Thursday, 14 February 2019
"An appeal to readers and librarians..."
As Co-Chair of the Book Division of the National Writers Union, I'm quoted today in Publishers Weekly in an article about "Controlled Digital Lending" (CDL), the flawed legal theory being used by the Internet Archive and its library "partners" as their jusitification for unauthorized, unpaid scanning and distribution on the Internet of hundreds of thousand of books -- including multiple editions of my Practical Nomad books.
Here's more information about what's happening and why it matters to writers, readers, and librarians:
- NWU Denounces Controlled Digital Lending
- Controlled Digital Lending (CDL): An appeal to readers and librarians from the victims of CDL
- FAQ on Controlled Digital Lending
- Publishers Weekly: Publisher, Author Groups Protest Library Book Scanning Program (by Andrew Albanese, 14 February 2019)
If you are a reader or fan of my books, or of any books, please support writers in this campaign against CDL. As the Appeal from the victoms of CDL says, "When writers can't make a living, they can't afford to keep writing, and readers lose too."
This isn't a new issue for me or for the NWU. I said this about digital libraries two years ago when I was elected to represent writers on the Board of Directors of IFRRO (one of the other signers of today's Appeal from the victoms of CDL):
Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 14 February 2019, 13:46 ( 1:46 PM) | TrackBack (0)
I'm a vocal advocate for funding for digital libraries: funding for the librarians, funding for the people who would build and manage the server farms, and, yes, funding to acquire the digital contents of those libraries. I don't think that a digital library should be created by confiscating the fruits of writers' labors any more than it should be built by conscripting the labor of computer programmers or librarians or bricklayers or any other workers.
Librarians, like teachers, do work that serves the public interest. We don't pay librarians or teachers as much as we should, but we don't expect them to work for free. Why should we expect writers to fill a digital library with their work for free? Opposing expropriation and unpaid forced labor is, I think, a moderate position that shouldn't be controversial.
Unfortunately, librarians and public interest advocates are often unaware of freelance writers' new and entrepreneurial business models -- most of which don't show up in library catalogs, which have failed to keep pace with crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer indexing and distribution systems -- or the ways that writers' livelihoods would be affected by well-meaning but unfunded digital library schemes.