Friday, 23 December 2011

scrooge + the ecology of publishing

there are a lot of unhappy people who have shared information about the books put out by these Germany-based publishers. Sling together a waft of Wikipedia pages, incoherently associated with one another, and voila: sell the cut & paste for top dollar, and flood the market with the words of writers who shared what they knew for free.


Each writer who responds to the ideals-- "information wants to be free" as Harold Rhenisch put it somewhere-- must understand that the market can be a predatory place. If poets and artists as individuals can claim "found art" under their own names, then why not have publishing houses that soak up the gifts of the web, and sell them for dollars?

Just as my blog brings together my original work 
with the work of others circulating online,
there is nothing criminal in businesses set up to feed
on the work of others distributed freely. 

But the intent is rather different: 
a widescale collaborative worldshaping activity,
versus money-making based in the questionable ethics 
of taking from all parties, and paying only the self.

Rather than feeding these moneymaking ventures, 
I suggest you support writers directly
+ the publishing houses that take pride 
in showcasing their work
including providing livelihood to the writers they support
in the real world, as well as online.


I agree that information wants to be free,
vision it along the lines of Chinese medical concepts
circulation of qi.

To illustrate the role of writers
i often use the image of the hunter, trapper, fisherfolk, loggers, miners, farmers:
writers and artists are primary producers.
Teachers, librarians, publishers, booksellers, critics,
are the secondary producers, whose livelihoods depend upon our productivity.

If you think that artists cannot help but produce, 
that taking their work as a natural fruit of the landscape
should be done without thought 
on human impact
 direct economic consequence 
for small children, elders, as well as
the craftspeople themselves
producing content
on your behalf

i encourage you to think the ecology through a bit further.

Fair trade for cultural producers:
before buying, ask yourself
who benefits?

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