They talk about the lib being free, but I think they mean the book in the lib being free. Adam B. Levine gives a great example how writers could monetize their work instead of hosting their work on http://www.audible.com
As much as I love digital media books do have value. If I’m going to sit down to read I much more prefer dealing with an actual book than an ebook. Granted an ebook might be more portable in that you can store thousands on an ereader ans stick it in your bag or something but actually reading it? There’s something lost in the experience. Also books, physical books, do not require power and cannot be hacked. I’d much prefer having both kinds of data. But if there was some kind of disaster and the power went out and we had converted all our knowledge to digital copies and lost all our physical books we would be screwed! Also note the difference between free speech and free beer. Amazon gives you free beeer, that is their kindle books are LISENCED for you to use but amazon retains ownership. Which is why I don’t buy kindle books. I buy ACTUAL books. And if I get an ebook I get a pdf or some other file I can actually download and keep on my computer. If you don’t have the data you don’t have anything. Liscence rights aren’t worth anything. If you are paying for a liscence you aren’t paying to own the software you are paying for permission to use the software. And when it comes to a book that isn’t worth anything as far as I’m concerned because history has shown people, especially people in power, have this nasty habit of manipulating knowledge or outright censoring and destroying it to suit their own ends. Thought control. Owning data is a safeguard against thought control.
Is your concern not more about the importance of preserving digital media/actual books etc and the “library” of the wealth of Human Knowledge, rather than owning it? The idea of ownership leads to digital copyright or the copyrighting of thoughts/ideas. This in turn stifles innovation, which then controls and limits thoughts and actions and actually hinders the spread of ideas I think.
Now my friend it does not. See if I own a copy of my favorite book I’m not preventing anyone else from owning another copy of it. I mean I see your point the idea of ownership in general could lead to ownership of data and thus to copyright and instead I am proposing ownership as a means to preserve the use of something as opposed to a means of control. Copyright is based on the premise of trying to create artificial scarcity where scarcity never existed. Owning a copy of a book on the other hand is laying claim to a portion of physical, and therefore actually limited resources (paper, ink, time to print it, electricity, cubic space to store it) that are measurable. You can make a copy of a file in under two seconds with no overhead cost. Say we set an actual price on the commission to write a book. It can take over a year, it can take several years in fact, but let’s say for the sake of this example it takes a year. 365 days, 8 hrs a day of writing. Real dedication there. Pay the guy $30 per hour. 30 * 8 * 365 = $87,600 If he wants to sell at $5 a pop he’ll have to sell $17,520 copies to make up expenses. But the point is all he needs to do is take the price point, divide and convince that number of people to buy. But you see the thing is there is no scarcity. Because one can just copy the file. HOWEVER running these numbers has made me think of something (damnit brain…) If you made such a projection, figured out how much you wanted to be paid and how much you wanted to charge, then you could then create a cryptocurrency and have the total number of coins released match the number of books you’d need to sell. People could trade their coins in for books. And you don’t get the coins unless you buy them. You can buy the coins before or after the final release of the book and you only get a copy if you turn in a whole coin. Obviously this would create competition and people would start investing heavily in an authors cryptocurrency. When the coins are all turned into the author he simple sells them back to the public and they turn them in again, or trade them with each other, for more books. If his book gets pirated the value of the cryptocurrency might drop or it might not depending on the author’s fan base. This way technically you don’t need to mess around with copyright you only need to worry about being the sole, or at least main, distributor. If someone else gets a copy of your book who cares? At least you got that first round of sales and made up costs. And because people pay in advance to buy the coins you don’t have to worry about them not paying for the book.