Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site October 22, 2014, 01:23:54 AM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
Learn about the DonationCoder.com microdonation system (DonationCredits).
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia  (Read 9252 times)
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« on: June 05, 2012, 07:41:12 PM »

This looked like it could be a really interesting article for booklovers (ebooks/hardcopy): The Library of Utopia
It seems to embrace, or is relevant to, quite a lot of the various discussions we have had in the DCF re Amazon and other book and ebook publishers, and copyright issues.

What a great pity that these things still seem to block the realisation of the ideal supposed by H.G.Wells - humanity having access to "all that is thought or known".
Still waiting for the discovery of the Cayce's mythical Atlantean "Hall of Records" - the supposed library that is buried under the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt...
...tum-ti-tum...       undecided
Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 09:44:47 PM »

Interesting article.

After a warmup around some issues like libaries, it gets to the meat of it all: Copyright.

"It's the same question that confronted Google Book Search and that bedevils every other effort to create an expansive online library: how do you navigate the country's onerous copyright restrictions? "The legal problems are staggering," Darnton says. "
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 09:03:02 PM »

There is a really interesting development in the saga of the antitrust moves against the Apple-Amazon-et al price-fixing cartel - the independent publishers have banded together and taken some deliberate action to encourage the possibility of a more positive outcome for both publishing and consumers.

The situation is summarised in this thought-provoking article in theatlantic.com:
In E-Book War, the Independent Publishers Strike Back
Quote
Jul 3 2012, 12:30 PM ET

In the fight between Apple, Amazon, the government, and publishers to set prices for electronic books, independents were overlooked. Now, they're banding together and voicing complaints.
bookstoreee.jpgGarrett Gill/Flickr

To briefly recap: In April, the Department of Justice filed anti-trust cases against Apple and five publishers -- Penguin Group USA, Hachette Books Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan -- alleging that they had joined in a scheme to raise the price of newly released and bestselling e-books. Three of the publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster -- insisting they had done nothing wrong, settled with the DOJ rather than undergo protracted and extremely expensive litigation and accepted stringent terms on future pricing strategies. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan refused to settle, and U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote has set a trial date for June 3, 2013.

Now, nine of the country's leading independent publishers have taken a bold step, and deserve public recognition for their action. On June 25, they submitted a cogent, twenty-page comment to the court objecting to the Department of Justice's settlement with the three publishers on the grounds that it would "adversely impact competition -- harming independent publishers, authors, booksellers and consumers -- and should be rejected." The case itself would still go forward, unless it is dismissed by the judge or is settled in some way that remains to be devised. At first glance, this may seem like a complex legal dispute far outside the general concerns of most bookbuyers. But stay with me and hopefully you will appreciate why the publishers deserve credit, and why this contentious issue matters to readers.

At the core of the case is the role of Amazon, which has dominated the e-book market since its release of the Kindle in 2007 set off the enormous surge in digital reading. Publishers, booksellers, and authors generally agreed that Amazon's practice of selling bestsellers and many newly released e-books at below the price they were paying to publishers was to encourage Kindle sales and, eventually, to monopolize the market by driving any potential competitors into untenable losses. The dispute is essentially over how e-book prices should be determined: by the retailer under the longstanding practice known as "wholesale" pricing, or by the publisher in the "agency" model, in which the bookseller takes a commission on each sale. The Department of Justice contends that the publishers colluded to satisfy Apple's preference for agency pricing when the iPad was unveiled in 2010. Unexpectedly, the agency concept came to be seen as a way to expand opportunities for bookselling and to limit Amazon's ability to undercut the prices of its competitors.

As the iPad gained in popularity and other e-readers became available, Amazon's share of the e-book market dropped from 90 percent to about 60 percent. Then came the DOJ suit that was widely interpreted by most publishing industry insiders and observers as a likely boost for Amazon, assuming it once again would be permitted to lower any prices below what other retailers could afford. While Judge Cote decides whether to accept the Department of Justice agreement with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, there was a sixty-day period for comments to be submitted by parties with an interest in the case in an effort to influence the outcome.

Complaints came from major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and members of the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent booksellers. Their arguments were all similarly focused on the belief that the agency model had actually increased "competition and diversification" in the e-book marketplace and encouraged innovation in the brick-and-mortar stores, which were under intense pressure from Amazon's practices. But until the final hours of June 25, the close of the comment period, publishers restrained themselves from speaking out, reluctant to antagonize Amazon, which has a reputation for responding aggressively to criticism.

