Posted by & filed under TUEBL. 4 comments

At TUEBL we decided we were going to launch a “Smile and Win” contest to get people smiling next to their favourite books. The hope was to get a bunch of pictures shared on instagram, and maybe introduce some new people to our website. Within the first few days of the contest, I saw a photo come up on the stream which showed a little girl who was reading a book.

cutegirl

Adorable girl reading my little pony!

If you don’t know anything about TUEBL, know that what we focus on more than anything is getting people (primarily kids) interested in reading. People are not reading as much as they used to, and at TUEBL we want to fix that… it’s the coolest thing you can do and kids who read are said by 4 out of 5 people I just made up to be cooler.

I wanted to just decide that this picture won the contest, but I realized that it wouldn’t be fair to the other contestants if we did that. So I went on with the challenge and loved many of the pictures that were submitted, there were many beautiful people and amazing books. In the end 41 different pictures were submitted to our contest, and we were thrilled with the result.

Later on the results will be submitted, we will tell you that adorable My Little Pony girl did not win. However, we knew that we had to do SOMETHING to say “thank you for submitting an awesome picture” so we did. We gave her dad $25 and told him to let her spend it on whatever it is that she wanted.

Just now we got a new post from him on twitter and it looks like his daughter was able to do quite well for herself:

cutegirlafter

 

Whoever said money said money can’t buy happiness was clearly mistaken, this was the best $25 I have spent in a long time. I am sure she is kinda happy too.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 2 comments

I’m an avid fantasy reader. My school years were spent trying to explain magic rings and talking swords to my smirking friends and less-than-appreciative English teachers. My reading choices may not have given me a good grasp of classic literature, history, or social commentary (though Ursula K LeGuin may beg to differ…) but they did give me a thorough appreciation for the absurd.

It might be the scientifically absurd, like wormholes or light speed travel, or it might be the mystically absurd, like wizard schools, or the too-close-to-home absurd, like  Whatever. I love it. The weirder the better.

But I am far from unique.

Ultimately, most fiction is pretty absurd.

And this was what I never succeeded in articulating to my smirking friends: whether it’s a battle between magical foes or an unlikely romance, fiction is about believing the unbelievable. Even when it is based in reality – and maybe especially when it’s based in reality (Seriously. What’s more fucked up than the real world?) – the challenge of a story is to make something seemingly unreal seem real.

Over the weekend, I was excited to stumble across a blog that articulated this way better than I ever could. Here’s what Rarasaur’s blog has to say about believing:

“……..this question that people have to write into reviews when they are unfamiliar with a genre.  It goes like this:

Are we really supposed to believe…

Yes.

However you intend to finish that question, the answer is yes.

……….if you really can’t believe it – the problem is with the writing, not the premise.  Premises of all books are very often asinine.  It’s the writer’s job to use language and characters to make you forget all about that.”

Go on, read the rest! I can’t be the only bookworm who can appreciate the arguments in defense of believing.

Posted by & filed under TUEBL. no comments yet :(

Or at least, Smile Half-Month. In case you haven’t been over to the library recently (and WHY not?!), TUEBL.ca is livening up the month of May with a prize drawing.

Win $100 USD

To celebrate both smiles AND favorite books, TUEBL want’s YOU to share both. Here’s how:

Your Task

1. Have an Instagram account (because of course you didn’t already have one lol!)

2. Then, click here and like TUEBL’s image.

3. Now, take a picture on Instagram of YOU smiling with YOUR favorite book (the smiling part is important! :-) )

4. Tag it #TUEBL.ca

Then what?

Of all the pictures of people smiling with their favorite books, TUEBL will randomly draw one – and if that’s yours you get $100!

Then, for every 50 likes TUEBL’s image gets, one more $100 winner will be drawn – up to 5 winners.

You have until May 31…………. Get smiling!

😀

Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics, Uncategorized. no comments yet :(

Now that I’m FAIRLY certain this is not a joke…………………………… This week, the new generation of creators and fans alike got some amazing news: another hero has volunteered to carry our voice into the halls of government. The grey-haired old guard in suits cannot ignore the internet generation much longer: Peter Sunde, founder of the Pirate Bay, is running for European Parliament!

Brokep

Formerly known as Brokep the Pirate Bay’s spokesman, Peter is of Finnish/Swedish background and is running in this election with the Finnish Pirate Party. It is a confusing move for many because before now, he has not aligned himself with the Pirates – at least not in party form!

