On the SFWA Copyright Committee
On the SFWA Copyright Committee
Others have presented their opinions regarding SFWA's decision to create
a Copyright Committee, of which I was made chair, and regarding the "Scribd Affair." I respect their right to
their opinions, though I disagree with some and believe there are
misperceptions, exaggerations, and falsehoods floating around for purposes
of advancing their particular philosophy. That's entirely their right.
I hope folks will listen to both sides (such as the link above) before
judging, not just those with the far larger soapbox.
The new committee will follow almost all the
recommendations of the committee that polled SFWA members for
their wishes regarding whether SFWA would assist members with copyright
infringement of their work. (80% or more of SFWA members polled requested
this.) Some of those expressing animated opinions about this subject
were even on this committee.
I invited some of those same critics to join the new Copyright Committee.
From the letter I wrote to all members of "exploratory committee":
Hi, everyone, Capo may already have approached you about this,
but either way, I wanted to personally extend an invitation for each of
you to join the new Copyright Committee that's arisen as the result of
I know some of you haven't always seen eye to eye with me; I've had some
rousing debates with some of you over things we've obviously both felt
strongly about (from which I've learned quite a bit); and some of you
may just think I'm an odious monster with giant horns, acid drool and
sulfurous breath, but I hope that doesn't put you off. What's past is
past from my perspective; it doesn't bother me to work side by side with
people with differing philosophical views -- and in fact I welcome it
and seek it out, because I learn (and even change my views) based on
sound reasoning. Heck, you might even see I don't really have horns
quite as big as you thought if you give me a chance (and I'm taking a
tonic for the sulfur, though I may still drool on occasion).
Indeed, the committee needs members like you with views that span the
spectrum. Part of our charge, as you all recommended, is to update and
enhance the educational copyright and infringement material SFWA puts
out there. The only way to produce a truly balanced view is to have
input from all sides and cordial debate. (I won't brook any committee
members attacking any other members personally in committee discussions,
though all ideas are fair game. What happens publicly is your business,
but in the committee I will do my best to ensure cordiality at all times.)
You don't need to take part in any takedown activities if you don't
There's some meaty work ahead; I welcome any help you can provide.
Just drop me a line if you're of a mind to join up.
I believe in what I said; I welcome all (cordial) views and learn from
them. I believe in sound logic, and respond well to it. Certainly I've
made mistakes in life -- who hasn't? I do hope that my actions will be
able to speak louder than the words of others about what I do and why.
I won't rebut every wrong thing people have said, there's just too many
and some are too ludicrous. I've historically had a reputation as a
fair and open-minded person who tries to do good work for the community
at large (such as Nyx, Critters, etc.), so I hope that says something.
It's the free speech right of folks to exaggerate their disagreements
with me and say false things to advance their goals; all I ask is for
people to listen to all sides of a story and judge rationally.
Thanks for listening.
Dr. Andrew Burt
Ebook (un)availability, a case study