"U-Pdate" for March 2001:
        The Impact of Napster on Publishers

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        The Impact of Napster on Publishers


Napster, the free online music-sharing service featured in many
recent media reports, may soon be shut down by the courts.

Some oberservers cheer Napster's demise as a blow against
piracy of digital content.  But in actuality the lessons of
Napster may hold a grim reality for publishers, because the
same technologies used to trade music can easily be applied
to e-Books.

As explained by Eben Moglen in "The Nation" on 2/23/2001:

" ... The Napster case has much to teach us about the collapse of
publishers generally, and about the liberative possibilities of
the decay of the cultural oligopolies that dominated the second
half of the twentieth century.

"The shuttering of Napster will not achieve the music industry's
goals because the technology of music-sharing no longer requires
the centralized registry of music offered for sharing among the
network's listeners that Napster provided.  Freely available
software called OpenNap allows any computer in the world to
perform the task of facilitating sharing; it is already widely
used ...

"In the world of digital products that can be copied and moved
at no cost, traditional distribution structures, which depend
on the ownership of the content or of the right to distribute, 
are fatally inefficient."

Will e-Books face the same fate?  Will millions of readers
someday trade books on the Internet, without paying royalties
to authors and publishers?

For more detailed information, please visit:



Breaking news from co-author, Dan Poynter:

According to the "New York Times" (2/28/2001) Random House has
sued RosettaBooks over who owns the rights to sell digital
versions of previously published books:

"Until recent years, few book contracts specified who owned
rights to electronic books.  Authors and agents have argued that
digital rights belong to authors unless explicitly specified,
seeking new advances on royalties from digital sales.  Although
consumer demand for books read on computer screens is not yet
known, established publishers and newer competitors have been
trying to gather up those rights, hoping that a lucrative market
will develop. Random House, the largest English-language
publisher, now contends that except in special circumstances,
the print publisher, not the author, automatically owns the
electronic rights to a book."


        Report from BookTech East


"U-Pub" Co-Author Reports from BookTech East:

BookTech East is the largest high tech publishing event in North
America.  Danny O. Snow spoke in a panel discussion about online
marketing and digital rights management titled "Content Sold" on
2/13/2001 at the New York Hilton.

The panel covered the myriad ways in which e-books are being sold
(from an entire book to individual chapters or even paragraphs),
and the digital rights management solutions that make the sales
possible.  For a summary of Snow's comments, see:


Compared to BookTech West (held in San Francisco, December 2000)
where new technologies dominated the discussion, the NYC event
emphasized traditional book publishing and manufacturing methods,
and was well attended by major publishing houses.

In the arena of new technologies, the underlying message was
that publishers are growing weary of piracy issues for e-Books,
and are now asking the major e-publishing services to focus
on making e-Books easier for everyday readers to buy and use.

Stay tuned to "U-Publish.com" for regular updates, tips and
tricks for book publishing and promotion, and other items of
interest to authors and publishers.


Quotation of the Month:

"Without promotion, something terrible happens ... NOTHING!"

P.T. Barnum 


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