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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Coming eBook Apocalypse

Ah the forest! I can't see the trees!

While everyone is Sally hemming and Stephen hawing over the ebook market this year and the myriad problems and questions that accompany it, I think a few of us need to look ahead a few years. There are bigger problems on the horizon, folks.

You are looking at a big, ugly copyright fight. And lots of smaller ones, as well.

The reason? Oh, little things like cover art, attributions, fair use. Stuff like that. Lawyer bidness.

Personally, I use "found" images for my covers. That's a bit of a no-no, in the long run. I figure if someone calls me on something (I have no real idea where these pictures came from), I will have achieved enough success to cut them a check to silence them, or hire someone to do new covers. Surely I'm not the only person guilty of this.

I also use some Sugarcubes and Eagles lyrics in my novels. Not enough to get sued over, I think, but it's still possible. I don't exactly list that on my title page as I probably should, but I don't have explicit permission, so why draw attention to that fact? Why blog about it, for that matter?

I also use words from "Still Life With Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins in one of them. They're not even in the original sequence, so I think I'm safe, there. But still, there's no formal attribution. I'm sure he's cool with that, but his publishers might not be.

All it takes is one takedown notice, I'm sure, and Amazon will drop a book in a heartbeat. Wait for it, this will start to happen in the next year. Hopefully it won't happen to me or you.

My point is, we're all mostly flying under the radar, for now. But forewarned is forearmed. The situation will change, and we might see them going after authors like they went after people who shared music, on a smaller scale, as the ebook market changes and revenue streams begin to dry up, for some.

Or am I being too pessimistic? Guilty conscience? ; )