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Developing Nations Licence
December 4th, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 1 ]

Awhile ago, I listened to a podcast by Cory Doctorow. For those of you who don’t know, Cory seems to be somewhat of science fiction writer who’s particularly liberal about copyright licenses. He recently published his latest sci-fi book under The Developing Nations licence. He says the following in the podcast:

If you live in a country that’s not on the world bank’s list of high-income nations, you can treat this work as though it were in the public domain and make an unlimited amount of money in anyway that you can think off of this work, provided you don’t re-export to the developed world.

He even goes on to say that using this licence drives sales:

I’m generating more sales of my printed books. Sure, giving away ebooks displaces the occasional sale but it’s far more common for a reader to download the book, read some or all of it, and decide to buy the print edition. I’ve given away more than half a million digital copies of my award-winning first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and that sucker has blown through five print editions (yee-HAW!), so I’m not worried that giving away books is hurting my sales.

Though it does depend on what the World Bank deems as a developed/developing nation, this makes sense to me. For years, top industry players, like the Microsoft/RIAA’s of this world, have waved their anti-piracy banner. Especially pointed in the direction of Asia and Africa where piracy is rife. That just shows their myopic worldview in my opinion. Their problem is that they assume that for every piece of software pirated, they’ve lost a sale. When their product is reproduced, they haven’t lost anything, they don’t have a tangible product like a hardware manufacturer. It seems to me they have two options:

  • Continue selling software at a global price, ignoring the differences between economies, so that it
    • widens the gap between the developed nations and the developing nations
    • drives them away from their products
    • reduces future sales

or …

Well I’m sure you can guess the alternative. I know which one I would take.