Sunday, October 19, 2008

CC Search Engine

Been very busy lately. But check this link for a search engine that looks for only items published via Creative Commons. I especially like the fact that you can look up pictures that are available for reuse through Flickr. Are you making a website and you need a pic of a famous location? Look for it through this site using the flickr tab, and you do not have to worry about anybody sending their legal team after you!

This search engine is also an interesting way to find Creative Commons stories, novels, songs, and whatnot.

Start exploring the world of alternatives to regular copyright!

It's interesting to see how people who have Creative Commons novels are also selling their books the old fashioned way as well. I should email one of them and ask them how they are doing with this method.

I also want to try to find some resources discussing more popular authors other than Cory Doctorow that publishes some work through Creative Commons.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More on e-reading devices.

e-reading news from today.

Later today I will post more on CC or creative commons. I swear.

Look forward to...

I really should discuss Creative Commons in more detail. I will do this in the morning. There is so much to it. It really merits about a dozen blog posts.

The Future of Copyright and Publishing (Part 3)

Well, I'm back from Carrefour, and I am incredibly disapointed with their lack of Parmesan cheese.

Anway, I was talking about devices. Now, this is a word not traditionally associated with reading or books. In fact, for many bibliophiles a certain amount of Luddite attributes are worn like a badge. We like to feel the pages of the book as the weight of the right hand slowly transfers to the weight of the left hand. We like the sight of a shelf of books--the way their mismatched colors and sizes create a narrow horizontal patchwork across our otherwise boring walls. The feel of a particular book may bring back memories of a person, place, or time worth remembering. Even the smell of an old book is comforting even when we know that it may just be the beginnings of mildew.


It's probably time to move on. Books are, afterall, a technology--probably the most successful technology and important technology, placed even above the wheel. It may be time not necessarily to eliminate books, for there will always be need of them, but it may be time to replace the book in certain instances with electronic editions.

Ugh! Right?

Who the heck wants to read their computer screen all day! Good thing that is not what will happen. Technology is changing in such a way that we now have devices that can display type that looks remarkably like paper. The screens are not backlit, so it does not strain the eyes of the reader. If you have been to recently you will have been bombarded with the hard-sell homepage trying to get you to look at something called the Kindle.

The Kindle is one of many devices being sold right now with the new e-ink technology that pretty much relicates the look of a printed page. I know it's not a real book, but there are some advantages. For example, you can change font size if you have poor sight. You can store hundred, and with an SD card, thousands of books on the device. (This is great for people who travel a lot or move around internationally because it is so hard and expensive to move books). You have instant access to purchase hundreds of thousands of titles from the device itself via a free wireless connection that stretches across the states. Jeepers, this is starting to sound like a commercial for the dang thing, but trust me, it's just that I am excited about what this kind of technology means for the individual writer.

Amazon sells these books online with no enormous cost and no time to manufacture the book. The book is a ile only a few hundred kb in size. It can be downloaded in seconds even from a very slow connection. This ease of distribution has allowed for Amazon to allow people to self publish at no cost other than a cut of the purchase price for each item sold. This entirely cuts out the need for a publisher to give the public access to your book. That is concept one about what is huge in ebook distribution.

The second concerns what you are thinking right now. How do people know I have published a book? Traditionally, publishers sent their books to major newspapers to be reviewed. Interestingly, the readership of traditional news sources is dropping, while the readership of well established as well as specialty blogs such as sci-fi or literature specific blogs is skyrocketing. A blog such as might take a little known book such as The Endless Belly Button and review it on their site. Tens of thousands of people read this site and many others like it every day. The sales of that little known book went way up due to the positive press it recieved from this non-traditional source.

It's hard to wrap my mind around what is happening, and thus it is difficult to use words to explain what many people feel in their gut. That something is happening right now where traditional print and technology converge. We are uncertain how this will all end up, but something will happen.

It feels like i went on a bit of a rant, so I have to ask myself something. What does this all have to do with copyright? Well, it's just that technology is forcing us to look at how we protect intellectual property, and how we distribute and use books, magazines, newspapers, and knowledge in general. It seems as though Creative Commons is a fantatic example of what people are doing to help not just avoid the issue of piracy and technology, but shows the ingenuity of how we can harness its powers. And it is Creative Commons and movements similar to it that make us look into the technology, devices, distribution, and advertisement of all printed works coming out now and in the future.

I ask all of you to visit th creative commons site and take a look at everything they are doing. It is fascinating. You can publish something right now under Creative Commons. In fact, I would be interested to know if anybody in this class has done so? Many teachers use it to post their writings, and many people use it with their flickr photos.

I have got to go to sleep.

The Future (Part 2)

So, if you want to know the future of publishing according to me, read below:

First off, copyright is going the way of the dodo with the digital domain becoming the main source for all information. There is no way to patrol the internet for theft of intellectual property. It just does not work, so there has to be an entirely new way of distributing information in its many forms. There has to be an alternative to copyright.

