Copyright and disruptive technology

What if you could give a book to everyone on earth? Get an ebook and read it on any device, in any format, forever? Give an ebook to your library, for them to share? Own DRM-free ebooks, legally? Read free ebooks, and know their creators had been fairly paid?  –From About, unglue.it

Copyright is a round hole.  Paper publications are nice, round pegs.  Electronic items are square pegs.  Hard copies can be passed around, shared from person to person across time and space.  A copyright holder’s distribution rights are curtailed by the physical transfer of the copyrighted item (by purchase or gift) to another.

Electronic items can be similarly shared. Maybe.  Because they are square pegs, a new way to control distribution was needed, so a square hole called “licensing” was carved into the copyright landscape.  This pretty much upsets the shaky balance between the public right to knowledge and a creator’s right to profit from the work.

Enter the crowdfunding concept, which takes advantage of the ubiquitousness of the Interwebs and the ability to use that to more easily raise money for relatively small scale projects.  Kickstarter is a fairly well known example of a crowdfunding conduit.  And now comes Eric Hellman, using the crowdfunding idea to harmonize the ideals of copyright and licensing, to make that square peg fit in the round hole.

Welcome to unglue.it.  I love it.  Where else can you find the possibility of getting your favorite book released into the electronic domain?  I’m hoping when this catches on, I’ll see In the Night Kitchen moved into an active campaign by the time my new grandson is ready to read!

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