Some of you may have been following the mini whirlwind around the publication of Chris Anderson’s new Book: Free: The Future of a Radical Price. There is a great review of this silly book in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell. Anderson is editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine . In Free, he appears to be arguing against artists, musicians and writers who are so insolent, audacious and out of step with the values of the New Economy and Web 2.0, that they continue to use the outdated paradigms of actually expecting to be paid for their work. He seems to believe that intellectual property inexorably is moving toward being free.
Well — apparently Mr. Anderson practices what he preaches –plagiarism, that is. After all, it is free. There is an article and a review in the Virginia Quarterly from June 23 that shows that Anderson included material without attribution that was lifted (mostly) from Wikipedia. The reviewer, Waldo Jaquith, found several dozen examples of direct and unattributed material.
Anderson wrote a rejoinder to Gladwell in his Wired Blog. He was shocked that Gladwell could simplify his thought so. In the blog, he didn’t mention his reliance on unattributed sources (if you can even call Wikipedia a source).
After the Virginia Quarterly exposed him, of course he cried crocodile tears and made his mea culpa. See New York Times.
You can download his entire book for free off of Scribd. He will be doing this until August 10. Nice guy, huh? A man who practices what he preaches.
Well, not exactly, no. Think about it. He isn’t giving it away for free. He has already been paid. According to Publisher’s Marketplace, Anderson received an advance of $500,000 for his previous book, The Long Tail. The advance for Free is not recorded in the data base. Presumably, the advance was significant. So Anderson has nothing really to lose by posting it for free on Scribd. He has been paid and probably, a pretty penny.
Since Anderson believes that ideas should be free, and since he has sold his ideas for considerably more, perhaps he should contribute some of this surplus and undeserved income to –hmm — maybe The Author’s Guild. After all, writers have a right to be paid for their work, don’t they?
Tags: Amazon.com, andy ross, andy ross agency, ask the agent, authors guild, chris anderson, free, gladwell, literary agent, Malcolm gladwell, plagiarism, SCRIBD, the long tail, virginia quarterly, wikipedia, wired