That brings me back to the nine independent publishers who finally took a stand: Abrams Books, Chronicle Books, Grove/Atlantic Inc. Chicago Review Press, Inc, New Directions Publishing Corp., W.W. Norton & Company, Perseus Books Group (where I work), the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, and Workman Publishing. The five publishers accused in the DOJ case plus Random House (which managed to avoid becoming a target by adopting agency pricing months after the others) are known in industry parlance as "The Big Six," and together they account for about half of total trade book sales. In their comment, the independent publishers asserted that, "in aggregate, according to market data published by Nielsen BookScan the independents accounted for approximately 49 percent of total trade book sales nationwide in 2011." A significant portion of those sales were through Amazon, which is why their decision to challenge the settlement and incur the possible wrath of this retailing giant is courageous. Here in some detail is the independent publishers' position:
Quote
_______________________________________
If the agency model is effectively banned, Amazon will have the ability to price whole categories of e-books below cost in a way that is likely to drive out competition from other less deep-pocketed booksellers as well as brick and mortar booksellers. DOJ, however, has completely ignored the Independent Book Publishers. DOJ never contacted or sought to collect information from the Independent Book Publishers as part of its investigation that led to the filing of the lawsuit at issue. And the proposed settlements . . . demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Independent Book Publishers and, indeed of the publishing industry as a whole. By effectively banning the agency model for the settling publishers, the proposed settlements would harm rather than enhance competition--enabling one large retailer (Amazon) to regain a monopoly or near monopoly position through below-cost pricing.
_______________________________________
Using language that in legal terms is very strong, the publishers objected to the proposed settlement as lacking "adequate factual basis" and "contrary to the public interest." The outcome of this case will have a profound impact on how books are sold in the digital era, but at least these nine publishers have made it clear where they stand: in favor of robust competition. And that is why they deserve our thanks.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 08:54:16 AM »

This took me by surprise:
Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice
Quote
Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 03, @08:46AM
from the over-and-over-and-over dept.

Sique writes:
"An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licenses allowing the
use of his programs downloaded from the internet. The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a license is exhausted on its first sale. This was decided [Tuesday] (PDF) by the Court of Justice of the European Union in a case of Used Soft GmbH v. Oracle International Corp.."

At the time I posted the above, I wondered if the concept might extended to ebooks at some stage.
Interesting and thoughtful take on that idea at the blog on goodereader.com: Used eBooks may be a Reality Soon
Quote
Jul. 05 2012
By Michael Kozlowski

North America and Europe are rife with used bookstores that provide a significant amount of people deeply discounted books. In the digital realm, publishers have been against the very notion of used eBooks. They have taken extreme measures in encrypting their digital products so only the original purchaser can ever use them. If you try and give your eBook to a friend they won’t be able to read it because it normally asks for the credit card used on the original purchase.  The notion of used eBooks may be a reality soon as a new ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. They announced today that a license agreement for a digital product can be resold between customers.

The court case in Europe stemmed from a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft. The essence of the deal was that Usedsoft acquired a ton of Oracle licenses for their various products and resold them to customers. Oracle, obviously was not pleased with them doing this and petitioned the court to side in their favor.  The German courts served their ruling today and it could open up the floodgates for the ability to sell used ebooks.

The High Court press release stated that “Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a license agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that right-holder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the license agreement prohibits a further transfer, the right-holder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy. He can therefore download onto his computer the copy sold to him by the first acquirer. Such a download must be regarded as a reproduction of digital product that is necessary to enable the new acquirer to use the program in accordance with its intended purpose.”

This case has broadening repercussions to the used video game and eBook industry. It shows that digital content can be sold to a 3rd party, as long as the seller does not use the product anymore, which would violate the original licensing agreement. It really sets a precedent, that the transfer of ownership can be directly applied to digital products.
That last phrase - exactly. I hope it's not wishful thinking.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 08:51:05 AM »

I don't like this: Is Big Brother Watching You Read?
Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 09:00:53 AM »

Yeah, ebook readers shouldn't be examining your reading habits and then reporting that info anywhere. Plus, if some company gets hacked that kind of database can become blackmail city.

Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 09:07:02 AM »

Iain, the tricky part of the used software/ebook is that proving that you don't have / can't use your copy that you just sold requires some kind of DRM lock.

