The Science Fiction Writers Of America have occasionally been a source of amusement to me, as they essentially comport themselves as enemies of art and the future. After their last major balls-up — involving the misuse by one Dr Andrew Burt of DMCA to cause a website to remove works SWFA actually had no jurisdiction over — they disbanded the “epiracy” committee Dr Burt ran and put together an exploratory committee to make an informed, expert recommendation on the SWFA’s official policy on copyright and file-sharing. Charlie Stross let himself get talked into joining that committee and working on the formal report.
The recommendations of the committee are here.
Committee chair John Scalzi is less pissed off than Charlie. Scalzi offered himself as a write-in candidate for SWFA president earlier this year, saying of the current incumbent, Michael Capobianco:
I believe that based on what I’ve read from him Mr. Capobianco is fundamentally afraid of the changing publishing world, and the changes in the world of speculative fiction, and that this fundamental position will cause him to make his tenure as SFWA backward-facing and defensive, rather than forward-thinking and innovative. This will make SFWA even more irrelevant to working writers — that is, the people who are shaping science fiction — than it already is.
Simply put, the professional organization of speculative fiction should not be headed by people who believe their job is to hold back the future… I believe similar things about Andrew Burt, who is the fellow running for Vice-President…
I am not a member of the SFWA. Well, I’m not American, for a start. Charlie’s a member because he has, obviously, an interest in writing and selling sf in America. I imagine he’s reconsidering the utility of that membership tonight.
I imagine this story will go ballistic once Cory gets around to writing about it…