I don't know where I'm going
But, I sure know where I've been
That opening line to Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" (gah, I just quoted freakin' Whitesnake!) serves as a nice opener to a post where I have to stop and scratch my head in puzzlement. Although I am not a writer and probably never will be more than just a member of the internet blogging peanut gallery, the recent snafu that the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) found itself engaged in was enough to be mildly irritating.
For those who are not aware of the situation, a few months ago, a cease-and-desist letter was sent to an internet file swapping site, scribd, by the Vice President of SFWA, Andrew Burt, in regards to certain stories that were listed as being available. All fine and good...except Burt didn't follow proper procedures...and he demanded the removal of fiction by Cory Doctorow, who has made all of his work available via Creative Commons. Since I'm in an 1980s quoting kick, smooth move, ex-lax.
Lots of sniping by Doctorow and others later and SFWA's anti-piracy committee, headed by Burt, was disbanded pending a restructuring. Well, they restructured it alright, calling it the Copyright Committee. Its chairperson? Why no other than the highly-esteemed Mr. Burt himself.
Needless to say, there have been the usual expected uproars. Charles Stross has one that might not be safe for those who dislike profanities of any sort. Tobias Buckell has more links, plus the announcement that he's canceling his SFWA membership. John Scalzi, who once ran for SFWA President, has his own say on this. Needless to say, the majority of the writers who have an active web presence and who have written stories this century have come out in strong condemnation of this event.
Amazing how tenacious those who have a scrap of power can be in spite of the general constituency being against their actions and policies. Shall be interesting to see what the fallout will be.