The Objectivism Research CD ROM: The Works of Ayn Rand


RightJungle

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I ordered "The Objecvtivism Research CD ROM: The Works of Ayn Rand" on June 11, 2009 through Amazon.com. Their website has just left the order sitting there open and they've never sent out a notice that it was suspended. I check on it every once in while and so when I went looking for it from some other source, I found a notice at The Obectivist bookstore that it had been suspended.

Does anyone know about this, or know why it was offered and then withdrawn? I learned to like this info format after I bought George Reisman's CD ROM of "Capitalism", so seeing this one slip away has been pretty disappointing.

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The licensing agreement between the Estate of Ayn Rand and Oliver Computing had a time limit. From what I had been told by those involved, it was only for ten years.

That disk, o'course, is not the only source of searchable electronic versions of Rand's works. ... 'Nuff said.

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If I remember correctly the discussion here about this CD ROM, those that had purchased it commented that while the advertised description of its contents claimed that it contained and indexed all articles contained in Rand's nonfiction books (e.g., The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, etc.) it, in fact, did not include the articles in those books that were written by Nathaniel Branden. This sounded to me like another instance of the ARIans attempting to re-write history - and Objectivism - by airbrushing-out articles and people that were persona non grata to the ARIan "party line." At that point, I lost interest in obtaining a copy.

However, if you wish to obtain a copy, you may find it on eBay or similar sites. Also, some libraries, particularly university libraries, may have a copy in their collections.

And Greybird - re your cryptic (to me, anyway) reference to other "searchable electronic versions of Rand's works"......is this a reference to using Google? Another search engine? Yet another CD ROM? Or some other, more obscure, methods? Please enlighten us.

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[...] And Greybird - re your cryptic (to me, anyway) reference to other "searchable electronic versions of Rand's works" ... is this a reference to using Google? Another search engine? Yet another CD ROM? Or some other, more obscure, methods? Please enlighten us.

I'm presuming that our hosts won't cotton to my own long-growing skepticism about "intellectual property," its propriety as a governmental artifact or coherence as a concept. Or how the State over-enforces its laws in that respect.

So I'll give you just one more word by way of clues, Jerry amigo. "BitTorrent." Now, really, 'nuff said.

As to essays by Branden, et al., being omitted from this disk: It's a different publisher from that of the original books, Signet/NAL (now Penguin Group). So Peikoff didn't have to observe the contracts that Rand once signed, and he could leave out the non-Orthodoxers' writings. Nothing legally compelled him to be honest, in other words.

And as to this whole thread: It really belongs in "ARI Corner," methinks. This CD-ROM is an ARIan and worshipful product if ever there was one.

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Steve,

I'll expand on that. Torrents are not illegal, although the things on them often are (depending on the jurisdiction).

A torrent is different than a normal download site because people who obtain copies of files often leave the files recorded on their hard disk in a special folder, and leave their computer conntected to the Internet, so that other people using the torrent service can access them.

A special download program (part of the torrent concept) allows a person to get a piece of a file from one place, another piece from another place, and so on. So if you download something from a torrent that has, say 65 seeders (a seeder is a computer that has the file in the special folder I mentioned and is connected to the torrent), you will download it in different pieces from 65 different people's computers. (A computer downloading the file is charmingly called a "leecher." :) )

If you download a copy from a torrent, it will be an identical copy to the original because computing information is done in bits and bytes. Essentially it doesn't matter where you get a byte from. If the 0-1 configuration is the same, it will do the same thing on your computer (or CD, or DVD, etc.) as another copy of it obtained from somewhere else.

There are several popular torrent sites that are open to the public. There's the Pirate Bay (which is still going despite recent legal problems in Sweden), Mininova and a few others. Search for "Ayn Rand" on any of these sites and you will find her works, the Passion DVD, etc.. I don't advocate getting her works from torrents, but they are available and, despite a lot of empty bluster from certain legal groups, so much in use that it is silly to pretend that they are only something used in the underworld. They are widely used by just plain old normal folks.

From an Internet marketing angle, there are several ways to make money from them without touching a copyrighted work (or touching if you are so inclined). Believe it or not, this has caused a spam problem on torrent sites. :)

There are also private torrents where you have to pay to get in or jump through some hoops. These private sites pose a huge headache for the anti-torrent crusaders because they work from the premise that members in a private group are sharing their own property with the others, just like you would provide a book to a membership library.

One of the best programs to use to access torrents is called uTorrent. It's free, small and easy to learn.

One real downside to using torrents is the risk of getting viruses and trojans. You won't be infected just by leeching a file, but on opening it, you better have your protections in place. Another is the proliferation of pictures of naked girls usually found on torrent sites, all saying they want to chat with you. :)

There's the basic information. Use it at your own risk and conscious.

Michael

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for the information provided. As far as Peikoff's death hold on the Ayn Rand intellectual estate is concerned, I have to accept it because Property rights are to be protected along with all of the other rights. I just didn't know about the expiring contract and the person who put the announcement on the web site didn't spell that out. Now I know.

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I have a couple friends who've tried to get this CD, too, and have run into the same issue. I think it's complicated by the fact that Oliver Computing holds the copyright on the database/search engine program that it comes with and would prefer to keep selling it, but the Estate didn't renew the copyright on the content, so you'd need permission from both to even make a legal copy to give to a friend.

Rumors I've heard indicate that the Estate is working on getting a 'digital media' deal figured out but that the legalities are complex. This doesn't surprise me too much, but it sure makes me angry because it's such a useful product and I would like my friends to be able to legally get a copy.

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  • 1 month later...

Gee music is so much easier. If I want to copy something that's already published, all I have to do is pay the mechanicals to Harry Fox in New York.

Two comments:

Steve, when I released my first CD (The Art of the Duo, still available on CDBaby and Amazon, full CD and individual track downloads) in 2003, I paid mechanicals on all but 2 of the pieces (one public domain, the other my own piece). Harry Fox got most of the mechanicals, but I paid mechanicals for one piece to Dave Brubeck.

This time around, I am releasing a CD (probably in February or March 2010) that is mostly ~my~ compositions. One copyrighted piece is an old trombone solo by Sammy Nestico, and I just paid mechanicals to him. The other two are part of a medley/composite I am making out of Vincent Young's "When I Fall in Love" and Stevie Wonder's "I Believe When I Fall in Love with You, It Will Be Forever." Those mechanicals will likely go to Harry Fox.

The fun and fulfilling aspect of the "paperwork" for this new CD is putting together a "collection" of my four original pieces and a piece I co-wrote with my trombone teacher, and submitting it for copyright to the Feds. For whatever reason, it ~really~ feels cool to be doing this. More to come, too!

As for the Objectivism Research CD ROM, it was helpful while it lasted, but mine won't work now, and I can't get a replacement. So, grrrr. If there had been some way to back the data up and be able to use it, that would have been nice; but I wasn't savvy enough to explore that possibility. So, again, grrrr.

REB

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