What is Cory Doing Right?

In my last post I deconstructed with Cory Doctorow’s “experiment”—my friend Allen Varney commented on Twitter that I deconstructed it the way the “US Air Force deconstructed Baghdad.” This was to say that I pointed out his experiment had nothing to do with his thesis and that without independent accounting of the numbers, any data would be useless. The experiment, therefore, was destined to prove nothing that Cory claimed it would.

In the experiment, however, Cory put forth a plan of action which hit on many points that use new media well and use its promotional power to his benefit. He starts with nearly $16,000 in the bank, has very low production costs, isn’t going to have to sink very much money into inventory and has most all of his production and fulfillment being done out of house, so his personal labor cost (in time anyway) is negligible. In fact, his whole project seems to be based on a close reading of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. (The Ferriss book is great and promotes a business model in which you outsource your work, keep inventory low, have others do your fulfillment for you, so all you need to do is cash checks.)

Cory’s experiment does offer some things which he hits spot on. I’ll discuss them below, and offer some of my own insights into ways he could be doing these things a bit better.

E-books

Cory is one of the poster-children for the “information wants to be free” movement; though as my partner Kat Klaybourne and author Raymond Feist are fond of replying to that statement, “Yes, but entertainment wants to be paid.” For some reason folks think it’s okay to say to a creator of intellectual property that the product of our labors should be free; yet they never convincingly press that argument at a farmer’s market. This is perhaps because more farmers carry shotguns than do writers.

I’ve been big a proponent of e-books and reading on electronic devices for over two decades. In 1988 I distributed my novel Talion: Revenant free on the Genie Information Network. Heck, I had two different models of the Apple Newton, and prepped books to go on both of them. (That would have been back in the days when Cory was still in short pants.) I’ve since owned a couple of Palm devices and have put books on them, I sell e-books from my website, on the Kindle and in Second Life, and I was the first author to have e-books selling through Apple Appstore. (How Cory missed getting his stuff out for that, I don’t know.) For years I’ve spoken on this subject in public and private, extolling the virtues of POD and electronic publishing to anyone who didn’t run away fast enough.

It’s pretty clear that the digital revolution is at hand. Reading devices proliferate, becoming better and better with each generation. Two formats are moving to the fore because of their ease of use and transportability: PDF and ePub. If you have enough of a computer to be able to get online, you have enough of a machine to be able to read either format—and the readers are free. Authors can publish works at a fraction of the cost of a physical copy since there are no printing, warehousing or transportation costs, nor is there the Manhattan overhead that many publishers pay for office space. Authors selling direct can offer the consumer more value for less money because they cut out the middleman.

Cory believes that giving away content promotes sales of physical product. He’s half right. Folks will accept free product. They will even use it. We are subjected to that very tactic day in and day out. It’s called sampling, and is a very well know and successful marketing tool. This is why we have previews for movies and television shows, why stores give out tasty samples of food, or free spritzes of colognes. They give you a small portion of something, building up an interest, a desire, awareness and demand (to use the technical term); and then they sell you more of it later.

But this only works if it is a sample. If you give the whole thing away, there is no impetus to purchase a second version of the product, save in the case of someone who becomes fanatically enamored of that product. Hit the collector gene somehow, and people will buy. Hitting that gene, however, is not easy and more products have failed to do that than ever have succeeded. Baen Books with it’s free digital library and Suvudu.com with monthly free book selections are two examples of publishers using free digital distribution for sampling purposes, with good results, and Orbit reported positive results when they sold e-books for $1.

I believe wholeheartedly in sampling. On my website I provide samples of my work. In fact, I use the very successful web-comic model in this regard. Web comics have for years put out strips on a daily or weekly basis. When a story-arc is finished, the artists collect the work and publish it as a book. The old strips may or may not go away, but in the case where they do, buying the physical book is the only way to get caught up with the story. This takes content that was once free and capitalizes it. Artists further generate income by selling original strips, drawings, doing commissions and selling ancillary material like t-shirts, mugs and bumperstickers.

In my case I’ve written a number of stories which I serialize to the web. If folks stay current, they get to read original fiction for free. If they like the characters and want to get more of the backstory, they have to buy stories at $2 and $3 a pop—a bargain price for an hour or more of entertainment. Moreover, with the last two stories, I started to offer the entire story for sale when I was halfway through the serialization—and I had buyers—folks who didn’t want to wait another two weeks to see how it was all going to turn out.

