Open Intellectual Property Casebook: free, superior alternative to $160 textbook


James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, eminent copyright scholars at the Duke Center for the Public Domain, have released their 788-page Open Intellectual Property Casebook as a free, open, CC-licensed download, replacing textbooks that normally sell for $160 (you can get a hardcopy is $24); it's not just a cheaper alternative, either -- it's a better one, enlivened with sprightly writing, excellent illustrations (including comics in the vein of Boyle and Jenkins's Bound By Law).

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Henry Kuttner: long-lost works of a Lovecraft acolyte

Kuttner met his wife, the writer CL Moore, through a mutual correspondence with HP Lovecraft; when he died, she became his literary executor, then married a non-writer who ordered her to stop writing, and insisted that she suppress future publication of Kuttner's work -- but now you can get 14 of his books as ebooks.

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Harpercollins Humble Ebook Bundle with Gaiman, Bujold, Coelho, Williams, and more

Name your price for more than 12 DRM-free books from Harpercollins, support charity, and strike a blow for freedom!

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Crowdfunding a print edition of Holdfast science fiction magazine

Laurel writes, "Holdfast magazine (a free, online speculative fiction magazine) has launched a fundraising campaign for our first-ever print anthology."

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Canada's On Spec magazine crowdfunding after grant is cut

On Spec, Canada's leading science fiction magazine, faces closure after its Canada Council grant was abruptly, unfairly cancelled. They're raising funds to keep going.

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Comixology adds DRM-free option! Excelsior!

Unlike some of its stablemates, the Amazon-owned comics platform is to allow authors and publishers to distribute their work without the shackles of proprietary rights-management, writes Cory Doctorow

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Harpercollins will offer discounted ebooks to print book owners

They're the first major publisher to sign with Bitlit, an app that lets you send a photo of your book's copyright page with your name inked on it in exchange for a deal on the ebook.

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DRM-free indie ebooks outsell DRM-locked ones 2:1


Author Earnings has published its latest eye-popping data-analysis of ebook sales and rankings on Amazon.

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Jeff VanderMeer's name-your-price bundle of great, indie New Weird fiction


Jeff VenderMeer has curated a name-your-price bundle of New Weird fiction of great repute and deep weirdness, hosted at Storybundle.

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Name your price for 11 books in the Humble Science Fiction Bundle

The latest Humble Ebook Bundle focuses on science fiction, with name-your-price DRM-free ebooks from Harlan Ellison, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Dan Simmons, Buzz Aldrin and more.

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Humble Dynamite Bundle: name your price for $258 worth of comics


The Humble Bundle Dynamite 10th Anniversary edition features $258 worth of comics on a name-your-price basis, and supports charities including the indispensable Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

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Kickstarting a Lovecraftian game where the object is to stay sane and alive

Labratory's kickstarting a new game: "Shadows of Arkham," which is pure Lovecraftian Ameri-trash for people who know that you can't fight the Elder Gods, but you might be able to avoid mind-death if you're quick enough.

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Kickstarting a Progress City book of Disney history articles

The excellent Disney history blog Progress City is kickstarting a book of its best articles, including several that are substantially rewritten and polished for the project. $15 gets you a PDF, $30 for a paperback.

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Publishers offer free/discounted ebooks of the print books you own with Bitlit


Bitlit works with publishers to get you free or discounted access to digital copies of books you own in print: you use the free app (Android/Ios) to take a picture of the book's copyright page with your name printed in ink, and the publisher unlocks a free or discounted ebook version. None of the Big Five publishers participate as yet, but indies like O'Reilly, Berrett-Koehler, Red Wheel Weiser, Other Press, Greystone, Coach House, Triumph, Angry Robot, Chicago Review, Dundurn, and PM Press (publishers of my book The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow) are all in.

(Image: Bookshelf, David Orban, CC-BY)

Podcast: How Amazon is holding Hachette hostage

Here's a reading (MP3) of my latest Guardian column, How Amazon is holding Hachette hostage, which examines how Hachette's insistence on DRM for their ebooks has taken away all their negotiating leverage with Amazon, resulting in Amazon pulling Hachette's books from its catalog in the course of a dispute over discounting:

Under US law (the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and its global counterparts (such as the EUCD), only the company that put the DRM on a copyrighted work can remove it. Although you can learn how to remove Amazon's DRM with literally a single, three-word search, it is nevertheless illegal to do so, unless you're Amazon. So while it's technical child's play to release a Hachette app that converts your Kindle library to work with Apple's Ibooks or Google's Play Store, such a move is illegal.

It is an own-goal masterstroke. It is precisely because Hachette has been so successful in selling its ebooks through Amazon that it can't afford to walk away from the retailer. By allowing Amazon to put a lock on its products whose key only Amazon possessed, Hachette has allowed Amazon to utterly usurp its relationship with its customers. The law of DRM means that neither the writer who created a book, nor the publisher who invested in it, gets to control its digital destiny: the lion's share of copyright control goes to the ebook retailer whose sole contribution to the book was running it through a formatting script that locked it up with Amazon's DRM.

The more books Hachette sold with Amazon DRM, the more its customers would have to give up to follow it to a competing store.

MP3