I’ve just seen a letter sent to an author who has published books under Hachette’s imprints in some territories and with Tor Books and its sister companies in other territories (Tor is part of Macmillan). The letter, signed by Little, Brown’s U.K. CEO Ursula Mackenzie, explains to the author that Hachette has “acquired exclusive publication rights in our territories from you in good faith,” but warns that in other territories, Tor’s no-DRM policy “will make it difficult for the rights granted to us to be properly protected.” Hachette’s proposed solution: that the author insist Tor use DRM on these titles. “We look forward to hearing what action you propose taking.”
Tagged with “drm” (6)
Author Margaret Atwood, creator of fictional dystopias, speaks on the plight of the author in the face of changes to the publishing industry today. She takes it down to first principles, in a partly historic, partly autobiographical way, how the "publishing pie" is divided. She warns the publishing industry against eliminating the author’s piece of the pie in their mad rush to an electronic publishing future.
Author Margaret Atwood is not as "hopped up" as some people may be about digital publishing. "If everything will be available on the internet, and everything on the internet is potentially free, who is going to pay for the cheese sandwiches?" she asks. In her delightfully wry presentation, Atwood reminds us that only ten percent of authors make a living on their writing, and traditionally an entire industry of printers, publishers, and booksellers , not to mention others, do make a living from book handling. "Helpful industry hint: Never eliminate your primary source," she says.
"Every tool has three sides. the sharp side, the dull side, and the stupid side, the side you did not intend," Atwood says about the changes wrought by the digital age. On the one hand, she says, we are overwhelmed by the number of things we could read. But eBooks are increasing readership, but not author’s pay.
According to an analysis by the Author’s Guild, author’s royalties on ebooks is shrinking the author’s piece of the book revenue pie. Yet the new freedom in self-publishing is turning the publishing model on its head. Atwood cites the case of her friend, YA author Mark Jeffrey, who gave away 2.4 million ebooks, then continued to raise his profile on Lulu and iTunes before winning a traditional publishing deal.
Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, including The Handmaid’s Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000; and Oryx and Crake, 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, part of the Massey Lecture series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in 2009
Ray Kurzweil has spent most of his life imagining what the future might be like, and then inventing it. In this keynote from 2010, Kurzweil shares his vision of the future with Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. The interview begins with a discussion about the Blio, the future of digital publishing, and finally the Singularity. This interview precedes the September 2010 release of the Blio, a TTS-enabled, full-color, web-enabled eReader.
As you listen to every word of this interview, you will become amazed at how dynamic and competitive the technology market has become. In this keynote from 2010, Kurzweil shares his vision of that market with Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. Kurzweil begins by sharing his take on the future of publishing, starting with the Blio eReader that Kurzweil helped develop.
Kurzweil has long been a pioneer and champion of enabling technologies for the blind and sight-impaired, having created the first "Reading Machine." These technologies paired optical scanning and the text-to-speech synthesizer to open up entire new perspectives. Kurzweil believes that the Blio continues that trend by incorporating TTS technology along with a broad approach to accessibility.
O’Reilly and Kurzweil discuss the possibilities and dangers inherent in various digital publishing pay structures, and the handling of DRM at various strengths. Kurzweil suggests per-page and per-minute pay structures. The eReader may change the form factor of texts, as the use of YouTube has reduced the typical video length to less than five minutes. A plethora of free material puts demands on the means of sorting out what is most interesting to read to any one reader.
Kurzweil takes us on a wild ride through the development of technology in general, on the steep sloping rollercoaster of Moore’s Law, where exponentially-increasing technological advances are met with exponentially falling market prices. Finally, Kurzweil talks about the Singularity and the pace of technology, in the context of the status of the book as a repository of human knowledge.
Ray Kurzweil, currently CEO of K-NFB Reading Technology (creator of the Blio e-reader), and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc., invented the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Ray’s latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller.
"Why Copyright?" is the central question in locating the importance of copyright within larger political debates — what are the impacts of copyright reform on art, creativity and culture? What are the impacts of copyright regulation on the future of the internet and other mobile technologies? What are the larger issues of digital advocacy inspired by current copyright debates? And finally, what are possible repercussions on online public forums and governance?
Answered in four parts by Dr. Geist, the fate of creativity and cultural preservation, and a more general address of how Canadians can access, use and share knowledge serves to counter common arguments in the media couched in issues of illegal downloading through peer-to-peer networks, digital locks, and software piracy.
The Intellectual Property Colloquium, a podcast for lawyers, has a one-hour show up about the reasons that DRM is the most reviled consumer technology in the market today. It includes interviews with Ed Felten and Randy Picker, testimony from the FTC’s DRM hearings, and is hosted by UCLA Law’s Doug Lichtman. Fascinating listening that makes a good stab at unpicking the tech and the law of DRM.
A chapter from "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future" by Cory Doctorow. Read by Jan Rubak.
Official Website of the Book: http://craphound.com/content/
The entire text of the book is available in various formats for free download from http://craphound.com/content/download/, or for purchase at your favourite bookstore for US$14.95 (ISBN: 978-1-892391-81-0).