Cory Doctorow writes in excrutiating detail at Boing Boing about copyright fights and the draconian measures being taken in the name of copyright. He's an advocate for Creative Commons and released all his books for free. That strategy hasn't hurt his sales, in fact all indication is that it helped him.
I have trouble wading through all the technical and legal analysis he presents and wanted someone to boil the copyright discussion down to specific examples. Along comes Teresa Nielsen-Hayden with a fantastic explanation.
She's an editor for TOR and someone you'd think would strongly defend copyrights, but she shows how they hurt sales, shove great books into obscurity, and tie up reissue of old works in a potential litigation nightmare.
Why haven't a bunch of compendiums of the greatest short stories of the 20th Century been compiled? Because rights are too hard to get.
The heirs would range from intransigent to unfindable; and those you could find would have to have the entirety of standard publishing practices explained to them, after which they'd consult their cousin the real-estate lawyer, who would give them dreadful advice. Best not to even try. Too bad, but it's best not to even try.
What a shame. But, what's the answer? In her addendum she writes about the ability to Print-On-Demand and how that can make any work accessible and micro-royalties to be paid to whomever has the rights. But, looking at it from a publisher, her main focus is how to get those books in front of readers - - how do they know the book exists if it isn't on the shelves or in the extinct wire racks at grocery and drug stores?
It's here. Online. My blog has a list of what I'm reading and what I've read and how I liked it. I'll try to link works as much as possible. Thousands of other people are doing the same thing. We don't need to spin that squeaky rack to find something to read, although if someone would like to program an app for my book lists that would simulate that, I wouldn't turn it down.
All this oppressive copyrighting is going to succeed at in the long run is removing publishers and distributors from the equation . . . we aren't going to want to deal with them when we know they're going to be hovering over a property for a hundred years.
- rick the opportunist