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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Well, you've been applying the "Unicorns" metaphor to my writing on your own. My arguments in the article was that:

    1. Making books available online for free has many advantages.
    2. Keeping the books closed does not guarantee their commercial success.
    3. If the books are open, or publicly available online, it's probably not going to hurt your sales.
    4. Keeping a book closed harms legitimate uses while not going to stop the so-called "piracy".

    I don't see these points properly addressed in your jour

    • If the books are open, or publicly available online, it's probably not going to hurt your sales.

      I agree with your other points, but this is where the magic candy-flavored unicorns fly over. You can assert this point all you want, but if your only evidence is that one-in-a-million case, I'll remain dubious.

      (In my mind, Piracy is Progressive Taxation [openp2p.com] is a clearer argument.)

      One other point you haven't addressed is that of value. I could write my own database interface. Fortunately, Tim Bunce and doz

      • by Mutant321 (8646) on 2008.06.20 15:28 (#63524)

        Have you seen the article about how releasing stuff for free can help book sales [baens-universe.com]? At least, it's apparently worked for him, a reasonably successful author.

        I don't think the arugment is about whether copyright holders should lose the right to choose (I certainly don't believe they should). It's about whether it's really as smart as it seems to keep everything closed. (And that's not even touching on things like DRM).

        I DJ fairly obscure, underground genres of music. The sites I buy music off have no DRM, so I could easily swap hundreds of tracks with my friends. (Actually I could even if they did have DRM). But doing so would be self-defeating - I know it's a niche, the poeple making it barely scrape a living if at all, so if I really appreciate the music, it's wise to pay for it, to make sure it continues getting produced.

        The market for Perl books is likely to be well educated, have a reasonable income, and even access to corporate budgets. If they find a book online for free, and find it useful, there's a good chance they'll buy it. It may even equate to sales that wouldn't have otherwise happened. (The article I linked explains this much better than I could).

        Anyway, I think the "unicorns" argument is a straw man. The argument isn't "give away your books and money will drop out of the sky magically", it's "a more open approach to publishing books has been shown to help rather than hinder sales, at least in some cases". Subtle, but important difference. It's an argument with some solid reasoning behind it (which you're welcome to disagree with), not the feel-good warm fuzzies you seem to be portraying it as.

        • The argument isn't "give away your books and money will drop out of the sky magically", it's "a more open approach to publishing books has been shown to help rather than hinder sales, at least in some cases". Subtle, but important difference.

          That part is fine. I agree.

          The moral or pragmatic arguments ("Hoarding knowledge is wrong" or "You can't grep a dead tree" or "Hyperlinked annotations could make Finnegan's Wake comprehensible" or "Most books never earn back their advances; other economic models

        • Books aren't closed in the sense that they are inaccessible. That you have to buy them doesn't make them closed. Everyone can get them. They just have to pay for them. The information is not locked up, though (and the baens-universe stuff apparently uses "fair use" in a way that doesn't match the legal definition).

          I don't find that people who get Perl books for free are likely to pay for them. I might get some sales that I might not have gotten, but I think I lost more sales that I would have got if the boo