46 -0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Bishop <
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Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 15:26:58 -0500
Subject: 19.0052 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

I'm very happy to hear that Joe Egert has paid for a download of my 
Eight Hamlets. Thanks Joe, and I hope you enjoy it!

I somehow doubt that Gabriel Egan begrudges me my pittance, but if he 
wants to offer my book for free, I wouldn't mind. I expect the book to 
make some serious money, but the way things are in this world, and this 
profession, it seems unlikely to happen until after I'm dead. At least I 
can take some pleasure in contemplating that long tail.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Kirk McElhearn <
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Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 21:45:10 +0100
Subject: 19.0052 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0052 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'.

The Bradley book is in the public domain, and available from Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16966

Kirk

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Ron Severdia <
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Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 13:05:22 -0800
Subject: 19.0052 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

 >Larry Weiss said:

 >Giving away or selling pirated copies of her works does
 >have that effect.

This is a common misnomer and an oft-used blanket statement about a 
copyright "protecting" an author. While Bradley's work is in the public 
domain (and therefore should be accessible by anyone free of charge) 
this doesn't necessarily mean that someone can't charge for binding a 
copy (or digitally, for that matter) and selling it to anyone who will 
pay for it. That's the beauty of public domain and freedom of 
information. And contrary to popular belief, pirating a book can even be 
beneficial to the proceeds (not to mention the spreading of the ideas 
contained therein). A prime example is Coelho's The Alchemist, where the 
author himself is a proponent:

http://piratecoelho.wordpress.com/

http://torrentfreak.com/alchemist-author-pirates-own-books-080124/

http://en.sevenload.com/videos/bIjFXZD/DLD08-Day1-Creating-universes

Maybe Dr. Wells could try something new?

Ron Severdia
PlayShakespeare.com

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Lynn Brenner <
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Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 16:48:55 EST
Subject:	Re: copyright

My heartfelt thanks to Messrs. Weiss, Lindley, and Egert for so 
eloquently expressing the view of someone who writes for a living!

And I need hardly add, a view that William Shakespeare would 
unquestionably have shared.

Lynn Brenner

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Robert Projansky <
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Date:		Monday, 28 Jan 2008 16:58:11 -0800
Subject: 19.0052 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

Larry Weiss says, in response to Gabriel Egan:

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 . . .

Infuriating. Regardless of what he thinks of any opinion expressed by 
anybody in this forum, I think Larry Weiss should be ashamed of himself 
for stooping to red-baiting on SHAKSPER.

Bob Projansky

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Gabriel Egan <
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Date:		Tuesday, 29 Jan 2008 10:36:46 -0000
Subject: 19.0052 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0052 Books to Buy

Larry Weiss asks:

 >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?

Several respondents wrote as though I had advocated such a thing, while 
a careful reading of my posts will show I did not. Just to be clear: no, 
I wouldn't deliberately undermine someone else's monograph sales by 
distributing large numbers of copies for free. (I might go beyond the 
permitted limited distribution for the purposes of teaching and 
research, and think we should all push those limits as hard as we can.)

The only outright law-breaking I advocated was picking the digital locks 
on the new digitizations of the Henslowe-Alleyn papers. One would have 
to think the Digital Millennium Copyright Act a piece of reasoned and 
sensible legislation to find fault with my position there.

 >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.

The ownership of teaching materials is an interesting aspect to this 
topic, so I'll strain Hardy's indulgence with an anecdote that I think 
is germane. In my first few months as Education Lecturer at the replica 
Globe in south London an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) audit was 
done by external lawyers.  (These lawyers' time was a 'gift' from their 
law firm, but a cynic would see this as a Trojan horse: the audit found 
that 'Why yes, you DO have a range of IPR problems, and our firm can 
help you solve them'.) It was suggested to me by the lawyers that all 
the materials (lectures, articles, books) I generated while employed by 
the Globe would, because I was its employee, belong to the Globe. I 
pointed out that if this were true, it must by the same token be true 
that all the lectures I wrote at my previous institution belonged to 
that institution and could not in fairness be given to students at the 
Globe. Hence I would need a few months relief from lecturing to write a 
fresh set of lectures for the Globe. At this point my employer asked the 
lawyers not to pursue this point.

The ownership of ideas generated by people who work for educational 
institutions is a vexed and unresolved question. Universities rightly 
think it iniquitous that they pay academics to generate knowledge that 
is then given (virtually for free) to publishers and thereafter sold 
back at great cost to the university library. In the digital economy I 
have been sketching in these posts, universities themselves would retain 
in their Institutional Repositories the knowledge their staff generated. 
It is no surprise that publishers are very worried indeed about 
Institutional Repositories.

 >There is no principled difference between that and
 >publishing unauthorized copies of a book containing
 >the same lectures.

I haven't proposed such a thing. I'd like academics to think beyond the 
book as a medium, despite the pressure to confine oneself to that 
medium. The main pressure arises from the means by which professional 
advancement is regulated.

 >It is an axiom of Marxism (a world view which
 >I suspect Gabriel finds attractive . . .

What gave me away?

 >. . .  all property is the fruit of labour.

Actually, the claim of Marx (and his predecessors) is that all 'value' 
(not 'property') is generated by labour. In Marxism, 'property' is a 
notion arising in particular circumstances of production and varies 
remarkably across times and places. (One might see the story of Cain and 
Abel as the proto-typical conflict between the arable farmer, for whom 
land is property, and the pastoralist for whom that notion is absurd. 
For a simpler illustration of the same point, I ask students to imagine 
the privatization of the atmosphere and consider whether they could ever 
accept the idea that the air can be owned.)

 >. . .  intellectual property, which is a
 >direct capitalization of labour.

Surely SHAKSPER, the exertion of so much intellectual labour by so many 
people for 18 years, disproves this assertion. Where's the capitalization?

 >To infringe a writer's copyright is to deprive him
 >of compensation for the sweat of his brow;
 >it is theft of his labour.

I advocated breaking the digital locks that are proposed for the 
Henslowe-Alleyn papers digitization. Those doing the digitization of the 
papers will claim that although the primary materials are not their 
intellectual property, they are imbuing these materials with fresh 
copyrightable value by digitizing them. This absurd argument is the 
reason that libraries feel entitled to put on their microfilm images the 
words 'Not for reproduction' even when the image is of a 400-year old 
book. Spurious authority used to be given to this claim by the sheer 
cost of making microfilms: it just felt like those who had invested so 
much in the copying machines ought thereby to acquire some rights.  Now 
that copying technology is very cheap, those who once claimed such 
spurious rights (acquired by copying) have had to perform an 
embarrassing volte-face and insist that merely copying something doesn't 
make it yours.

David Lindley writes:

 >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.

Royalties are not payment for labour, as indeed their etymology betrays: 
the notion derives from royal prerogatives and land-use rights. 
Surprisingly, the OED's first example is as late as 1857. For the sake 
of achieving agreement, I'd happily leave out of the argument that I'm 
making for Open Access all those writers for whom royalty payments are a 
substantial proportion of their income and confine myself to those 
writers who are primarily employed by the state as educators and 
researchers.

I can't see why David thinks that the ideas I have advocated require me 
to forgo the very small royalties I currently receive: I have not spoken 
against the paying of royalties. That said, I would happily forgo all of 
mine as the price for being able to get Open Access to all the research 
materials that are currently in private ownership despite being funded 
by public money.

Joe Egert wrote:

 >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.

I'm afraid I don't understand Joe's point and cannot respond.

Gabriel Egan

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