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March 14, 2011


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There is a very interesting coincidence in the whole situation with books, sharing and laws... in Russia we had very similar feeling about books in the times of the USSR.

Most censored books in my country those days were spread by reprinting and rewriting them by hand. That was called 'samizdat' = self publishing. Such books were not sold, they were shared among friends and trusted people. These books were forbidden by the government but in spite of that they became truly popular and wide spread. Today most of these books can be bought in any bookstore but people do not buy them :) neither millions of other books. Our book market shrank very much.

The problem is that in two-three decades self-publishing and sharing became a part of 'breaking the system' ideology that brought the Soviet Union to collapse. 'Sharing information=freedom' was the main idea. In 1990s, as we moved to the 'capitalism', people could not accept the idea of sharing information became 'piracy'. Today Russia is one of the most severe copyright violators in the world.

It looks like you have practically the same problem as USSR in 1980s... there are a lot of people who start writing books, songs, making software for free (or for non-direct profit).

These days in Russia we have a new wave of 'samizdat' - writers, artists, musicians start giving their art out. For free. And they have more and more followers. Publishers are 'shrinking' (only on-demand publishing becomes popular). For those people who give their work for free there is a new idea: money can be found easier than freedom.

Karl Drinkwater

An epic post there Phil! I agree with what you say completely, and this makes a good companion piece to my post at

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