It's apparently Mobileread/Dreamwidth crossover week, in which IP law and ebook piracy have become one of the hot new topics bouncing around the journalsphere. I hesitate to jump in, not so much because I'm not sure what to say, but because I'm not sure what there is to say that Mobileread doesn't have a dozen thirty-page threads about already.

We have discussed this. To death. Beyond death. There is no aspect of ebook piracy that hasn't been considered, counterpointed, analyzed by lawyers (from several directions), critiqued by hackers, patiently explained to newbies, ranted about, and used as the topic for random surrealist jokes. Even the US-centric aspects... MR shies away from discussions of race (of privilege of any sort), but it *is* a firmly international forum, and people from non-English-majority countries have a firm presence; they're quick to jump in and explain how the laws work differently in their country, and how US publishers don't consider them as real customers.

Up for some more hipponecroflagellation? )
I spend a lot of time at the MobileRead forums. Too much, probably.

Today, someone posted a link to Cory Doctorow's newest rant about free ebooks (I love his rants, but I still recognize propaganda when I see it), and in the comments, another author--John Sundman--pointed out that he'd given away his novels as free ebooks. For the first two, that boosted sales nicely, but although he's done it for the third, it hasn't worked; "free promo ebook" is no longer a novelty. (He posits that it's possible his third book just isn't as good as the first two, but he's not buying that. Neither am I. A quick glance at all three e-versions says they should hook the same kind of readers.)

Check out his site, Wetmachine. It's nifty. (Obscurity, not piracy, is the problem, right?)

So. That was background info. The real content of this post is inside, and deals with weird bits of copyright law. )
I recently picked up a copy of Captains Courageous, by Kipling, from Fictionwise. (Because [insanejournal.com profile] joanwilder posted a fic at the [insanejournal.com profile] snarry_games which quoted heavily from it--Sex, Lies and Audiotape.) Decided I should read the whole book, not just the quoted snippets; knowing it was a public domain book, I checked Fictionwise before the other sites, 'cos FW has books in a bunch of formats. (They have CC for free in multiformat... and in two secure formats for different prices. How weird.)

Got the free version. Decided to look at the copyright info. Hmm. Had some questions about that, and decided to ask FW about them.

Fictionwise works damned hard to keep you from directly speaking to them. Attempt to find contact info inside the cut. )

The question(s) I want to ask )
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