Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Obscene Reader

So I just found out about the Clean Reader app which allows ebook readers to buy and download copies of this or that ebook from the app store, with said copies then viewable in their authorised unbowdlerised state or in one of three alternative modes: clean, cleaner or squeaky clean. What the fucking fuck of a fucking fuckery?!

Click through the link to Joanne Harris’s blog above if you want more specifics on how this obscene shitshoveller of an app substitutes euphemisms for the author’s words, and nosey around her Tumblr for her response to the company’s response, where she lays out her threefold objection to their weaseling fuckery that it’s not a copyright infringement, that they’re not actually selling edited copies of her book. As she rightly points out there are profound objections on which it bears absolutely no relevance that the copies are sourced via a licensed distributer or that the original text is still available to read if one switches the app off.

I’m with Ms. Harris that it’s artistically objectionable in so far as it fucks with the very substance of the narrative, with utterly philistine disregard for the aesthetics which underpin ever fucking word choice in a book. I’m with her that it’s ethically objectionable, with its repellant religious bias and fuckheaded ideological toxicity. And I’m with her that it’s pedagogically objectionable, promulgating an odious message that the flesh is sinful, foisting this upon kidsters in an attempt to impose a moralistic pathology of warped stance upon them.

Treating “witch” as an acceptable substitute for “bitch”? You who’ve made this app… you might as well be treating “sodomite” as an acceptable substitute for “shithead,” you pietistic pricks, utterly unthinking of the way in which what you deem an acceptable insult reveals the contemptible anti-ethics of your dogma. Or of the way in which your deeming certain words taboo serves as a gross insult every bit as obnoxious to me as it might be if I pissed on the altar of your church. As a good heathen, I find your attitude to the sacred cocks and cunts profane, savvy? As a citizen of New Sodom, I find your scorn of the flesh sacrilegious. Your Clean Reader is my Obscene Reader, capiche?

But I’ll go further than Ms. Harris, my not-so-dear moralistic fucks. I consider your app to be absolutely the breach of copyright you deny. You claim here that copyright is not violated because you’re not making changes to the book. “All Clean Reader does is change the way the content is displayed on the screen,” you say. Fuck you. In an electronic medium, to display the text is to print it—it’s simply being printed to the screen rather than upon a paper page. A publisher who prints an edition of my book with euphemisms in place of my chosen text, even with a glossary at the back, cannot in good faith argue that the book is not really being changed.

A publisher who prints three unauthorised bowdlerised editions of the book as alternatives to the authorised text is breaching their licensing agreement. A publisher who sells a copy of one of each of these unauthorised editions along with every copy of the actual authorised edition is in breach of copyright. Each alternative mode of display you’re offering is a different edition of the book, motherfucker, and as a different text it is a different book. Each of these three unauthorised bowdlerised editions you produce for sale with the authorised edition is functionally a derivative work so profoundly plagiarising the original—so wholly constructed of plagiarism with the exception only of your obnoxious bowdlerisations—that you’ve actually fooled yourself into thinking that it is the book, just seen through the filter of your shit-tinted glasses.

It is not. A text which takes my Vellum, say, as source text and then performs substitutions on it in line with a contemptible moralistic agenda is no longer Vellum. It is no longer the novel I wrote and licensed for publication. It is an unsanctioned derivative work, and if the folks behind Obscene Reader think that being a legitimate front-end distributor gives them a license to produce three such derivative works for sale with every copy of the actual Vellum, words cannot express how fucking profoundly I disagree with that stance. I one hundred percent consider this an actionable breach of copyright.

I have no idea if, in actual fact, any copies of Vellum have been sold through this app. I strongly doubt it. I imagine the gnarls of US copyright legislation will render the legalities of this app ambiguous and contentious in actuality, and I’m far from an expert on the relevant intricacies, I’ll freely admit. But as far as I’m concerned? This is equivalent to a brick and mortar bookstore scanning every book they stock, running bowdlerisation software on the text to produce three derivative variant texts, and packaging every copy of every book they stock with a PoD copy of each of these three unauthorised editions. There is zero fucking legitimacy to this enterprise, motherfuckers. Zero. If loopholes might make it legally viable as a circumvention of copyright, it does not change the ethical bankruptcy.

So to those behind this app, I have to say: If this is your attitude to fiction and those who make it, you have no fucking business working in this domain in any fucking capacity. Fuck the fuck right fucking off, you fucking fucker of a fuck.


Blogger Eric Rosenfield said...

No link in the post.

BTW- this is like the documentary Cleanflix which is about Mormon companies that edit objectionable material out of films and then rent the edited films, much to filmmaker's dismay.

10:06 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Lost the link in jiggery-pokerying the Tumblr version of this post. Should be there again now.

10:16 pm  

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