Yeah, confusing!

But although he has hesitated to throw his weight behind a specific party name before, his work is perfectly in line with the Pirates’ platform of internet freedom and helping to foster new opportunities for both fans and artists:

“Non-commercial file sharing should of course become legal and protected, and must re-think copyright all together. Copyright is not the thing that makes ARTISTS money, it’s only for their brokers and distributors… I’d rather see us sponsor culture by pushing more money to music education, and facilities for your people to create music. It would be much more sane for cultural advancement then extending copyrights.”

~Brokep.

Unlike many politicians, Peter’s conviction can hardly be doubted. Throughout the Pirate Bay trial, and before it began, and in his work after, he has long fought for the right of creators and fans to share freely. And while he’s not with TPB anymore, he has only gone on to fight the good fight on other fronts. In 2010, Peter launched Flattr, a micro-donation platform and one of the most seriously useful tools for artists to get support and recognition for their work, and something that, together with his involvement with the Pirate Bay, gives him some serious credibility in the fight for the internet – something that the FInnish Pirates recognize:

“The Pirate Bay has become a worldwide symbol of standing up against the corporate bullies for the rights of internet users around the glove. Flattr, on the other hand, is a great example of creating positive and constructive solutions at the same time”

 ~Finnish Pirate Harri Kivistö

While the Pirate Bay is basically the biggest and best library that the world has ever had, Flattr is the way that the library can turn distribution into financial support, answering the oft-repeated question How will the artists survive? 

Flattr bought the cover art for my first book.

Flattr helped me afford proof copies & review copies of my work.

Flattr helped me find other creators to support who were working in the same FREE territory as me.

Flat–

Ok, I’ll stop.

I won’t go into way too much detail on it right now because I’ve actually been working on a whole series of in-depth intro/how-to/why-to posts on Flattr for TUEBL users who want to support their favorite authors! (Will work faster….. Promise!) So if you’re unfamiliar, stick around for a little while, and I’ll get back to the Flattr love in upcoming posts.

The Pirate Party 

Like our librarians here at TUEBL, the Pirate Party seeks to legally change copyright law from the inside out. Pirates across the globe are working to make more fan- and artist-centric policy that embraces the sharing of culture and art instead of propping up the old monopolies and disadvantaging independent creators, and breaking the internet.

While still a mystery to many Americans, the Pirate Party has had great success in elections across Europe. Sweden currently has two pirate members to keep Peter company in the European Parliament should he win a seat. Pirates have stormed four German state-level parliaments in Berlin, SaarlandSchleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. Eichberg, Switzerland had a Pirate mayor. And Pirates are not just for Europe either – for a short time, Tunisia had a Pirate cabinet member.

So for now, let’s wish Peter luck, and hope that he gets the chance to join his fellow Pirates in the halls of government.

The grey-haired, suit-wearing old guard won’t know what hit them!

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This is a last minute plug for one of my fellow Public Domain creator’s project in the Looking@Democracy challenge that ends in THREE DAYS! Looking@Democracy is a contest for creative commentaries on American democracy. My friend Zacqary Adam Green entered the contest to illustrate the frustrating “user interface” of democracy…………. with an actual frustrating user interface in his game Apathy

In Apathy, users have to pass or stop bills by, for example, calling their representatives, talking to their friends, and voting. But like in a real representative democracy, things don’t always work the way the constituency wishes…………….

“When confronted with a maddening user interface, human beings tend to throw up their hands and stop trying. So many people “hate computers” just because every modern operating system is so poorly designed, they don’t ever feel capable of making them do what they want them to do. Well, judging by voter turnout statistics, roughly half this country “hates democracy.

Zac on Apathy

Zacqary founded Plankhead, an organization that produces and promotes public media such as the animated series, Your Face is a Saxophone. He’s also known for pioneering the only 100% successful anti-pirate technology to date.

Like me, Zac is one of a few creators striking out into the Public Domain and leaving any semblance of copyright far, far behind. There aren’t that many of us! It’s pretty damn important for us to stick together and support our fellow makers of free culture. If you like TUEBL and/or this humble blog, you should too! So get on over to Plankhead, get your Apathy on, and Vote.

Play Apathy

Vote

(P.S: Here, your vote really does count!)

Then Like, Share, and Tweet the shit out of this to help promote an advocate of free culture!

