The questions below pertain to the general topic of how people share information, ideas, and art. Feel free to focus on just those questions that interest you and to which you want to respond. These questions are intended only to stimulate thought and discussion.
In responding, please state, for everyone’s benefit who reads this—even if you know that I know who you are—whether you are a knowledge creator (an author, for example), a knowledge processor (an editor, for example), a knowledge purveyor (a publisher, for example), a knowledge steward (a librarian, for example), or a knowledge consumer. You can be part of multiple categories; there are no points off for that. It might also be interesting to know whether you are under thirty, thirty to fifty, or over fifty. No need to be more specific than that about your age, I should think.
Okay, on to the questions…
- Google has entered into agreements with certain libraries to digitize every book in their collections, including books that are still protected by copyright. Google believes it does not need to secure permission from copyright holders to do this. Does the public interest in free access to information outweigh publishers’ and authors’ interest in being compensated for their work?
- E-books can be produced in such a way that once you pay for one and download it you can send copies of the files to your friends or post them on your own blog or Web site. They can also be produced in such a way (using digital rights management) that you cannot share the book. Some people argue that the latter model creates a barrier that limits sales. Other people argue that the open model encourages piracy. What is your opinion?
- Most authors never earn a nickel from the books they write. If all authors understood this, do you think the number of books published each year would continue to increase or would begin to decrease?
- If it’s posted on the Internet, it’s okay for you to use it. True or false?
Ketherian has picked this up and is promoting it as a meme. Feel free to join in.
I am refraining from replying to comments, because I really want to see what a cross-section of people think about these issues. I would like to clarify a few things, though.
First, I worded the questions with some care. Incomplete information and ambiguity are intentional. Comments about the quality of the questions, while I do not mind them, do not advance the discussion.
Second, I do not have an axe to grind and will not be arguing against anyone’s position. I just want to see where this goes.
Third, so far I have posted all comments; I do not intend to censor anyone’s opinion.