Cory’s business plan could have easily adopted that same model. He could have serialized any of those stories—especially the one he was commissioned to write for $10,000. He could have then sold it, or the entire collection for $2-$5 as an e-book, bringing in added income. As it is now he’s just left money on the table.

Alternate e-book markets

In talking with companies that produce and sell e-books—especially in the gaming industry—one fact emerges. Consumers buy products online from trusted retail sources. What this means is simple: if they like a merchant, they go there for product first and might not go elsewhere. This is why, in this day and age of digital publishing, signing an exclusive contract with any e-book publisher/fulfillment house is stupid. Treat each format as if it were a different language, and get them into as many markets as you can. If you don’t, consumers who shop in only one place will never see your work.

Cory’s made a decision to give his work away for free in PDF, text and HTML formats. Epub is being added to that list soon. At least two of those formats won’t work on the Kindle without modification and the Kindle is the bestselling, dedicated book reading device in the world. Depending on the numbers you read, there are 350,000 to 500,000 units in place. Amazon also produced an app for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which adds another 20,000,000 units that can handle their content. Curiously enough, however, even though Amazon allows and invites free content, Cory didn’t mention distributing his work via the Kindle store. (Nor the Appstore, which will allow you to put it up for free, too.) He’s ignoring two of the largest marketplaces for people who have laid out hard cash for the express purpose of reading—talk about your target market!

Part of the reason he didn’t do that is because it only takes a minor amount of file processing to make the work available on the Kindle. Anyone can do it. The problem is that he’s a bit of a techhead, and techheads forget that not everyone is as savvy as they are.

Most folks who read books on these devices have one sole source for content: Amazon or whichever other store their reader is slaved to. They don’t want to have to worry about pulling a file into their computer, running it through a program and dumping it into their device. Doing that is not reading, it’s computing, and they didn’t buy their dedicated reader to do computing. (And since the Kindle features wifi delivery of titles, there are readers who use them religiously and don’t even have a computer.)

Ultimately, from the standpoint of readers who’ve bought one of these devices and don’t want to do computing, his free e-books don’t exist.

Audiobooks

As I noted in my previous article, I hosted an MP3 file of me reading the first chapter of my novel The Grand Crusade back in December of 2003. This was back in the dawn of the iPod era. I put it up a month before the novel came out. By the end of that month I’d had 1500 downloads (determined by bandwidth usage divided by file size, then taking 80% of that to account for failed and canceled downloads). That book, which was the conclusion of a series, hit the Amazon listing higher and stayed high longer than any of the previous books. I don’t know if the audiofile compelled anyone to buy the book, but at least 1500 people knew the book was hitting the shelves very soon.

Podcasting is a brilliant, low-cost way of hooking an audience. Not only is there something special about an author reading his own work to build a bond with readers, but podcasting makes delivery simple. Moreover, there is a very active, generous and welcoming community of podcasters out there. Shows regularly trade promos and have other podcasters on as guests to talk about their work. Podcasters often work together on projects, bartering voice talent duties. And links between podcaster websites provide some of the tightest networks on the web.

Authors like Scott Sigler and J. C. Hutchins have proved that podcasting novels can lead to publishing success, but it’s more than just free content=sales. Scott and Hutch are tireless networkers who use podcasts as a marketing tool. Their serious work goes into building community. Both of them—and they are not alone—have succeeded in welding together a very loyal fan-base which supports them both online and in the physical world by purchasing product and attending events. It is their interaction with their fans which has taken a group of people first attracted by the value of free entertainment, and turned it into a revolutionary army which supports them and recruits new members to grow that fan-base.

Cory has done this with Boing Boing. It is in community in which the seeds of the future have are planted. It works out that if an author has a group of 3,000 individuals who are willing to pay him $2 a month for content, after Paypal frees, he’ll gross over $60,000. And since a short story would run only $2, his model works if the author only grinds out 5-7000 words a month. (Realistically he’d need a pool of 10,000 individuals, and be turning out 2-3 stories in different storylines to hit his quota of sales.) Each new story would help spur the sales of older stories, and as new readers come in, they’ll buy to get caught up. The community will be entertained, and the author will make a living wage.

Cory being Cory

One other thing that Cory does probably better than anyone else on the scene is promote himself being a celebrity. In this day and age of folks being famous for simply being famous, and being famous simply because they say they’re famous, Cory is a rockstar. His tireless self promotion has him showing up in all sorts of odd places. In the middle of October he garnered lots media attention when he weighed in on the controversy over Ralph Lauren photoshopping the body of a model to be so thin it made Kate Moss look like a right tackle in the NFL. Heck, the first mention I ever heard about him was his public statement claiming that he didn’t know if he was related to E. L. Doctorow or not. Pure brilliance at turning a coincidence into a reason to shine someone else’s spotlight on himself.

