Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Bonus Episode: Copyright, Creative Commons, and Online Piracy


At the suggestion of a listener, in this special bonus episode we’re discussing self-publishing, copyright, and how evolving digital technologies might influence both writers and publishers. Should writers and publishers embrace Creative Commons licenses and post their work online for free? Is copyright an outmoded idea? How can writers balance the desire to make a living with the desire to reach a wide reading audience?

Consider this like a Writers Ask episode with just one question–or, maybe several related questions, all circling around issues of copyright and ownership. We’d love to hear what you think: feel free to leave a comment here on the site, shoot us an email, or hit us up on Twitter.

As always, you can stream the episode here on our site, or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can download individual episodes or subscribe (for free) and never miss another installment. We’ll be back on Monday with another regular episode, on Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped: A Memoir.

Thanks for listening!

Download as mp3 (right-click, save-as)


Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

3 thoughts on “Bonus Episode: Copyright, Creative Commons, and Online Piracy

  1. I loved this. I’m an author and illustrator, and found you through the AV Club.

    Another mini-argument that never seems to get addressed is that pirates want free content to be ubiquitous, yet always point to the publicity that surrounds the decision to offer one’s work for free as proof that giving it away is always beneficial.

    Putting aside the fact (as you covered) that such publicity probably only surrounds well-known authors, it also only surrounds them because the practice is still unusual.

    They want us to swallow the idea that the neighborhood kids are gonna love us for giving away candy on Halloween, but on Halloween kids think candy is their right. If everybody’s doing it then they’ll only remember you for turning off your porch light. I’m usually better at metaphor.

    Having said that, I think the current copyright period is ridiculous and should be diminished. But that’s another argument.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Adam. I hadn’t thought about that (an increase in free material making the authors of that free material less and less “special”) but that’s a good point. I think I’d agree about the copyright period, though I’m no expert on how that works. Maybe something for a future discussion.

  3. Adam – I swear I was actually going to use a Halloween-ish metaphor (something about putting out the bowl with a “just take one” note) and then I forgot to write it down. So, yeah, I agree. And thanks for checking in on the show!

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