At Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow notes that the Science fiction Writers of America, whose leaders have long taken an anti-piracy stance on behalf of its members, is misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to have content removed from Scribd (the text version of Flickr). The list of “offending” works appears to have resulted from a blanket search of “Asimov” and “Silverberg”.
This implies that Robert Silverberg and the Asimov estate have asked SFWA to police their copyrights for them, but it’s important to note that many of the other authors whose work was listed in the August 17 email did not nominate SFWA to represent them. Indeed, I have told Vice President Burt on multiple occasions that he may not represent me as a rightsholder in negotiations with Amazon, and other electronic publishing venues.
More importantly, many of the works that were listed in the takedown were written by the people who’d posted them to Scribd — these people have been maligned and harmed by SFWA, who have accused them of being copyright violators and have caused their material to be taken offline. These people made the mistake of talking about and promoting science fiction — by compiling a bibliography of good works to turn kids onto science fiction, by writing critical or personal essays that quoted science fiction novels, or by discussing science fiction. SFWA — whose business is to promote science fiction reading — has turned readers into collateral damage in a campaign to make Scribd change its upload procedures.
Filed under: Books