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"Webscabs" undercutting "Copy(far)righters"?

Galleycat reports today on an escalating firefight between SF writers Howard V. Hendrix (currently vice-president of SF Writers of America) and, well, lots of other people. Apparently Hendrix takes issue with the trend of SF writers who release e-book versions of their books for free prior to publication of the print version:

[Hendrix] referred to such writers as "webscabs," and accused them of "rotting our organization from within." He got more specific: "Webscabs claim they're just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they're undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work."

A flurry of SF writers weighed in on the argument - one of the most eloquent was John Scalzi, who wrote:

"I'm willing to bet a nice chunk of change that there isn't a single person he would point to that he can prove is undercutting themselves, other writers or the genre directly by using the online medium for promotion," Scalzi concluded. "I, on the other hand, can very easily show you an entire group of people and entities who are using freely-available work online to build the genre."

Time for Cory Doctorow to say something.
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