Last night I linked to Charlie Stross’s outrage over the Science Fiction Writers of America putting the guy responsible for their last “piracy” PR debacle in charge of their new anti-piracy committee.
“Burt’s copyright projects for SFWA have been controversial and divisive. He created a push-poll that attempted to convince the membership to stop Amazon from indexing their books; he created a non-working system for poisoning ebooks and ruining the download experience and then patented it, in his name, at the organization’s expense (he has promised to return the money); he helped create a loyalty oath in which members were told to swear to “respect patents and trademarks” and so on.”
“SFWA’s response to Burt’s embarrassing and damaging negligence in the Scribd matter was to dissolve the “E-Piracy Committee” that Burt had chaired and to charter a new committee to investigate better ways for the organization to grapple with copyright. […] Stross has posted an angry public denunciation of the Board’s response to these recommendations — specifically, the Board’s decision to reinstate Burt as chairman of the renamed Copyright Committee. One commenter has pointed out that Burt got to vote for himself in the Board’s deliberations, and did not recuse himself on the basis of a conflict on interest.”
It’s a positively idiotic move on the part of SFWA. It’s like they’re trying to make themselves as irrelevant as possible. In a time where digital really does pose a threat to their current business model, they’re making decisions that will only hasten their end. Where writers like Cory and Charlie see opportunities to thrive in a digital age, SFWA ostensibly only sees danger, and they’re trying to fight the future.
Sad, really. And bad news for all members of SFWA, especially those who don’t understand the dangers of this course, and will support this brain-dead move.