The city blog that rolls over each and every time its copyright is infringed (Cf. first, second, third times) shall now become an infringer of a different sort. The Toronto Public Etiquette Guide is Spacing’s upcoming book of vaguely pointless meanderings about how to get along peaceably in a city that desperately needs shaking up.

Copy for the book comes from unpaid contributors – respondents to a blog post asking for “help” in “writing a book.” (Or is it just the next ish of Spacing?) You can also privately E-mail your submissions, which will then be duplicated without your consent and without payment, along with all the other ones.

In this regard Spacing is following in the footsteps of (“Canadian”) Tara Ariano’s classic Hissyfit, whose unpaid contributors, single-shot payments for large postings, and staff admins left Ariano and her husband quite well off for a number of years. (Then they launched a sibling site, also powered mostly by free labour and de minimis payments and later flipped to the Americans.) In this case Spacing is dispensing with any form of payment whatsoever, it seems. They’re just gonna republish your work without paying you.

Now, if I’ve got this wrong, it’s not because I’ve misread what’s been going on. I feel I have quite accurately read the call for comments and the resulting book announcement. Peevish Matt Blackett, now on hiatus from accusing me of “slandering” him, refused to respond to the following question for clarification:

If I understand this project correctly, you and Spacing have canvassed blog
commenters for free content you will repackage into a book you will sell and
whose proceeds you will keep.

Should I actually be mistaken, Blackett can notify me via the usual means. But I doubt I am. The city-booster empire you think is on the people’s side is using people’s work for its own enrichment. Wait till they find out it’s criminal copyright infringement.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.01.27 14:53. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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