Tuesday, 31 May 2011
The findings of a six month independent review led by Professor Ian Hargreaves, published on 19/05/10, now seem set to become law. The recommendations of this report embraced changes to the existing UK’s intellectual property and copyright laws to include the digital marketplace.
It looks like we will be getting laws passed that makes it legal for us to copy music from one format to another for personal private use. So we may now finally be able to copy those old CD’s to our laptop, iPod, or other mp3 player without breaking the law! Ok, in general these laws were never enforced, and we did have a sort of unofficial ‘fair use’ system, although not in-law. But these changes will have more serious long-term effects.
Professor Hargreaves said the current laws are “obstructing innovation and economic growth in the UK”, a comment that was directed towards digital companies in particular. He also called for the government polices to “be more closely based on economic evidence”. He went on to say that the recommendations “are designed to enhance the economic potential of the UK's creative industries and to ensure that the emergence of high technology businesses, especially smaller businesses, in other sectors is not impeded by our IP laws."
So how will this affect e-book sales and usage?
Well, under the new laws it will be legal to copy copyrighted files legally downloaded to your computer to another compatible device for private purposes. So you can copy music or video from a PC or Laptop to a suitable player and, presumably, do the same thing with e-book files. I take this to mean that you can legally convert that EPUB file to any other format for use on, say a Kindle for example. I’m not a lawyer but I can’t see what the difference would be.
The recommendations go on to say that, digital copying of medical and other journals for computerised analysis in research, is also allowed. So what are the implications for this? What information would be covered and what type of access will be granted?
From first impressions this seems set to go much further than the American ‘fair use’ policy, and hopefully it will close some of the loop-holes present in that system.
Maybe our American friends will be downloading material form over here in future, instead of the other way around ;)
I recently come across a rather interesting thread on a reading forum about the perception of people through their avatars and screen names. I’ve never been a huge fane of made-up screen-names. I want to talk to Gerry, to Suzan , or Paul, not ‘MegaRoboDeathPanda2500.’ A personal choice maybe, but the thread quickly grew a bit darker with many people sighting instances of on-line stalkers where people used their real names.
Now it’s just as easy to follow ‘MegaRoboDeathPanda2500’ from forum to forum that it is ‘Paul Smith.’ Although I suppose it is more difficult to know that ‘MegaRoboDeathPanda2500’ on one forum is ‘FluffyBunnyLove1900’ on another, where ‘Paul Smith.’ is still ‘Paul Smith.’
This does raise some questions when trying to promote through blogs, posts, and social-networking sites etc though. There are some people who paint the internet as a very dark place, full of shadowy figures just waiting to stumble upon their next victim. I can only say I have been using the internet since its text-only days… see I told you I was old… and have been fortune enough to never come across any of these virtual stalkers. My name has been out-there for a very long time, a lot of it in what is now, rather dramatically, called the dark-net. Sounds scary and a bit cloak-and-dagger, doesn’t it! Until you find out that this just refers to the sites that a normal surface-web crawler, like Google, doesn’t pick up. And contrary to popular belief there are a lot of very innocuous things Google doesn’t pick up!
So why mention this? Well, is it just me or has the internet gone all paranoid lately? After years of more-or-less happy use people seem to be getting frightened by the net. It will steal their identity, corrupt their children, and generally allow the crazies into their life and get stalked. Well… that’s what the voices told me anyway.
Seriously though as budding/beginning, or even mid-list, authors we are putting ourselves out-there, not only that but we are screaming ‘look at me, look at me, and see what I can do.’ So do we really need a crazy-filter? I, like many others, have been busy joining various sites and groups, posting of forums, putting myself out-there on blogs and social-networking sites, with the sole aim of getting my name recognises as easily as possible. Are the Nay-Sayers right in their paranoia? Is there really the danger that they perceive there to be? Personally I don’t think the danger is as prevalent or damaging as some make it out to be. Sure if someone takes it into their head to dislike you they can put up some nasty posts, so what? They can give some bad reviews, but chances are they won’t be recognised reviewers in whatever venue they are posting, and if it is defamatory you can always have it removed. Worse things happen with bogus-reviews and forum posting etc, both pro and anti the author, all the time. People generally trust who and what they trust, and are naturally sceptical of anything too glowing or too derogatory. So is it really a big-deal?
