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Author Topic: Should ebook users have any rights?  (Read 5222 times)
zridling
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« on: February 28, 2011, 12:16:30 PM »

ReadWriteWeb has a better question:  Do E-Book Users Need a Bill of Rights? (Librarians Think So.)
http://www.readwriteweb.c...f_rights_librarians_t.php



Publishers like HarperCollins are already jumping in and setting limits to what users can and cannot do with ebooks, viz., a lot less than you ever could with paper books! This includes broad DRM schemes that tie books to specific devices, composing them in proprietary formats, limiting the number of times they can be read, limiting whether they can be shared, and if so, for how long, and whether a distributor like Amazon can remotely delete your ebooks without your approval. Put simply, ebook consumers want to be treated with respect rather than as a pre-criminal. They suggest not buying DRM books in any form, which includes Google not letting you download the ePub file of purchased books.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 12:19:11 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 04:09:20 PM »

Put simply, ebook consumers want to be treated with respect rather than as a pre-criminal.

That goes for a LOT of things. Airports anyone?

The market is really hosed. The ability to remotely delete? That's WAAAAYYYY too far.
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 05:18:15 PM »

Let's see what happens if the book-salesman came back after, say, 1 month, and took back the books I bought earlier from my library, while I was sleeping. He wouldn't be selling books for some time then, he'd be in jail! (at least if I caught him, or in the hospital, I'm not sure yet undecided)
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 06:03:03 PM »

Let's see what happens if the book-salesman came back after, say, 1 month, and took back the books I bought earlier from my library, while I was sleeping. He wouldn't be selling books for some time then, he'd be in jail! (at least if I caught him, or in the hospital, I'm not sure yet undecided)

The unfortunate thing is that contract law is so entirely messed up. Basically, it allows for anything at all, and far from being ripe for abuse, it's main purpose (seemingly) is to abuse as much as possible.

So the book salesman who takes back the books isn't stealing. He's enforcing the contract (agreement/EULA).

It's approaching the same levels as patent law now. Not there, but getting there. e.g. "Spyware" isn't spyware if it discloses in an EULA what it does, and there's no recourse for the user as they've agreed to the terms of the EULA by clicking "I agree".

DRM is in the best interests of the company because the more limited your access to the product, the more money they can milk from you. A few little accounting tricks, and they can easily justify it because they "need to stay in business". Again, it's easy to see how the infinite growth model of market economics is very broken.

The problem goes very far beyond just DRM and ebooks. It's a systemic problem and what we're seeing here is simply 1 small symptom.
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wraith808
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 06:08:44 PM »

The problem with remotely deleting comes in large part from the comibination of hardware and software, I think.  I wonder if they have the same capabilities with the kindle app.
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 07:02:48 PM »

Remote deletion already happened on the Kindle.  Here's the NY Times article about it: Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2011, 07:13:49 PM »

Remote deletion already happened on the Kindle.  Here's the NY Times article about it: Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle

Quote
Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from the Detroit area, was reading “1984” on his Kindle for a summer assignment and lost all his notes and annotations when the file vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said.

Kid has a very good point there. I wish that he'd pressed criminal charges against Amazon. A conviction would send a message that I think is needed.

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wraith808
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 08:56:34 PM »

Remote deletion already happened on the Kindle.  Here's the NY Times article about it: Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle

Well, yes.  But my question was the kindle apps.  You know, for the PC, iPhone, Android... do they have the same sort of hooks in there?  Is it the Kindle as an e-book platform, or the Kindle as a hardware platform?
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zridling
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 10:39:21 PM »

Just because ebooks are in a digital format doesn't mean they should be treated with the same restrictions that govern OSX or MS Windows. You can't buy those, only license them. I don't want rent-a-book, I want own-a-book in a format I can take to any device, anytime, anywhere. In other words, the same liberties I have with a paperback.
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 10:55:10 PM »

Just because ebooks are in a digital format doesn't mean they should be treated with the same restrictions that govern OSX or MS Windows. You can't buy those, only license them. I don't want rent-a-book, I want own-a-book in a format I can take to any device, anytime, anywhere. In other words, the same liberties I have with a paperback.
This is not necessarily a <good> solution.  But why not buy the hardcover, and download the pdf's for your devices?  I just did that for Calvin and Hobbes collection, which I have every single version including the latest complete one.  But now I can read it on my ipad in a coffee shop (those books are HUGE).
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 02:39:29 AM »

These restrictions and the fact they want to charge as much as a real book stops me buying an e-reader.


