ePUB3 is not the Magic Number

Last July, the Association of American Publisher’s made a push to establish ePUB3 as the global standard format for ebooks. Yet the format is still a long way from becoming an international staple. While most vendors and platforms accept ePUB3 files (Amazon included, who then convert to KF8 for Kindle devices), there is widespread partial acceptance of the ePUB3 format. The ePUB Test Support Grid shows the varying level of ePUB3 feature acceptance across platforms, with the IDPF’s own Readium platform only supporting 72.5% of features. Continue reading “ePUB3 is not the Magic Number”

Crowdsourcing the Slush Pile

Self-publishing is a phenomenon that has exploded over the last few years. Nowadays, many good writers self-publish and many readers read those self-published works. However, in order to find these stories, a reader has to wade through a lot of poorly written stories.

As Alex Sutcliffe points out in his essay “Out of Quantity Comes Quality,”  discoverability is the key issue for readers. Continue reading “Crowdsourcing the Slush Pile”

Copyright, Intellectual Property, and the Digital Age

In order to begin this discussion with the right context, I will preface it with two definitions, one of copyright, and the other of intellectual property.

“Copyright: The exclusive right given by law for a certain term of years to an author, composer, designer, etc. (or his assignee), to print, publish, and sell copies of his original work.” OED

“Intellectual Property: chiefly Law property (such as patents, trademarks, and copyright material) which is the product of invention or creativity, and does not exist in a tangible, physical form.” OED

What is clear in both of these definitions is an emphasis on the maker, the author or other creative force. What is also clear is the way in which the language of the definition shapes a legal reality as well as a finite reality in which to place that which is intangible and immeasurable in other terms. It is also clear, that those legal realities are designed to protect the work and the author.
In order to understand the function of these terms and their application in the digital world, we will need to contextualize them, to highlight some pivotal moments and criticism of the growth of copyright and intellectual property over the past four hundred (or so) years. For you see we are in a hot mess of finite and infinite distinctions, definitions, and problematics surrounding notions of copyright, intellectual property and the digital age which all relate to the ways in which discourse has formed by the intellectual community. A hot mess which, if we go back to the roots of the terms, to the roots of the meanings and movements that gave birth to them, may not be insurmountable.
Continue reading “Copyright, Intellectual Property, and the Digital Age”