Nothing succeeds like success. This goes more deeply than just in manufacturing celebrity. One of the criticisms others have offered of Cory is that he’s not taking into account that he’s established, and that Joe Average trying to do something with his first novel would never get a Publisher’s Weekly gig to publicize it. Heck, with a self-published novel, PW wouldn’t give the author the time of day, much less pay him to promote it in their pages for a year.

But believing in the myth of “establishment” is not a good thing in this digital age. If an author doesn’t have a presence online, if his work isn’t available from multiple online retailers, he flat doesn’t exist. More importantly, the image any author projects on the net will determine how readers react. If a writer believes in himself and his work, and promotes himself and his work through sampling, he can be successful. If she backs up her initial successes with more work, and this means writing better stories and promoting them, the work itself will draw more readers in.

It’s critical to remember what a writer’s primary task is: to entertain. As much as the literary elite would love to deny it, writers and storytellers are entertainers. The digital age allows us to entertain a highly diverse audience because they can find us whenever they want from anywhere in the world. And they will keep seeking us out as long as we fulfill our part of the bargain and entertain them. This means turning out good stories and making sure our focus is on creating good stories.

Divert your energies into creating a cult of personality, and you’ll have definitely have a modicum of success. But those cults burn out fast in this digital age. When the only arrow in your quiver is your celebrity, you find that the audience is rather fickle—unless you do something scandalous to keep the frenzy going, you fade away.

But write good stories that entertain folks, and you’ll be around forever. And people will actually pay you for your labors.

Print on Demand

Cory has a great thing going with his print on demand set-up. Lulu.com is a fine company which turns out very good work. Consumers go to them, buy the book, they print and ship it, and when enough money has accrued in Cory’s account, he gets a check. It’s a perfect way to get physical copies to customers who want the book without his having to carry any inventory.

Wildest Dreams I’ve just begun experimenting with POD myself in a very small way. The image at the right links to a store at Blurb.com. Blurb has its own proprietary software that lets you print up small books, including low cost, black and white books designed to be text-heavy. As an experiment, I put one of my short stories, Wildest Dreams, into their format and filled it out with an essay about how I wrote the story. Given their pricing and discount structure, I can print up books a dozen at a time and take them to conventions. Given sales at conventions, a dozen is what I can expect to sell. They’re a specialty item. The softback will sell for $10 and I’ll sign it. (The story is really good and worth the money.)

But, if you want a copy and aren’t sure you’ll see me at a convention, you can go ahead and hit the link and buy one for yourself. Blurb.com will print it, ship it to you, and I’ll eventually get a check. While the pricing on small print runs is not low enough yet for POD to be a solution for authors to distribute their books to bookstores (since you’d need a retail price to cost ratio of at least 3-to-1, with freight paid by the store, to make any money), but the prices will continue to fall as the ability to create books proliferates. This is a trend to watch in the future.

Collectible Editions

The idea of doing a short-run, high-end, boutique edition of his book is brilliant. When he sells all 250, he will have earned $46, 250. That’s on an investment of $16, 250, which is roughly a 3-to-1 ratio. Nice return on investment, even if it has to be spread out over a number of years. It will be fascinating to learn how long it does take to sell all of those books.

My approach to collectible editions would slightly different. It strikes me that after a book has sold a sufficient amount, say 50,000 units in mass market paperback, there’s likely a sufficient audience of fans and book collectors to support a run of 1,000 nicely-bound keepsake-edition books for $100 each, signed and numbered, with illustrations. Using Cory’s production cost of $65 a book (leaving out the flashdrives, putting illustrations in, and including a coupon code for my website that would allow purchasers of the book to download the electronic version free), I’d clear $40K on an investment of $65K.

Two things would change that picture. The first is tying into a distributor who knows the collectible market. I might be able to move a considerably larger number of units. Second, because of the larger print run, it might be conceivable to offshore the printing, driving the price per unit down. While the distributor would want (and deserve) a cut, it would speed the sale of the inventory, bringing the ROI more quickly, rather than stretching it out. This would make me more profitable faster, which means the return is actually more valuable (money now being more valuable than money someday.)

