Originally Posted by jragosta
Nonsense. Everyone has (essentially) a monopoly on their own work. They decide how to sell it. If they choose to go through a single publisher, that's their choice. Or they could choose to go through multiple publishers - using a different publisher for each book. Or they could choose to publish their own work. There's nothing unfair about that.
That's true, but it's up to the authors (and the publishers who represent the authors) to choose how they want to sell the product. If an author insists on ONLY paper copies, they can do that (if their publisher will agree). OTOH, an author can insist on only e-Books. They can choose to sign up for Amazon's model. They can choose to sign up for Apple's agency model. It's not up to the government or anyone else to tell someone how to sell their work.
Sorry, but while that's a nice scenario, it's just not the way the real world works. Self-publishing for an unknown author is not viable if they want anyone to actually discover and read their book. There are few publishers, and a lot of competition for which books get published, so a new author has to pretty much take what the publishers offer. That almost always involves an exclusive license to the copyright for the publisher, and very often rights to future work. Few authors can dictate the formats their book is published in, or under what model they are sold.
Authors, in general, with very few exceptions, simply aren't in a position to decide how their work is sold, and the publishing industry has always been like that, although, government grant of copyright is probably the single biggest change that benefited authors. The government is simply not the problem in the publishing interesting, as much as those of certain ideological bents like to blame it for all the worlds ills.