Australian bargain site Cudo, apparently co-run by Microsoft and Channel Nine, offers for an e-reader for sale, complete with a CD of 4,000 written works, the purported titles of which are here. If that title listing is correct on that CD, then tons of those books are under copyright, including what looks like hundreds of titles from SFWA members. Who I am pretty sure didn’t sign off on having their works burned onto a CD to be stuffed into an e-reader.
Dear Cudo: Are you fucking kidding me? Are you people genuinely stupid enough to do something like this? I’m guessing that even in Australia there’s such a thing as violation of copyright. The idea that a subsidiary of Microsoft and Australia’s second-ranking television network, two entities that probably get peeved at people violating their copyrights, would blithely sell a CD that is almost certainly packed with unauthorized versions of copyrighted works just simply boggles the mind. You are a big, fat, soft, obvious lawsuit target. And as of this writing, you’ve sold 2,054 units of this thing, which means that you have possibly engaged in up to eight million two hundred sixteen thousand acts of copyright violation. That’s pretty impressive, it is.
Honestly, folks, I’m kind of agog on this. I have to believe that what we’re seeing here is a genuine and colossal mistake, because the other option is that Cudo is treating hundreds of living, working writers and their work with actual contempt. Either way, it’s the sort of 200-proof stupidity you just don’t see that much of anymore. And either way, I want to take whoever it was who approved this item for sale and keelhaul him (or her) across the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef. Whether by ignorance or by contempt, Cudo is very likely screwing a whole bunch of writers. These writers deserve better. And, of course, they deserve to be paid.
Update, 6:30 am 2/29: Cudo gets a clue.