All-in-all Cory seems to have his business plan in place. Granted, having the $10,000 for a story plunked on him is kind of a windfall, but even absent that, his Publisher’s Weekly money would more than cover the startup costs for his experiment. Without a doubt, if his goal is simply to make money, he’s going to succeed.

Of course, this business plan is something that will work for him, but it’s not a viable business model. A business model is something that anyone could use as a means to succeed. And in these days of the digital revolution, there are business models that work, and can work for everyone. And there’s a lot more that can be done with new media to effectively and efficiently to get you message out, and to profit from your projects. And that’s the topic for tomorrow.

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12 Responses to “What is Cory Doing Right?”

  1. “For some reason folks think it’s okay to say to a creator of intellectual property that the product of our labors should be free; yet they never convincingly press that argument at a farmer’s market.”

    This is because intellectual property is not legitimate property, whereas a farmer’s produce is. You might check out the following:

    Stephan Kinsella, “The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide,” Mises Daily (Sept. 4, 2009)

    Stephan Kinsella, Against Intellectual Property, Mises Institute (2008)

    Roderick Long, “The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights,” Formulations Vol. 3, No. 1 (Autumn 1995).

    Michelle Boldrin and David K. Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly, Cambridge University Press (2008).

  2. While reviewing the articles cited in 1, have a look at Cleveland’s responses to Cole’s “Would the Absence of Copyright Laws Significantly Affect the Quality and Quantity of Literary Output?” in The Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol 4 No. 1, Spring 2001.
    I took from it that rather than the value of a book being in its manufacture, the value is in the scarcity of the ideas within, and the training and skill invested by the author.

  3. Geoffrey Allan Plauché Says:

    “This is because intellectual property is not legitimate property, whereas a farmer’s produce is.”

    In that case, here’s some paper and some ink, if I’m feeling generous I’ll give you a random assortment of 800,000 letters, and you give me $8 for the property you are purchasing.

    Oh, so it *is* the content you are purchasing, not just the paper and ink. Silly me.

  4. “For some reason folks think it’s okay to say to a creator of intellectual property that the product of our labors should be free; yet they never convincingly press that argument at a farmer’s market. This is perhaps because more farmers carry shotguns than do writers.”

    Mike, you’re comparing apples to e-books again.

    An e-book is not similar to produce. Its value was produced once, needs never be produced again, and has no associated continuing cost. How, then, may we morally justify charging the public a continuing cost for access after the writer’s work has once been fairly paid?

    Copyright is for the nonce a necessary evil — a superior model has yet to emerge — but never forget that it is an evil, as it picks the pocket of the reader and constrains the writer.

  5. “Copyright is for the nonce a necessary evil — a superior model has yet to emerge — but never forget that it is an evil, as it picks the pocket of the reader and constrains the writer.”

    Um, excuse me? Would you like to explain how copyright constrains writers please?

    Last I checked, it allowed a writer freedom to distribute their work however they pleased, from giving it away for free to trying to earn money off it. So, I’m quite curious about the constraint here.

  6. #6 — The rights given by copyright are exclusive. So if (for example) Mike writes something and protects it with copyright, he is not unduly constrained regarding it, but any of his readers who might be writers in their own right are.

    Copyright constrains other writers, by granting the copyright holder the power (and in some ways giving him the responsibility) to stop others from creating derivative works. It thus essentially constrains all writers, in limiting their freedom to read, collaborate, and teach without the threat of litigation.

    Because it creates a monopoly over characters, situations, ideas, even potentially entire sub-genres, copyright can be very damaging to the overall creativity of society.

  7. I have yet to hear or see a convincing case made where copyright of a literary work has in any way hindered or damaged the “overall creativity of society.” I have yet to see a case where a “sub-genre” of fiction has been limited by threat of litigation. The whole idea of prior-restraint is already illegal, and if it can be showed to be true, then the restraints would be removed.

    As for the previous point about writers not having ongoing costs associated with their work, this is false. If I am making the work available via a website, I have the cost of maintaining that website. Moreover, I may have gone into debt to produce that work, therefore debt service would be a continuing cost of that work. On top of that, if my story is one in a continuing series, my work on that property never ends, and another writer usurping my story materially and manifestly hurts my ability to work with a property I’ve created.

    Copyrights do not stifle or constrain creativity. They stifle, constrain and frustrate the lazy who would make money off the ideas of others.

  8. Thanks for responding, Mike.

    There’s a lot going on here and I’m afraid I’m going to have to write a bit of a novel to answer all of it, so please bear with me.

