Monday, December 19, 2011

A Present For You

Ok, so I decided to get you a gift after all. (One you don't have to pay for)

Just me and my guitar and some holiday cheer...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Krampus Christmas

Okely dokely boys and girls. It’s Christmas time and I’m getting ready to get back into the recording studio to finish this album (there’s nothing better than a warm recording studio when it’s cold outside.) But before you think I didn’t get you anything for Christmas, let me stop you with a soft shushing sound and a frowning shake of my head.

I wouldn’t forget you, no I wouldn’t. See how thoughtful I am? How like the image of a gentleman scholar you have in your head. (Unless the words ‘gentleman scholar’ inexplicably make you think of Hannibal Lecter.)

Anyhow, now that you think I’m so magnanimous, allow me to let a little air out.
I only got you something if you own a Kindle.
And you have to pay .99 cents.
But hear me out first, you WANT to spend this .99 cents. Really, I’m doing you a favor by telling you to spend this near buck.
Here’s what I want you to do: buy the Shock Totem HolidayTales of the Macabre and Twisted 2011
Simple, right?
Why should you buy it? Two great reasons and then a bunch of other good reasons.
Reason 1: you get to read “A Krampus Christmas” by none other than Illiterati member Ryan Bridger (aka Battle Bunny)
Reason 2: you get to read “Heartless” by Illiterati member Merceded M. Yardley
That’s right, TWO members of my infamous estimable writer’s group are featured in this issue.
So what are you waiting for, an invitation? Get off your lazy duff and have an awesome book filled with holiday havoc beamed directly to your Kindle.

Do it now or the Krampus will get you...

Friday, December 9, 2011

OK, who put Copyright in my Freedom?

I read an interesting post about DRM and eBooks the other day (for the life of me I can’t find that link!) and one of the things that was talked about was the need for copyright control.

Control is the trick, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve slaved for months and/or years over your songs, short stories, novels, art, and by golly you don’t want someone turning around and mass producing it without giving you a fair cut.

But we live in the digital age. Information wants to be free. The original might be a canvas, or on 2” analog tape, or in a handwritten draft in your drawer, but once you digitize it and put it out there, you can’t maintain control. (and I assume you are putting it out there, i.e. on the interwebz, because if you aren’t you aren’t reaching your potential market. Unless your market is the Amish.)

So, let me say that again.

Once it goes into the world, you have no real control. Not that it’s always right, or fair, or whatever epithet you give it. But it’s true: once you let it out into the world you lose control. (That doesn’t stop people from having the illusion of control and suing Napster into oblivion)

You can’t stop piracy, you can only try to mitigate it.

So do we artists and content providers throw our hands up in despair? Maybe we buckle down and make DRM and copyright laws even more draconian. Or do we turn it all loose like the bands Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, who release their albums on a “pay whatever you like” zero-copy-protected creative commons open license?

Let’s go back to the problem of control. One thing to realize is that control is the old-model method for dealing with copy protection.

If the strong arm of the law can’t reign the copy-right violators in, codify the law into computer code (DRM) and force them to obey. The problem in the digital age is that any form of copyright control is like a game of whack-a-mole. DRM? A joke. Hordes of l33t h4x0rs are hunched over keyboards cracking content providers’ DRM as a morning exercise before their real hacks.

Copyright control, as used by the old guard, also has the negative effect of fomenting an antipathy between customer and content provider—comparable to the effect that censorship has on nations (i.e. in the same way that censorship creates more fervent curiosity and subversion, copyright control, such as DRM, encourages more circumnavigation and antagonism)

But there is a new model that seems to work.

It’s been called the iTunes model: Make the legitimate avenue of acquiring the product so easy, simple, so ubiquitous and NORMAL, that piracy is relegated to the outer fringes.

Notice that this model doesn’t try to stop people from copying the content; it just makes it easier and more convenient to buy it legitimately.

One sad truth is that piracy flourishes where legitimate copies are unavailable.

A book that comes out in the US may not come out in Australia for months. An album available on iTunes USA might not be available in Japan.

And if there’s something true about consumers of today, they hate waiting. And sadly there are some antiquated and despotic copyright/licensing laws to thank for that service gap.

Another part of the new model is value-added content, content (special packaging, author extras, personalized content, etc, etc) that can’t be replicated by privateers (pirates) easily. Such content de-legitimizing illegal content providers.

So in the new model, reliable and value-added content delivery mitigates piracy more effectively than methods of copy control. If information really wants to be free, well let's not try to hold back the tidal wave, but instead channel the energy of its inertia to sell content.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crossed Genres Issue #36

Guess what?

My short story “The Last Recall” is being published in the final issue of Crossed Genres Magazine. (Issue #36)

This is a huge honor and I share the issue with such talented authors as:

     Megan Arkenberg
     Sarah A. Drew
     Lara Ek
     Helen Estrada
     Zachary Jernigan
     Cat Rambo
     Nisi Shawl
     Jo Thomas
     Maria Stanislav

Crossed Genres Magazine is a small publisher of speculative fiction and every issue has a new genre/theme. Not only that, but their cover art ALWAYS rocks. (see?)

art by Brittany Jackson
And did I mention that you don’t have to wait for the Kindle edition, you can go and read it online right now for free!

So what are you waiting for? Go read it already!