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Re: [d@DCC] Copyright, eBooks & Public Domain Sources

From: Ron Koster <ron _-at-_>
To: "General Copyright Discussions (questions, organizing, etc)" <discuss (at)>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2016 15:10:00 -0400
References: <> <> <> <> <> <>

On 2016-10-06 7:07 AM, Russell McOrmond wrote:
>    It is hard for you to gauge interest from potential customers in your
> product if they first have to be customers of someone else.  These aren't
> simply retailers where it really doesn't matter where people purchase from,
> but part of a locked-down ecosystem which people have to buy into.  If they
> don't like the ecosystem (as I said, there is nothing any author/creator on
> the planet can do to convince me to be an Apple customer), then that makes
> your offerings effectively unavailable to them.

Your comments on that subject, along with similar comments from others 
on that epbublising forum, have totally changed the way that I've been 
thinking about my books. Here I've been thinking, all along, that I've 
been protecting my interests -- and in some ways I suppose I have, but 
in the bigger scheme of things I can see now that I'm hindering myself 
even more.

All along I've been thinking that it was in my favour simply because DRM 
makes it so that people can't easily check out your source code (and 
then take it for themselves) -- but even while thinking that I was also 
aware that it's apparently fairly easy to crack open a DRM'ed book 
anyway. I've never bothered to figure out how myself, but my 
understanding is that it takes little more than a free plugin for 
Calibre (also free), and no doubt whatever other ways.

And that's been such a new, different way of thinking for me now -- to 
basically accept the fact that that's going to happen, and in a way just 
be okay with it. Like with selling a car, it's just fine for buyers of 
one to "pop open the hood" and take a peek inside, but only mechanics 
and avid hobbyists who have an idea what their doing should be poking 
around in there and making changes -- and it's still another thing 
entirely for them to just give the car a new paint job and slap one's 
own manufacturer's label on it.

>    There are authors who set up their own websites, use paypal and its
> competitors for collecting money, and offer people DRM-free PDF files.
> That may be an option open to you, and may be an option that would reduce
> barriers to people purchasing from you.

My past sales for my previous books have been so few, I eventually gave 
up on even charging for any of them -- and even "free," downloads are 
surprisingly limited. I suppose that's simply because of the 
more-obscure subject of my books thus far, they're not the latest 
best-selling mystery or horror or romance or anything, and often there 
are piles of alternative free versions out there for competition, too 
(although most of those are crap).

So at this point I don't foresee myself charging for anything that I do, 
but in this light I can certainly see myself putting a whole new section 
on my main website ( for the epublishing stuff I've done, and 
make my books available for download by anyone directly through there.

It's just such a totally different way of thinking for me! It's the 
closing of one, smaller world, and the opening up of a whole new, MUCH 
bigger world. ;)

> Coles notes version:

You've certainly convinced me! ;)

>> "This entire publication copyright © Ron Koster, 2016. No part of this
>> document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any
>> form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise)
>> without the prior written permission of the author and publisher. Cover
>> art and the portrait of Shakespeare are original artwork by Ron Koster.
>> Copyright © Ron Koster, 2016."
>    Pretty boilerplate, although you may want to think about the "author and
> publisher" part.  If you are going through a publisher then it will be
> their lawyers and notices that end up on your work.  If you come to the
> conclusion that you don't need a publisher, then you don't need to mention
> one.

Well, in my case I am the publisher -- apart from the text (public 
domain or otherwise), I do everything else, i.e. the design and all the 
coding, the graphics, all the "paperwork" for getting the ISBN and CIP, 
etc.  Even when I was the author of one book, I still published under 
"Psymon." I often put that as a copyright notice on things, actually -- 
"Copyright © Ron Koster/Psymon, 2016" -- because they're basically one 
and the same thing.

I should incorporate my company name -- then I could genuinely say that 
a "corporation is a person." ;)

>    Many have suggested that it is not the job of the author to educate
> people on copyright as part of their notice.  This is a clarification that
> for the aspects of the work that is covered by copyright that they need to
> communicate with the copyright holder to get permission.   What it doesn't
> say is that the things which copyright doesn't cover doesn't need
> permission, regardless of what your notice says -- but that isn't your job
> to include that in the notice.

Good point. A suggestion was made on that other forum that "Copyright © 
Ron Koster/Psymon, 2016" should be plenty for a copyright notice in my 
book. Somehow that just didn't seem like "enough," that there should be 
something more than that, but I'm starting to reconsider and am leaning 
toward "less is better" in that regard, too.

I'm still a bit undecided what exactly to put instead now, but I've 
backburnered it for the moment, I still have lots of other stuff to 
finish up in the book and I can mull over that one in my sleep. :)

>    See above -- it's up to you.   Some people suggest using clarifying words
> such as "for any activities regulated by copyright, written permission from
> the copyright holder is required" to clarify both that you aren't trying to
> lay claim to things you can't (without trying to get into details about
> what that is), and that any copyrightable contribution on your part is not
> dedicated to the public domain or openly licensed.

Oh, I like that one -- great, thanks! :)

Re Phantom of the Opera...

>    It's not "inexplicable" or "stupid" to not have renewed.

Oh, that was just the wording I'd seen used on those websites (at least 
one of them, anyway).

>    I've had people try to blame me for copyright not being BIGGER given I'm
> an author who has spent decades trying to suggest copyright be more nuanced
> and offer control to authors rather than intermediaries.
>    I strongly believe that copyright is to creativity like water is to
> humans: too little and you dehydrate and die, too much and you drown and
> die.
>    Unfortunately most intermediaries (collective societies, content delivery
> platform owners, etc) want to throw more water at drowning authors, and
> kill us off.

Well, thank you very much, from me, for your efforts! Not only for being 
so kind as to help me here, but rather generally-speaking, too, what 
you're working toward. :)

Thanks for your other reply, re that court case! I don't have much to 
add there, but your thoughts on that one were also very 
thought-provoking and much appreciated.

Cheers, Russell!

Ron :)

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