Don Marti

Wed 10 Feb 2010 07:04:00 AM PST

Should I delete this?

Someone sent me a copy of the great science-fiction story "Maneki Neko" by Bruce Sterling. (review). The story is about an alternate economy and information sharing, but it's not labeled Creative Commons and doesn't have any permissions attached to it. As far as I know, this story does have the first example of one person making a copy of free software for another. But I did a web search and haven't found a copy that's licensed for redistribution.

I own (bought new if it matters) the paperback story collection A Good Old-Fashioned Future in which it appears, so I have paid for a copy. But I didn't pay for this copy. Did someone commit copyright infringement by sending it to me? Probably. If I had typed in a copy myself, would it be permissible, as space or format shifting? Sure. But should I delete this copy?

(I wonder what would be involved in starting a company that sells legal DRM-free copies of science fiction stories. "WOULD YOU BUY IT FOR A QUARTER?" would be a good name for a company like that.)