Friday, January 1, 2010

Less Free, Punchy & Bookish

I have to start off this post with this link.

Copyright is an elaborate beast that can be used by both sides of the argument to great effect. The link above talks about Public Domain, and the recent laws have extended the 'rights' of the creator of a work to 70 years after death. Think about it: That's almost 3 generations of a creative person's descendants controlling something they might not care about at all. At the link they argue against the new copyright laws from the point of view of how it affects culture, and that's an important issue to discuss.
They're not talking about pirating books, or taking your ownership of a creative work; free access to the thoughts and imaginations of those who helped shape our modern culture is paramount.

I mentioned in an earlier post about Alan Lomax and his books on music ethnography; well, all his books are out of print, and his estate may be having trouble republishing the books (or they might not care)-- our culture definitely needs access to his work, and if publishers aren't going to take a chance on it, how are we to explore his work without buying expensive out-of-print editions? And one generation from now, when the mantle is passed on, will the next generation care about keeping his books in print? If he were Stephen King, maybe, but an author with a limited (but active) readership, probably not. And yet his writings would be locked up in copyright for another 50 years, regardless.

Book production-wise, Ginger's printed out a couple of interesting ones "Punch and Judy" which is a history of the reviled/loved puppet character and archetype. With illustrations, and footnotes, like the one that quotes Milton saying that fame is "That last infirmity of the mind". Ha!

And in another batch of Google Editions, the delightfully titled "Walking: a fine art as practiced by Naturalists and explained by Original Contributions to this Volume, and by Quotations from the published works of those who Love to Dally Along Country Lanes". Why don't authors choose long titles like this anymore, there was a time when " title, or blah blah blah, etc. etc" was common-place. Nowadays books published have 1 word, or a combination like "archaeological mystery/artifact/scientific discovery blah blah". "The Derringer Gut-Punch", "The Icoseles Expedition", "The Quantum Slippers"...

And finally, I'm having a great time designing books for two authors I've known for long time, who want books published through Third Place Press & Ginger. I can't share details yet, but I'll talk more about the projects as they near completion.

Oh. And Happy New Year!

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