Thursday, November 29, 2007

This will please me, and my friends

Vernor Vinge has released his latest book, Rainbow's End, for free on the Internet.

Interesting side argument: Rainbow's End was released in May 2006. So: we can assume one or both of two things. It's possible that Vinge believes the commercial lifetime of his latest work is approximately 16 months, or that he believes releasing his text for free on the Internet will drive sales more than it harms. Or both, like I said.

Either belief utterly undermines that claim that creators need ever-stronger copyright protections in the 21st century.

Ah, but you say, Vinge's book is a bestseller, he's already made a pile of money off of it and other books. This is true. It is also exactly the reason that, according to the standard arguments pro-eternal copyright, that he should be most heavily invested in the status quo. Apparently, he is not. So either: the standard description of how creators are motivated by copyright protections is generally false, or at the very least it cannot accurately predict the behaviour of exactly the people it is supposed to benefit most.

None of this matters, of course, because despite the utterly false bilge published by the content industries, Canada seems likely to move towards the worst-ever copyright laws in the world. Hooray us!

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