Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Indigo: Copyright is More Important than Literacy

Julie Wilson runs the brilliant blog Seen Reading in which she catches people reading books around Toronto, takes a good guess as to what page they are on and then reports it on her blog along with a short exceprt from the book. Because Julie cannot actually buy hundreds of books a year she does her research in book shops. She finds the book and the page and copies an excerpt (about 50 words) to go along with the blog. In this manner she plugs books daily in an age when publishers are going under and literacy rates are declining rapidly.

Fortunately the Indigo Copyright police were on hand to put a stop to such nefarious behavior.
"Seems Wilson was caught up short by the Indigo staffer’s allegation that what she was doing was “illegal.” When she explained that excerpting 50 words from a novel-length text for the purpose of review or commentary falls under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, she was informed that it was only fair use if copied from a book that she owned. It’s illegal to do so from a book on Indigo’s shelf. (Which, by extension, would mean that it would also be illegal for Wilson to copy a passage from a library book, but let’s not split hairs.)"
Thank goodness the upstanding employees of Chapters/Indigo are on their toes, ready to spring into action at a moment's notice to protect the world from independent local bookstores and the dark underworld of people who try to promote literacy in their spare time. Without their diligence the world would surely turn into a cesspool of scum, villainy and book piracy (with all of the illegal volumes copied out by hand no less)!

Sure there are a few bleeding hearts out there who think that Indigo should apologize to Wilson, promise to leave her alone in future and give her a big, fat gift card for the trouble but rewarding book crime and unlicensed literary promotion is a one way ticket to total anarchy.

Cred To Quill and Quire and CanCult.


Dwight Williams said...

Speaking as a past - and, I hope, future - author, count me as a self-proclaimed bleeding heart.

martin said...

It is sad that most corporations don't understand the free advertising that we can give them...

Justin Beach said...

Or the incredibly bad publicity that can flow from incidents like this.