Friday, June 14, 2013

Internet Lovelies / Microsoft and the War Against First Sale

via reddit
As a true tsundoku-ka, let me share some non-book internet lovelies with you.

Sometimes I’ll cry and wish I saw my real, true friends more. Sometimes I’ll cry a lot and wish I was still 19 when a friend was so easy to find and you were surrounded by these huge groups of people. It didn’t matter that you loved them or even liked them. They were there and that was comforting. But now I’m 25 and everyone is moving away and moving on. I am too. I know this. So sometimes I’ll just say fuck it and do what I want because I need to not be there, wallowing, wondering, getting trapped by the pull of the internet. Online, everyone is having a better time than you. I am not strong enough to deal with that. At the end of the night, at least I can say: I was not here.  
Brittany Julious, Link

The...the Khalcheesy...

Yes. That's right. I called you a dick. Because you created this situation. You put me in this spot where my only option is to acquiesce to your demands or be the bad guy. That, my friend, is the very definition of a dick move.
Josh Olson, from "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script", Link

In the current abortion debate, there is no talk of children. Those who are anti-abortion never mention them. They seem to be the same people who want to cut food stamps and get rid of social programs that might help children and mothers. They never talk about nineteen-year-old fetuses. They don’t talk of war or hunger or about how much it costs to buy shoes and socks and how hard it must be to have children without a washer and dryer. They never seem to take into account who the father is, or who the boyfriends might be. I never wanted to have a baby if I wasn’t positive I could give it a wonderful life and my undivided attention. I didn’t get that from my own mother. When I was little, I didn’t understand that there is no such thing as undivided attention. My feeling was I needed to become a good mother to myself before I invented a child that needed one.
Nora Dunn, Link 

via @TheLincoln

I feel so bad for anyone who watched the recent "red wedding" episode of Game of Thrones without having read the books. How are you guys holding up? Do you need a hug?

Gendered book marketing has particular impact upon boys. Girls, as Brooklyn-based author Gayle Forman explained at Reading Matters, will read across gender. But boys are often self-conscious about reading books that might be considered to be “girly”. “Why is it acceptable for a girl to enter a boy world, but not the opposite?” Forman asked.

The reason is, of course, that books exist in a society where femininity is still considered to be a second-class characteristic, and masculinity defined most strongly as an absence of the feminine. The debate about “fake geek girls” in fan culture, the current meltdown at the SFWA about sexism in science fiction and fantasy, even the furore over Faber’s chicklit reprint of Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar, demonstrate that misogyny and sexism are alive and well.
 Alison Croggon, Link

There's a really interesting Kickstarter going on now for funding an indie press called Boss Fight Books. They'll be releasing a line of books by some really incredible writers focusing on classic video games. If you donate at least $5 you'll get a digital copy of one of the books once it's released. So basically if you're interested in any of the titles, just donate to pre-order a copy.

I'm eying Super Mario Bros. 2, a.k.a. what I spent the majority of my childhood playing.

Speaking of video games, if you have an internet connection you've probably heard all about the uproar over Microsoft's reveal of the next generation of console gaming: the XBox One. Promptly rebranded by nerds as the XBone. And at first glance this may seem to have nothing to do with books, but I promise you it does.

Why was there an uproar over the XBone? Several reasons: terrible bulky design, internet connection requirement (including the need for it to be connected at least once every 24 hours otherwise it becomes a brick), Kinect sensor built-in and required to operate, the focus of the system lying much less on games and more on it as some weird TV controller, etc. But the biggest problem, the feature that could change gaming and all digital (and possibly even analog) purchases of anything in the future, is its policy regarding used games.

Here's the deal. All games played on the XBox One have to be downloaded to the cloud or the console's hard drive. If you buy a physical disc with a copy of the game on it, it will be downloaded immediately, and the disc will henceforth be dead. So if you're one of those people (me) who doesn't have a million dollars, and buys a game for $59.99, plays it for six weeks, then sells it back for $'re screwed. It's a complete overhaul of the used media system that's been in place for decades.

Here are the rules:

Why this matters: it's a direct attack against the right of first-sale. Which if you need a reminder, "enables the distribution chain of copyrighted products, library lending, gifting, video rentals and secondary markets for copyrighted works (for example, enabling individuals to sell their legally purchased books or CDs to others)." Publishers have looooooong been attempting to weasel their way out of this limitation of their copyright. And the digital revolution has left a perfect opening.

There's never been a question that when you buy a physical thing, legally, you henceforth own it, and can do whatever you want with it. You can trade it. Sell it. Wear it as a hat. Whatever. As long as its creator/publisher got paid at least once, during the first sale. But what happens when you buy a digital thing? Do you own a bunch of 1s and 0s? Are you renting it? Can you wear it as a hat? Good question. That's a battle still being fought between consumers and Amazon, Overdrive, iTunes, etc. It's honestly still up in the air. There's nothing like working in interlibrary loan to teach you that nobody really has copyright figured out anymore. It's more and more difficult to enforce and interpret every day.

And maybe you don't feel like this is a big deal, being unable to trade and sell used video games. After all, you can't do it with digital music (though there are ways around it), PC games/software, or most ebooks either. The difference being that console games tend to cost $60 or more. That's a lot of simoleons. Now if the games would cost about half that much, as purely untradeable/unsellable digital copies, that wouldn't be so bad. I've downloaded plenty of DLC which acts exactly like that. But there's no sign that this will be the case. Not to mention by cutting out independent game shops there will be no competition in game pricing. Weird how the biggest capitalists in the world are the ones most afraid of actual capitalism.

But if this move by Microsoft and game publishers is successful, it could revolutionize the way we interpret digital ownership, and the right of first-sale in general. It will put into question how ebooks and libraries should function. Not to mention businesses like Red Box, Blockbuster, GameFly, Replay Games, eBay, and But more importantly, LIBRARIES.

So do yourself and everyone else a favor, and please don't buy an XBox One. At least not until they change their policies. Pretty pretty please, with Super Mario Bros. 2 cherries on top?

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