 


Posted by & filed under TUEBL. no comments yet :(

Things have been dark lately! The heavy politics, pirate-chasing, and profit talk are tiring. How about a break? Yeah, I could use one, too. So instead of doom and gloom, today I bring you……..

A Tutorial!

Specifically, a how-to on TUEBL.

Or at least, on TUEBL’s pronunciation!

Pronunciation is hard in Internetland, where the written word rules. And when you’ve got a weird mashup of letters like TUEBL does, attempts to translate it to speech can get pretty mangled! So here’s the definitive guide for TUEBLovers who want to get it right.

International Phonetic Alphabet pronunciation of TUEBL:

[thúb. ɫ ]

Yeah, I bet that was helpful!  😛

Ok, a translation for the non-linguists out there:

1. Stress on the first syllable

2.  TOOB, as in the word tube 

+

3. ul, as in the sound at the end of babble 

=

TOOB – ul

 

Better?

:-) 


Posted by & filed under Publishing and Publishers, Writing and Writers. 5 comments

LISTEN to this!

A recent playwright’s post displays a beautiful illustration of the plight that many, many writers face as they fight to keep a tight hold on their work. Read the whole damn thing.

“Let’s explore this idea that “giving away” my scripts devalues them. My plays are valueless, as long as they sit in a drawer……………….

 

Listen: Of course I want to get paid. Of course I should get paid. But the fact is not only am I not getting paid now, but my work is languishing in the dark.”

 

 From “The Great Release”

read the rest……

 

True. Fucking. Story.

 

… Oh, and by the way?

BAD PANDA is fucking awesome.

 


Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics, Writing and Writers. no comments yet :(

Last week we answered the question once and for all, Is TUEBL legal? with a decisive YES! But on Friday, we heard from a pro-copyright author who still thinks we’re all dirty rotton thieves.

The fact remains that, despite efforts to serve both the writer and reader communities, our little library attracts the occasional hysterical mob. Authors and publishers, somehow missing all the DMCA Takedown buttons next to each and every one of their books, wind up taking out their frustration out on TUEBL. It can’t help but leave us bookworms looking up from our latest chapter a little confused, wondering WHY? Why, even though TUEBL is as legal as Google, Youtube, or your ISP, do the pitchforks and torches still get broken out with alarming regularity?

Because…. pirates!

Observation suggests that this anger is the result of the all-too-common assumption that Well, MY books didn’t sell as well as I wanted; it is CLEARY those terrible, terrible pirates stealing sales! In other words, the library become the scapegoat for every underperforming (or perceived-to-be underperforming) title.

These authors’ frustration is particularly sad to me because it’s something I understand very, very well.

It is painful to watch small time and indie authors parrot out the copyright company line. Even with continued, mounting, and comprehensive evidence putting holes in the hardline-copyright rhetoric, the creators have often already had their perspective so perverted by the  the anti-pirate, anti-artist rhetoric of the publishers (and the film industry before them, an the record labels before that) that they twist their every experience to confirm it.

My book didn’t sell. Pirates! But why? Pirates! But how? Pirates!

And so on.

Of course, when it comes to the effects of piracy on any given title, we can’t say unequivocally that they will always without fail guaranteed to be positive. We can’t say that piracy is a magic bullet, and that getting a book onto The Pirate Bay or any other sharing site will make it sell millions of copies and shoot the author into bestseller fame.

However, what we do know is simple: getting books in front of readers is an opportunity.

And opportunities are hard to come by.

But while some authors rage against their readers, they fail to see that libraries and file-sharing sites as the massive opportunity that they are for modern creators. By rejecting the sharing prowess of the internet, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Self Destruction

Yes, this is something that authors are doing to themselves.

Regardless of the effect of libraries on books – something that we may never be able to fully quantify or understand one way or another – the reaction of an author is key. Whether they choose to flourish within the new medium or fight against is up to them. And when they choose to fight the new over and over and over again, well…….

My pity is limited.

Limited, but not non-existant.

Of the saddest arguments that’s been recirculated among the latest pitchfork-and-torch-waving mob is: I can’t write because I have to spend all my time sending DMCA notices to pirates!

And to this, as an author, I just have to ask WHY?

It’s true. Writing, publishing, and marketing is incredibly time consuming.

I know because it consuming all MY time.

We have to write the damn stuff to begin with, rewrite it 2000 times, design and format it (if we’re self published), find people who will review it, find bookstores that will even consider carrying it……. oh and write the next one & start the process all over again!  T___T

It’s hard.

