Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What should I link to?

I've noticed as I work on this blog that there are Web sites out there that distribute apparently unauthorized copies of Robert Anton Wilson's books, audiobooks and videos. (I am referring here to commercial videos, and not to videos that document RAW's public appearances.)

I've avoided linking to places that distribute copyrighted material.

Publishers such as New Falcon have been very good about keeping many of Wilson's books and audiobooks in print, making the work available to fans and to new readers. It seems wrong to undercut them by giving away works that for the most part are reasonably priced, and available for free in public libraries to anyone who cannot afford to buy them. Also, while I don't think copyrights should last forever, Wilson died only in 2007 and surely intended members of his family to benefit from royalties on his work.

At the same time, I don't see a problem with distributing work that is out of print, and otherwise unavailable. I'm planning, for example, to link soon to downloads of the songs Wilson recorded with The Golden Horde, an Irish punk rock group. I've searched Amazon and Emusic and did not see the music for sale at either location. I don't see how posting the MP3 files hurts anyone.

Feel free to weigh in if you think my policy is wrong. I'm willing to think about it.

1 comment:

Bobby Campbell said...

I think you've got it just right.

I tend to play a little fast and loose w/ copyright, esp. w/ content I think has inherent cultural value, but I make sure to leave current RAW material alone.

Though, as you say, when something becomes unavailable through the official channel, I go for it.

E.X. I tried to buy the RAW on Joseph Campbell & FW interview from Sound Photosynthesis, but I never received a response to my order. So when I found it on my own I felt obliged to pass it on:

http://maybelogic.blogspot.com/2009/04/robert-anton-wilson-on-finnegans-wake.html

Same deal w/ this Prometheus Rising cassette:

http://maybelogic.blogspot.com/2009/03/raw-prometheus-rising-lecture.html

My guess is that it increases the value of RAW's intellectual property as-a-whole to have a certain amount of free content out there turning people on.

I find it very cool that Joseph Matheny left the "I in the Pyramid" lecture on google video even after facilitating its recent commercial release.