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February 11, 2008
It's More Complicated, And More Interesting
Neil Gaiman has been blogging online for seven years now. If you go to that link you'll find a poll asking you to vote for which of Mr. Gaiman's books is to be put online for free for a month to celebrate the event.
Gaiman's blog entry today also quotes from a New York Times story on this contest. In that Times piece Gaiman admits that he didn't buy every book he read growing up. He borrowed them from friends, from libraries, found them, and so on. Eventually he grew up into a normal book-buying adult.
The point, he says, is not just that, it's that
...there's not and there has never been a simple one-to-one relationship between the books you read and way you find authors and the books you buy. It's more complicated than that, and more interesting. It's about the way that it's assumed that books have a pass-along rate, that a book will be read by more than one person. If the people who read the book like it, they might buy their own copy, or, more likely, just put the author in that place in their heads of Authors I Like. And that's a good place for an author to be.
Gaiman has previously confronted questions of people free-trading his stuff
and he's consistently sided with the fans. So it's not surprising that he'd point out the truth that our relationship to authorial work, and by extension copyrighted work, is complicated. Simply throwing around dramatic labels like 'piracy' isn't just wrong - it completely misses the point.
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