Enter Creative Commons. (

This is a method made to help individuals distribute their material with ranging rights from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved." What does this mean? Well, it's an acceptance of the fact that we must allow some use of our work beyond what is allowed in copyright law and "fair use."

Some people release their work to the public to view via Creative Commons. Author Cory Doctorow recently released his new book "Little Brother" under creative commons, and allowed for people to distribute electronic copies of the book. He released in in a couple formats such as txt and pdf, and then a bunch of fans converted that text into other formats for every kind of electronic reading device you can think of. People even did fan translations into other languages, and there were even fan audio versions of the book. The trick was, that these fans were not allowed to make money off of the work. They were encouraged to spread the work and to get the words to as many people as possible.

Well, wouldn't this cut into sales? Nope, on the contrary. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, with a stint up there at number one I believe. You see, those fan versions wet people's whistles for the work, and more people than you would think went out and purchased the real, honest-to-goodness hard cover at the store, or more likely these days, through Amazon. Mr. Doctorow has released most or all of his works through Creative Commons, and has reaped the benefits of this. For more info on Little Brother and to download it in any number of formats go here . If you want to read the blog which he and a few other technology, copyright, and general nerd-stuffs addicts write check out . Actually, you will find some of the best commentary on current copyright law by going through all of their posts tagged with "copyright."

More and more people are deciding to give up their iron fist control over their work to see it flourish by using Creative Commons and electronic distribution.

I want to write more, but my wife really wants to go grocery shopping. When I get back in a few hours I will write a blog on the devices that will further allow this change, and how that will in turn effect publishing from the viewpoint of the writer and how that will pretty much be the end of book publishing as we know it.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Future of Publishing (Part 1)

Ugh, every time I come back to blogspot, the whole thing is in Arabic because it can tell from my IP that I am located in the Middle East. Even the link to where you can switch the language is in Arabic, and I can't read that language. This is fairly frustrating, but I think I have figured out which set of shapes is the link to switch languages.

Anyway, someone in the comments of my last comments mentioned how artists are now getting a financial cut of downloaded tracks. This is great, however, it only works if people use legitimate sites such as iTunes to download their music. The truth is, is that a large percentage of people are downloading through programs such as Limewire, or if you are more hip to tech, Bittorent. Heck, this blog format we use is a notorious method through which people distribute copies of albums. Just Google "blogspot" and "name of artist/album" and you will find a blog that will first review that album and then, usually in the comments section, provide a link to download a zipped folder containing the entire album. Try it, you can find pretty much every album no matter how rare. I occasionally use it to find albums that have never even made it to CD and it works.

So, what the heck? What are artists doing to sell their albums if this piracy is going on? Well, certain artists, such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have decided to bypass the traditional method of distributing albums and figured they would try something new. They released their albums online for download with the option to pay any amount you feel they deserve. They also provided deluxe packages of their albums that came with special booklets or DVDs to buy. This way you could still have the physical media if you still wanted it, and they threw in some special whatnots for you. This method turned out to make quite a lot of money for the artists. Many people did pay for the album, and since they did this themselves, there was no cut of profits sucked up by the record labels. This is great for the established musician, but what of those people starting out? Is it hard for a band to make money when their album is being downloaded for free or a minimal price? Well, it ends up acting as an advertisement and draws more people to their concerts which in turn gives good income to the band. This will cause a resurgence, or a kind of throwback to the days predating the Beatles non-touring-concept-album years, when bands made most of their money through touring, and not the sales of the record.

But what of authors? Most can't go and sell out a large venue. Not everybody can be Mark Twain. But there is someting else. Something that is building momentum. A new way of distribution and looking at publishing that will quickly change the way all people create, buy and consume information.

However, it is very late here and I have to get up early for work, so I will complete that cliffhanger in the morning. Sorry.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Man, it is easy to steal. What Should We do about It?

I think I will be posting information concerning how far technology has come in making traditional copyright laws impossible to enforce. I hope to come to an understanding of how the world of publishing will overcome or adapt to this new lawlessness concerning intellectual property.

For this first post I would like to just simply send all people to . This is a site intended to share any kind of document. However, it has become a home of copied works including many of today's bestsellers.

I'm a big fan of geeky fantasy writer Terry Pratchett. To take a look at the full text of many of his books and to download them in any number of formats such as txt or pdf simply follow the link below. Heck, you can even embed a player that will display the complete text in your blog. Maybe I'll try that feature out at the end of this post.

But my thought is how will this near impossibility of copyright law enforcement influence the way publishers distribute material and how consumers consume it? I hope to look at a few methods that have already been used, and discuss their ramifications.

This is a test

This is a test blog. This is only a test blog. I just created this, and will be working on it over the next week. I just wanted to get the link up, but I probably should have waited until I worked a bit more on it. Perhaps I was just excited about this name being available.