My latest Guardian column, "Why free ebooks should be part of the plot for writers," talks about how free ebook releases benefit well-known and obscure writers alike.
Releasing a book as a free download isn't newsworthy in and of itself. It was, once upon a time, especially when that book had the backing of a major publisher. Publishers are often characterised as being conservative about the net, so it was surprising when it happened. These days, many writers have convinced their publishers to dip their toes in the water on this, and it's simply not notable when it happens again.
Which is not to say that free downloads have no role when it comes to promotion, publicity and marketing. Their main effect is to magnify any good feeling your book has generated, by making it simple for people who love the book to get it under the nose of their social circle.
BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits.
In 2014, Britain strode boldly into the late 20th century, finally legalising “private copying” — ripping CDs, taping LPs, recording TV shows, backing up your ebooks and games — but now it’s thought better of the move.
After years of missteps, blunders and disasters in which Youtube users have been censored through spurious copyright claims or had their accounts deleted altogether, Google has announced an amazing, user-friendly new initiative though which it will fund the legal defense of Youtube creators who are censored by bad-faith copyright infringement claims.
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