Perhaps. Works out of print and not in circulation do present a vexation,
and perhaps a wrong to be remedied. Protecting the creator's right to those
works gives the creator little to nothing, and deprives the public of their
use; this seems an odd allocation of the public resources needed to protect
the rights. Clearly a matter for legal clarification.
Some cases, though, are clear: authors make more money if they, their
agents, and their publishers, agree to let a work stay unavailable for a
time then reissue it. This is not so much a phenomenon of the public as it
is of the distribution system, but in any event, it does work, and your
scheme would destroy that stratagem. Is this your intent? Is it your
Pournelle on Copyright and Napster
Ninety-nine percent of what I have created in the last fifteen years is in
print and available. There hasn't been a month go by since 1979 that I
haven't made money on the story in Cerebus #1. Cerebus is creator-owned,
yes, but more important it is creator-controlled. The critical element of
control is a work being in print and available. If it is not in print and
available and you would like it to be, you do not have control over it.
Pro-Con '93 Speech
This is the second time I've
referenced Dave Sim, the
comic book artist responsible for Cerebus, but it's interesting reading the
two contrasting points of view here.
You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go
ahead, I won't bite. I promise.
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