the binbrook caucus BY PETER SCHAFFTER

The decision to post The Binbrook Caucus online under a Creative Commons licence prior to it being picked up by a publisher was not an easy one. The usual procedure is to have a work accepted for publication first, then to petition the publisher for permission to licence it online. Some might call my switching things around a form of writerly suicide. But what's the point of having principles if you don't stick to them?

I'm a champion of copyleft. I support the principles of the Creative Commons. I advocate the right of artists to build on other artists' work. And I despise the notion that writers are “content providers” in the media production line. Publishers exist for writers, not the other way around.

The publishing industry needs to change its thinking about the Web. Instead of shunning author-posted works, publishers should be scouring the Web for buzz—on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums—and offering hot authors contracts. There will always be a call for books; readers prefer the solidity of cloth and paper even when a digital copy is available for free. In fact, indications are that online versions of a book actually stimulate the sale of hard copies.

I'm also a passionate supporter of free, open-source software. If you'd like to learn which open-source tools were used in the creation of The Binbrook Caucus, click Pure open source , at right. Otherwise, click the Reading page button and enjoy.