I think we, as writers, are scraping along the edge of the virtual-web-world and the real-world, so yes maybe these hypothetical net-stalkers could find it easier to follow us than the average forum-poster, but again if it stays on the web, so what. If it doesn’t that’s a whole new and very different thing. I don’t think I’ll ever be famous enough to have my own actual stalker!
Monday, 23 May 2011
This was a bit of an experiment with me trying to get familiar with using future-tense, hey don’t laugh. I think I’ve almost pulled it of in parts!
It will be interesting to see what reviews it gets… if any.
You can have a look at it here if you like.
Or just check out the ‘Book Brouhaha’ site.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
‘Alice in wonderland and Through the looking-glass.’
So that makes two of my all-time favourite books and two others that I would consider to have mass-market appeal listed as ‘Highbrow.’ ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Alice,’ highbrow, seriously?
I’m not sure what this says for the general readership nowadays if people generally see these books as highbrow. Is it just that they are seen to be older now? Does old equal stuffy, equals highbrow?
I still have my ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ album by the ‘Sex Pistols,’ that’s old. Does that make it highbrow also… is it now the preserve of the intellectual, educated, scholarly, and cultured classes? I think not. Classic maybe, I could live with classic.
So conversely what is considered lowbrow, and who would happily admit to being a ‘lowbrow’ reader?
Seriously though am I the only one that finds this a rather sad state of affairs? Or am I just getting the wording of this wrong somehow? It seems pretty clear in meaning to me, but I’ve been wrong before. Am I missing something? Are these books considered to be of that strange and misunderstood ilk called ‘literature’ and is all literature considered to be highbrow?
Just another quick note to say this has just passed the auto-vetting on feedbooks now, so it may take a while to get into the premier catalogue.
I’m planning on doing the whole shebang with this short-story, and giving it an ISBN so it can filter through to all the stores.
It’s the first time I’ve done this with something les than 10K, and I’m still not sure of the reception for shorts out there… It is free though.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
My research got me thinking about the wider question of who looks at what web-sites, and why. What types of people look at what type of sites, and how much overlap is there? I was primarily looking at social networking sites, which more-or-sell included blogging sites, and various sites associated with writing. Although I suspect my findings could equally well be applied to any group of specialised web sites. I definitely think the same things hold true for the technical and programming sites that I also frequent (I’m a computer programmer to trade).
Anyway, it’s fair to say that a good percentage of people present on one writing-related forum will also appear on other similar forums and many of those people have writing-related blog pages. Obviously this type of behaviour isn’t just limited to writing related sites, but I’ll use writing as the example here. What doesn’t necessarily follow is that those people are involved in any of the more specific social-networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter. A fair percentage is, but the assumption seems to be made that the majority of people are. The results I’d got by trying to follow people through, and in some cases simply by asking don’t necessarily follow this assumption.
I think the Facebook user can be of a very different breed to the forum/blog user.
This is a short spin-off story from 'The Crazies' the first in my OtherWhare series of Novelette/Novellas. I’m hopefully going to use this over on smashwords as an additional free tease
r-story for the first Novelette in the series, which has already been put up over on smashwords.
Anyway, I’d be interested in any thought you may have on this story.
Monday, 9 May 2011
The group is going to be a bit more informal than the ‘official’ page, and it’s your chance to say what you think about my writing. I’ve set this up as a closed group, but only because it will really just be relevant to people who are interested in discussing my OtherWhare stories; or are interested in my wider writing, or any of the other associated things that go along with it; in general.
I’m always open to constructive criticism, good ideas, and readers’ views on any subject relating to my work.
If you want to be friends or join my OtherWhere writing group you can find me under Garry Grierson