Sam Harrelson

Doctorow and Le Guin in Spat Over Fair Use



Two of my favorite writers, Cory Doctorow and Ursula K Le Guin, are in a bit of a spat over the perception of fair use and creative commons in relation to a short Le Guin piece that Doctorow published on the uber popular boingboing.net blog:

In a nutshell: I quoted, in its entirety, a one-paragraph story that Ms Le Guin sent to the fanzine Ansible, in which she made fun of a book review in Slate that said that Michael Chabon “has spent considerable energy trying to drag the decaying corpse of genre fiction out of the shallow grave where writers of serious literature abandoned it.” Le Guin’s paragraph was a long one, about 500 words, and I pasted the whole thing in, because I thought it was delightful.

In my own non-important view, I have to side with Doctorow here… he seemed to have nothing but the best of intentions and wanted to introduce a new crowd of readers from boingboing to Le Guin’s excellent work. Additionally, his explanation of Fair Use seems to be right on… but I’m not a copyright lawyer (thank the gods), so what do I know?

Yet again, here’s an instance of the offline and online publishing worlds having a difficult time grok-ing the intricacies of each others’ systems, customs and practices.

You say tomato, I say tomato… let’s call the whole thing off.

An apology to Ursula K Le Guin – Boing Boing



Posted: 10.14.2007

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