So WHY these dear pirate-chasing authors choose – yes, choose – to spend all their time on DMCA notices instead of writing is entirely beyond me. Fighting the greatest distribution opportunity creators have ever had is nothing but shooting oneself in the foot. And why, whyWHY would an author prioritize that over their real passion of writing? 

And the Collateral Damage

It’s not just themselves that well-meaning authors are hurting when they crusade against libraries.

And it’s not just pirates.

It’s other authors.

See, I’m a newbie. And by newbie, I don’t mean I started this game yesterday. I’ve been publishing since 2011 and writing a hell of a lot longer than that. But publishing is HARD, especially when you don’t have a long resume in industry. Selling books is HARD. I write my ass off every day – and fiction is only a fraction of what I have to figure out for myself. I also have to navigate the self-publishing quagmire, keep up with the developments of the industry, and send my work out into the world – all so that I and my work don’t die in oblivion.

And I bet all the angry, anti-library, anti-TUEBL authors out there work just as hard.

So why take opportunity away from fellow authors?

Opportunity is what a struggling newbie needs more than anything else.

And I hope that one day my fellow authors stop trying take away the sites that give a struggling author just one leg up in this tough as nails fight for creative survival. 

Particularly the sites that, you know, don’t in any way, legal, moral, or technical, resemble a pirate site.

That’d be real nice.

One day.

 

Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics, TUEBL. no comments yet :(

TONIGHT at 9PM EST: TUEBL’s very own librarian will be debating pro-copyright author Charles Sheehan Miles on AnonPlus Radio. For those who aren’t familiar with the rivalry, here’s the gist of it………….

Background

Charles Sheehan Miles is the author of several novels and a handful of short stories. Earlier this year, on his blog Side Views, he stirred up the last wave of anti-TUEBL with his post Book Piracy And Me.” The post attempts to debunk what he calls myths of book pirates, including things like Pirating helps authors and People won’t pirate if the paid product is easily accessible and priced low enough. 

TUEBL, for it’s part in this skirmish, is the target of a somewhat misplaced anger at book pirates. Remember, being fully DMCA-compliant, TUEBL is not actually a pirate siteStill, on an ideological level, it’s admins openly embrace the cultural significance and fundamental human value of free sharing. Moreover, as this blog has often reiterated, there are in fact many, many studies that call into serious question the myths of the copyright industry.

The Debate

In other words, each side is strong in their convictions.

Everyone believes they have morality, evidence, and experience on their side.

This debate has been going on in it’s modern form, for over a decade, and in various forms for a lot longer than that. Lawmakers, publishers, and readers are hardly likely to resolve the ever-evolving differences anytime soon.

However, dialogue is important. Readers need writers to create the books they love so much and writers need readers to read the books they poured their heart and soul into. While the internet has catapulted the creative industries and their fans to whole new levels, there is still much resistance to the new digital culture, its mechanisms, and its values. And there probably will be for a long time yet. But talking is our only hope of making progress.

Finally, Be Nice!

Contrary to the oft-repeated assumption that pirates don’t care about authors, I think us bookworms know very well that we love our authors as much as our books. That’s why TUEBL seeks to balance the wishes of authors with the needs of the library community. And that’s why, even when we fundamentally disagree we do so with respect.

And with all that in mind…………..

See you there!

Radio AnonOps, 9PM EST

Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics, TUEBL. 3 comments

Is TUEBL legal?

It’s a common question about our friendly neighborhood ebook library. And fair enough. If something is awesome enough, there’s probably a law against it.

So let’s answer it once and for all with a resounding YES.

Under the current admins, TUEBL has always had a DMCA takedown process, which means it falls solidly into DMCA Safe Haven territory, just like YouTube or Google. In fact, TUEBL’s takedown process is more stringent than YouTube’s or Google’s! Every book page on TUEBL has a clearly-displayed DMCA button that an author can use should they object to their book’s presence in the library. The DMCA button takes the author to a form asking for basic information. (This provides a layer of accountability and helps to prevent abuse of the system.) Then, with that one step completed, the book is gone.

DMCA Safe Haven allowances for sites and service providers have been upheld over and over and over in U.S courts. As long as YouTube, Google, and every one else that simply carries user-submitted material is legal, then TUEBL is legal.

Of course, TUEBL supports the free sharing of books. Libraries are, after all, essential to both individuals’ and civilizations’ development. Libraries must survive. But survival means playing by the rules – even as you try to change them.