    First, let’s conside the middle portion, since it relates to my original comment and is distinct from the preceding and succeding discussion. I’ll come back to that in a bit.

    “As for the previous point about writers not having ongoing costs associated with their work, this is false. If I am making the work available via a website, I have the cost of maintaining that website. Moreover, I may have gone into debt to produce that work, therefore debt service would be a continuing cost of that work.”

    Let’s make sure the goalposts are firmly set here so that neither of us can be accused of moving them. I was talking about per-unit costs of production. That would be any cost that needs to be paid for each unit sold. For a dead-tree book already written, these are the labor, material, etc. costs of actually printing the book. For an e-book already written, this is measured only in clock-cycles required for a copy process — conceptually valulable, but functionally trivial.

    Now, to the costs you mentioned: Maintaining a website is a cost of distribution and (if you’re doing it right) promotion, but not of production.

    Debt happens, but once a debt is paid it is not a continuing cost. It is not a per-unit production cost, but rather a fixed (if perhaps unpredictable) overhead expense.

    Now, these are costs that must be paid by someone, but they don’t need to be paid on a per-unit basis, because they aren’t per-unit costs. Considering them helps determine rather what we would consider “fairly paid.”

    “The whole idea of prior-restraint is already illegal, and if it can be showed to be true, then the restraints would be removed.”

    Prior restraint may lie outside the power of the US government as defined in its constitution, but the threat of litigation after the fact does not constitute prior restraint. As such, that argument is a red herring.

    “I have yet to hear or see a convincing case made where copyright of a literary work has in any way hindered or damaged the “overall creativity of society.” ”

    Since there are no cases for comparison, the subject is perhaps entirely a matter of opinion, with no opinion being demonstrably wrong.

    Consider, though, that no few writers take inspiration from other writers and that copyright has at times been used by persons other than the original writer to make a work unavailable in certain markets or even entirely.

    “I have yet to see a case where a “sub-genre” of fiction has been limited by threat of litigation.”

    This is an argument from ignorance — a logical fallacy. The fact that you have not seen something does not demonstrate a lack of its existence.

    Any work too similar to an existing work faces a threat of litigation, and when that work is a pioneering one, creators must take great and otherwise unnecessary pains to distance their new work from it. The greater injustice is that even these efforts may not be sufficient, as the copyright holder may elect to sue anyway.

    And then there’s fan-fiction. To argue that the makers of fan-fiction are not creative people and even occasionally brilliant writers is to admit that you don’t read fan-fiction, and yet the genre is composed almost entirely of unauthorised derivative works. It doesn’t stop people from writing them, but perhaps it should, as they can be fined for their efforts in some jurisdictions.

    “On top of that, if my story is one in a continuing series, my work on that property never ends,”

    It must logically end at some point as you are not immortal. Some writers even terminate continuing series after they have reached a planned conclusion. I am aware of several properties of authors both living and dead that are at present lying fallow and that those authors (especially the dead ones) have no further plans for, and yet which are still agressively protected by copyright.

    “and another writer usurping my story materially and manifestly hurts my ability to work with a property I’ve created.”

    Perhaps, but you would have the same freedom to compete using characters and situations imagined by others. Further, you still have an air of authenticity which gives you a competitive edge. Meanwhile, while the assertion may seem sensible on the surface, it’s actually impossible to determine if such competition would actually damage your efforts.

    If I can write a better Star Wars than George Lucas, why don’t I have a right to profit from it, as I would if I made a better mousetrap based on an existing design?

  9. If I follow your arguments, I am left with certain conclusions:

    1) My costs cannot be broken down into “per unit expenses” because you conclude they should not be. Last I checked, I can account for my expenses in any manner I wish, distributing them as I need.

    2) Fair compensation is going to be a sticky point that we will never agree upon. I indicate that I have research and development costs that must be accounted for and you’ll dismiss them likely as being unreasonable. The important point, however, is differentiating what I could be earning from a story, what I should be earning, and what I will be earning. Realistically, the value of a story is what people will pay for it, and the current system for determining that value is based on copyright and my control of my creative output.

    3) While you choose to dismiss my challenge of your statement that copyright inhibits creativity because I note that I know of no cases of no cases where this has happened, you refuse to point to a single case that supports your contention. You are the one who is making the extraordinary claim here, you need to provide cases to support it.