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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 03:11:09 AM »

These restrictions and the fact they want to charge as much as a real book stops me buying an e-reader.

I think you're in good company there. I've bought ebooks, but the ones I buy generally aren't destroyed by DRM. (Apress etc.)
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 06:38:47 AM »

I see a problem here. The rights of the consumers vs the rights of the publishers.

A consumer should be able to keep whatever they own. Including lending and selling it to someone else. Just like a real book.

A publisher should be able to make sure that the book is only read by one person at a time. Just as a real book.

The only way to enforce the publisher/autor rights is by DRM. The only way to enforce the consumer rights is by not having DRM.

At the end. If up to the consumer to decide if they want to do business with someone that threats them as a potential criminal instead of a customer.

A pity we do not have a usable alternative in the case of airports. Keep your beard shave otherwise you have 90% more probability to end up in the "random" special checks. I know, I had to fly 20 times over a year and got a 18/20 average on the random check list smiley.

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jaden
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2011, 11:30:02 AM »

Well, yes.  But my question was the kindle apps.  You know, for the PC, iPhone, Android... do they have the same sort of hooks in there?  Is it the Kindle as an e-book platform, or the Kindle as a hardware platform?

That I don't know.
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2011, 05:54:37 PM »

At the end. If up to the consumer to decide if they want to do business with someone that threats them as a potential criminal instead of a customer.

This is the problem - they are all beginning to treat customers like criminals. Beginning of a DVD? FBI warning... etc. etc.

Soon, there will be no choice. The "customer as criminal" is becoming the norm.

A pity we do not have a usable alternative in the case of airports. Keep your beard shave otherwise you have 90% more probability to end up in the "random" special checks. I know, I had to fly 20 times over a year and got a 18/20 average on the random check list smiley.

Airports are pretty much beyond redemption now. If you've ever flown in the developing or 3rd world, it's actually a much better experience. They have security, but it's not like everyone is treated like a terrorist to start with.

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iphigenie
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2011, 04:57:03 AM »

They are not all treating the customer as a criminal and we MUST give our business to the ones who treat us right and walk away from the others, else perhaps one day the ones who treat us better will go "why bother?"

- I buy ebooks without DRM and in fairly standard formats only. no exception.

After all I tend to accumulate computers, and tend to buy open or bargain devices, so I dont want to buy something that limits where I install it, how many times I read it etc.

Thankfully there are too many books I might want to read so if one is not available except with DRM, I skip it - can always buy it on paper (used) or borrow it from the library.

I find that often the version you buy from the portals have single-device formats with DRM added (on some, even to public domain texts, what gives?) but often if you go on the author's or publisher's web site directly you can buy it in other formats

What I currently have ebooks from, all DRM free
- several subscription magazines
- books from baen, subterreanean press, angry robot (yes, well, it's all speculative fiction)
- tech books from manning, pakt and oreilly
- books direct from authors

I read them on the iriver Cover Story, which is a nice device that is fairly open in its format support

It does help if you can have the "too many books too little time" attitude (and similarly in music), the idea that you dont have to have this very specific tome and can just walk away if it is too expensive or too restricted...
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2011, 05:21:01 AM »

It would be annoying to artificially reproduce the "one at a time" for an ebook. There is no way to implement it in a way that does not cripple the medium in a way that makes it LESS FREE than the physical book.

"one at a time" is an illusion for books - and is just as arbitrary a limitation as "maximum 25 times". Both are limitations that physical books DO NOT HAVE, so why should ebooks have them imposed?

A paper book can be on a table and flipped through by many people within 10 minutes, it can be shared as a reference by several people in a house, office, study group. Even a paperback novel can be read in parallel by several people, if they don't read at the same time of the day (one in the evening, one in the afternoon or on the train to/from work etc). All of which is perfectly normally accepted use of a book in the world, but somehow should be illegal abuse in the electronic world.

No way an implementation would have that "swap in an instant, possibly 10 times an hour" flexibility, so many of these perfectly normal use behaviours with physical books will suddenly be made impossible and illegal for an electronic book - that is not protecting editors, that is power grabbing.

Of course publishers always dreamed that they could somehow prevent people from lending, reselling, sharing, loaning etc. books - and in the past they have tried to prevent these and failed. They tried to make libraries pay more for books, they tried to prevent used bookstores - and failed. Now we take these for granted.

And yet, here comes a new medium and they see an opportunity to try again



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zridling
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2011, 09:15:49 PM »

And yet, here comes a new medium and they see an opportunity to try again/.

