My response to the lady who published people’s toots without license, permission, or compensation. You know the one.
Candidly, I find it really hard to believe you regret this decision. Why do I say this?
As I understand it, half of your job involves identifying interesting talent, then persuading them that you should be the single entity in the universe with the legal right to publish and sell their work.
Unless this is the first book you’ve ever published, “regret” is not the verb I would have chosen; “hoped I’d get away with” suits me better.
However slight this particular bit of my work may be, your publishing it without my permission in a copyrighted book that you’re selling puts me in a really awkward position.
S—. Friend. Bubeleh. This is not the kind of fuck-up that a grownup tries to fix with a template email.
If you really knew how stupid and potentially damaging your decision was, you’d pull the book from the market today, then invest in an extremely competent team of attorneys.
Do I want a free copy of your book? Sure. Assuming it arrives crosscut-shredded and made finally useful as unlicensed packing material.
To be clear: no, I’m not going to sue you. Although, it’d be a fun way to throw Gabe the kind of red meat that keeps his teeth so wonderfully needle-sharp.
No, I wouldn’t do that, because on one level, I really could care less about this whole matter. With respect, your project is, in the words of the great Hyman Roth, “small potatoes.”
The point you missed, in my case, is that I already give away almost everything I make for free.
Now, just to be clear, let me unpack the three most salient parts of that previous statement:
So, no, S—. Even my “tweets” aren’t “nothing” unless I say they are. Which I did not.
I accept that you probably don’t get this—that for an independent little nobody like me, that third part is far and away the most important point here.
Because when some dick weed uses and sells my stuff without permission, I seldom lose anything more than theoretical (non-)money from a junk project that’ll be forgotten in a month or two. Whatever. Happens every day. Don’t care. Nope.
But. When somebody creates the indelible impression that I relinquished control of my work in the service of that complete piece of shit when I did not? Well. That, to use an old publishing term, is fucking bullshit.
So, thanks for the form letter, and good luck reattaching whatever is left of your ass to whatever is left of your pelvis.
May I conclude by suggesting that your next edition of pilfered work be a child’s dictionary?
Because, it may provide you a career-changing bit of kismet to learn that “regret” suggests an apologetic and deeply held feeling of wishing you could un-do something dumb that you shouldn’t have done in the first place.
If that is what you had intended to say, then how about you get off your Aeron, and go fix this today? With more than a fake apology through a form letter.
Truth is, the folks whose toots you yoinked will all be fine either way; in the longer term, the thing people will best remember about your regrettable errors was the way you chose to amplify them without actually fixing them.
An excellent word for that might be, “farcical.”