    4) Your argument “If I can write a better Star Wars than George Lucas, why don’t I have a right to profit from it…” falls flat. It is the same argument that could be used to justify stealing a wallet because it would look better in your pocket than in that of the original owner. It’s nonsense, and simply predicated on the idea that somehow Intellectual Property does not exist. But, because copyright and patent are part of the Constitution, they do exist and define Intellectual Property.

    5) The fan-fiction argument is a non-starter. Fair-use exceptions to copyright law are clear. If people are doing the work for their own edification, in the process of learning to write, and they do not sell the work, they’re covered. Likewise educational uses and reproductions of work are covered.

    And if people step outside those bound and jeopardize the rights of the originating authors, they should be dealt with in whatever manner is necessary to protect the originating author’s rights.

    6) The argument that works and an authors interest in them must terminate at some point isn’t wrong, but it’s an argument on the limits on copyright, not an argument for the abolition of same. I agree. Having copyright in force forever is silly. It’s just a question of how long we want to allow it to remain in force.

    It’s important to remember that when patents and copyrights were created, we were in a pre-industrial age. Creators didn’t have a big R&D debt load and were craftsmen. Now that intellectual property is being dealt with on an industrial scale, the laws may need to be modified.

    Ultimately, however, unless you can support your contention of inhibition of creativity and culture by cases, the discussion can really go no further. You argue from an assumption that is unproved. Until someone sues a copyright holder or a patent holder over restraint of creativity and wins, this argument remains an interesting thought experiment, but little more.

  10. 1) No, they are not per-unit costs because they are not dependent on the number of units produced. You went into the same amount of debt and invested the same quantity of intellectual, temporal, and physical resources in creating a work whether you sell ten copies or ten thousand or ten million.

    2) I think you’d be surprised what costs I’d be willing to allow you in consideration of fair compensation. I’ve never argued that writers should not be appropriately and handsomely compensated for their work, only that the current system does that in an increasingly unfair and unrealistic way.

    You’ll note that you are increasingly competing with free content. In all seriousness, good luck with that.

    3) Actually, we’re both making claims (mine that copyright does some harm is no more extraordinary than yours that copyright does no harm) which are extremely difficult to quantify. It’s a fair point (which you now make but didn’t before) that I made an unjustified assumption, but you still made an argument from ignorance. We both lose. Love all.

    4) Again, you confuse physical property with intellectual property and morality with law.

    Stealing a wallet deprives its owner of its use. No such deprivation can happen here, as George Lucas remains free to write a better Star Wars than me.

    If I can write a better Star Wars than George Lucas, then I am a better writer than he is, a better entertainer, a better creator, and by all rights I should be properly rewarded for that. Copyright constrains me from this.

    Just because something is enshrined in the US Constitution does not make it right.

    5) Only in fair-use jurisdictions, and only as long as fair use continues to hold. Fair Use is an exception to copyright that recognizes a known harm that copyright does and attempts to mitigate it, but it is far from universal, reliable, or consistent.

    6) The question is then at which point those interests should terminate and why. It quickly becomes clear to me that any value we could assign would be wholly arbitrary. The only reason we can say why they should not terminate immediately is because the writer would not then be fairly compensated for his work, but even that can be a hard line to find.

    Consider the following:
    If a major pharmaceutical company sinks millions into creating a pill that will save the world from a debilitating disease, they can patent it and then they have five years of monopolistic price-gouging to recoup their expenses on the backs of the desperately ill.

    If a writer creates a novel at the expense of little or nothing more than his own labor, he can copyright it and then have the entire remainder of his life (plus, what, sixty years?) to use the same sort of monopolistic behavior to recoup his costs against the budgets of his readers.

    Now, it seems to me that we allow far too much time under copyright as-is, and I’d be much happier if copyrights were limited to the same five years as patents.

    “Ultimately, however, unless you can support your contention of inhibition of creativity and culture by cases, the discussion can really go no further. You argue from an assumption that is unproved. ”

    In truth a single case would suffice, and I mentioned a few, but since we are dealing with such subjective terms as “creativity” and “culture,” what seems obvious to me might in fact be an impossible sell to you.

    As it is, I think we’ve both spent too much uncompensated time on this, and I’d rather have you working than debating the morality of IP with me. I guess you can even say you won if you like.

    Cheers.

  11. I just got my Amazon Kindle from amazon.com and all I want to say is goodbye to paper but I think the iPad will be kill the Kindle from Amazon

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    […] some time Desconstructing Cory Doctorow’s “Experiment” and in all fairness also examines What is Cory Doing Right? Both posts are extremely interesting […]