Ask the music industry how much time, energy, and money that cost them while the world went right along without them. Napster won in the end. Maybe the book folks should talk to the long faces over at the RIAA.
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zridling
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2011, 08:29:27 AM »

Cory Doctorow says that ebook publishers aren't getting it: we want ebooks to last longer than library newspapers!
http://www.guardian.co.uk...ks-harpercollins-26-times

Ebooks have loads of demerits, especially as they are marketed to libraries. They are sold at full price, while print editions generally go at a hefty discount to reflect libraries' volume purchasing. They can only be read with certain, proprietary readers, something analogous to insisting that the libraries require patrons to read their books by the light of one preferred manufacturer's lightbulb. They can't be sold on as a library discard once the library no longer needs them for the collection.

But they have virtues, too. For example, they don't wear out. To pretend that this belongs on the "con" side rather than the "pro" side of the ebook chart is indefensible. You might as well argue that a surcharge should be assessed against paperbacks to offset the "losses" experienced by publishers when libraries buy them instead of the hardcover, or that charity shops should be obliged to apply fake rust to stainless steel cutlery to make up for the fact that it lasts longer than the non-stainless kind.

Of course ebooks don't wear out. Programming them to self-destruct after 26 checkouts is tantamount to asking librarians to embrace entropy. Anyone who thinks that this is going to happen has never spent any time with a librarian.
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zridling
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2011, 09:02:52 AM »

and more:

Will ebook Prices & Restrictions Lead to ebook Piracy?
http://www.readwriteweb.c...ns_lead_to_e-book_pir.php

(Answer to obvious headline question: Yes.)
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wraith808
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2011, 10:46:50 AM »

Librarians and Readers against DRM

http://www.techdirt.com/a...rarians-against-drm.shtml
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superboyac
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2011, 12:18:58 PM »

Quote
As Reddit threads are wont to do, the discussion of spendy e-books quickly changes direction as the first commenter asks, "Is it morally wrong to purchase a paper copy of the book and torrent the ebook?"

That's a good question, I think, and one debated not just by a bevvy of Reddit users in the thread, but answered by the ethicist Randy Cohen in The New York Times last year, who (in case you were wondering) said that pirating a copy of an e-book, one that you already own in print format - was not unethical.

Illegal, yes. Unethical, no.
What a frustrating situation to be in as a consumer.  On one hand, you don't want to do anything illegal.  On the other hand, attempting to do something that is ethical so that your needs are met is illegal.  Other than just taking it up the ass by the big companies, what else can we do?  Again, we are not trying to intentionally do something illegal.  I don't know...I can't think of a perfect solution.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2011, 05:25:31 PM »

What a frustrating situation to be in as a consumer.  On one hand, you don't want to do anything illegal.  On the other hand, attempting to do something that is ethical so that your needs are met is illegal.

I think people worry about this too much. Let's go back in time. Way back when the VCR was at the cutting edge of technology, people used to swap video tapes all the time. If you missed an episode of your favourite programme, you went into the office the next day and got a tape from someone who had recorded it.

This was entirely, unambiguously, unlawful (I'm talking about UK law here). But everyone did it. No one was ever prosecuted. Why? Because no court in the land would ever find someone guilty of a crime, and the copyright holders knew it.

Fast forward a few years, and people started making copies of their music CDs for personal use, as MP3s, or CD copies for the car, or whatever. Again entirely illegal. No prosecutions. Same reason. In fact, in the UK at least, the music companies have said that they will not prosecute people for copying their own CDs. Because they know it would be a waste of time.

The real problem here is that, in the UK at least, the copyright law is so out of date. The only protection given to consumers as far as copying copyrighted works is concerned is the right to record TV programmes to watch later. That's it. And that law is more than 20 years old. And because the government has failed to produce modern laws based on principles of fair use, people are having to make it up for themselves as they go along. That's not necessarily a bad thing. At least it seems to have worked so far.
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zridling
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2011, 10:19:44 PM »

But in order to read a kindle book, I need a kindle reader, right? ACTA alone is a dark new world designed to cut off access to works around the world. It's a shame this is the crap the US is exportting around the globe.
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wraith808
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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2011, 10:33:45 PM »

But in order to read a kindle book, I need a kindle reader, right? ACTA alone is a dark new world designed to cut off access to works around the world. It's a shame this is the crap the US is exportting around the globe.

Actually, you can use any kindle software- you don't have to buy the hardware.
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