Monday, February 21, 2005

Copyfight is a useful source of ebooks on all sorts of subjects, and it also provides links to various news items about the ebook world. One such link recently was to a piece on the BBC news site about copyright and the 'copyfight'.

Those of you who depend on copyright for your living, or part of it, need to be aware of what is going on in this area. The BBC article won't provide any definitive answers, but it does provide further food for thought on an extremely complicated issue. Getting to grips with copyright law in your home nation is difficult enough, but throw in the complications of international variations and headaches will ensue.

My own position, for better or for worse, is to produce the work and not fuss too much about whether anyone is going to rip it off. Frankly, I am not likely to produce something that is going to make a fortune for anyone, so maintaining a grip of steel on my copyright is beside the point.

In fact, in relation to my latest essay, On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile, I am making it available free. The section of the essay which is headed Notes to Readers makes it clear that you can do pretty much what you like with it -- short of passing it off as your own work.

In other words, you can print the essay out to read it, you can photocopy it for distribution to your students (if that applies), you can email the PDF to a friend, and so forth. If you are smart enough to figure out how to make any money out of the damn thing, please let me know, because I would like to know too. Other than that, feel free.


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