26 June 2006

Exposure book

I recently came across a fascinating book titled Exposure. It's all about intellectual property issues, and you can download the PDF version for free. I can't recommend it strongly enough, for anyone who is interested in thinking about the role of ideas in the digital age.

It's about creativity, compensation, video games, music, writing, morality and the electronic frontier. John Perry Barlow, former songwriter for the Greatful Dead and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (!) is the latest addition to my list of favorite people. His article about "Selling Wine Without Bottles" is brilliant & tremendously thoughtprovoking.

Sadly, the book is sold out. However, as I said, you can download the PDF. You could then upload it to Lulu.com and (for about $8) print a hardcopy for yourself.

Question: What if I uploaded the PDF to Lulu and made hardcopies available for sale to the public? Would it be morally acceptable for me to make a profit on the sale? Would I be obliged to share those profits with the authors who contributed to the book? What if I had a website that said "Click here to get it for free from the original source... or click here to buy a hardcopy from me..."?

Any thoughts?


Dan said...

UPDATE: I sent an email to Mr. Barlow, asking for his thoughts on the concept of me publishing the book via Lulu.

His reply (a mere 4 hours after I sent my note): "Sounds like a great idea to me. And I appreciate your interest very much."

Amazing - I'm only 4 hours away from conversing with a guy who wrote lyrics for the Greatful Dead (on the topic of intellectual property rights in the digital era!). Want to see a list of some of the songs he wrote lyrics for?

Dan said...

Exposure is now available for purchase at www.lulu.com/RoguePress (it took less than an hour to get it uploaded, the cover set up, etc).

I rounded up the price to an even $8, so I end up making about 68 cents on each sale (if any).


Gabe said...

Well, I'm not buying then if your making all the dough. I'll just read on my computer or print it out and bind myself:)

Really, I want it NOW. So I'm not waiting for LuLu to get it to me. And I'm also pretty cheap.


Dan said...

I agree - "now & free" is better than "next week & $8"

So a killer app for some day in the future is real-time, desktop printing of bound books... Order/download the text from Amazon (or Lulu or Dan Ward Inc), and print out your very own paperback, from the comfort of your own home.

Anyone working on that, I wonder?