You know what show is starting to feel quaint these days to me? Star Trek. We're basically in the early throes of the Replicator, and 3d printing is catching up. Let's give the Original Series a break for being in happy go lucky 1960's, but anyone else notice that basically *none* of the series really ever dealt with copyright?
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 09:25:01 AM »

...the tricky part of the used software/ebook is that proving that you don't have / can't use your copy that you just sold requires some kind of DRM lock.
...
Yes, I can see that. It's apparently a requirement of the DR owner. It's a monopolistic anachronism, like DVD zoning, held onto by the monopolies like grim death. It stands in the way of - blocks - economic market reformation.
Logged
Stoic Joker
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 5,322



View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 11:32:44 AM »

All that futzing about with the document will most assuredly have an adverse effect on the the user experience/device performance. We get a laggy reading experience and they get to shove a flashlight up our asses.

There is no good use for this technology.
Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 11:52:57 AM »

All that futzing about with the document will most assuredly have an adverse effect on the the user experience/device performance. We get a laggy reading experience and they get to shove a flashlight up our asses.

There is no good use for this technology.

Of course it will.

Hoping I get the phrasing right, DRM "auto-removal" tech is an important part of the discussion because it seems to be a big part of why it's called the First *Sale* doctrine, and not just people selling their own bootlegs. So yes it's an "important" use, just not any fun for the user vs. the pirate copy etc.

What I really wish would happen is if a cultural shift made "the new hotness" to be Creative Commons licensing, then all this copyright stuff would be like wearing bell bottom pants (and not as a retro joke).

But we're just barely beginning to get a little sense going on IP issues. Looping a bit broadly, Google-Oracle ended up with the correct outcome, Judge Posner threw out Apple's case against Motorola, the UK judge said that the slide to unlock gesture isn't infringing, and we beat ACTA. So back on topic, any useful solution to ebooks will only emerge in a climate of sanity. And however much I like playing "Infinity of Evil" with Renegade, it looks like we're at least back to "Slightly less infinitely evil".
Logged
Stoic Joker
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 5,322



View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 01:18:33 PM »

What I really wish would happen is if a cultural shift made "the new hotness" to be Creative Commons licensing, then all this copyright stuff would be like wearing bell bottom pants (and not as a retro joke).

But I like bell bottoms, they fit much better over my engineer boots. smiley

Besides, now is a bad time to blink on the IoE front. We need to keep pushing for a scorched earth solution that completely evaporates the **AA crowd.
Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2012, 01:44:56 PM »

What I really wish would happen is if a cultural shift made "the new hotness" to be Creative Commons licensing, then all this copyright stuff would be like wearing bell bottom pants (and not as a retro joke).

But I like bell bottoms, they fit much better over my engineer boots. smiley

Besides, now is a bad time to blink on the IoE front. We need to keep pushing for a scorched earth solution that completely evaporates the **AA crowd.

(P.s. What is IoE?)

Unfortunately there really isn't a scorched earth solution, because we can't stop that huge list of revolving **AA gang that went into this administration. (Trivia Question - what is Al Gore up to lately? Do we have any indication he would have gone either into the War on Terror or Copyright Mania? Is THIS the true cost we paid when we didn't get him in 2000?)

I was serious about the Creative Commons thing - get the "Cool Kids" to suddenly change vectors and if it snowballs properly it COULD really throw a wrench in things. It's possible in our social media age - it feels to me like the SOPA situation - get just the right players and a few big corporate guns and suddenly it could explode.

I don't know a lot about Mitt Romney but I can't imagine he'll be any great advocate of net freedom - that was supposed to be Obama, and I really didn't see this extent of **aa pandering coming back during the campaign.

Someone with a deep pocket just has to decide that they stand to gain if they go the other way, and then slowly the small events will begin to matter until there's some kind of watershed that people will later point to.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 06:46:54 AM »

In my mind's idea of the The Library of Utopia there would be a special section dedicated to SciFi - which I have always enjoyed reading since childhood.
I just read that Singularity & Co. are helping to recover/revive orphaned SciFi as ebooks...per this post from goodereader.com:
(Post copied below, but do visit the website - if you haven't already. It is very interesting and worth subscribing to.)
Quote
Singularity & Co. is Saving Sci-Fi Through Digital Publishing
By Mercy Pilkington
2012-08-14

While current science fiction writers are enjoying the wealth of opportunities that digital publishing affords its authors, last week’s opening of the New York City brick-and-mortar bookstore Singularity & Co. is doing more than giving authors a platform for their new works. Rather, it aims to revive out of print and lost titles through ebook formats.

“We started with a simple but ambitious mission,” said marketing editor Kaila Helm-Stern in an interview with GoodeReader. “The co-founders [Ash Kalb, CiCi James, and Jamil Moen] realized there wasn’t a science fiction orientated space in New York anymore, but also that there was a missed opportunity to use the boom in digital publishing to rescue out of print, older, and forgotten titles. A lot of titles have been undiscoverable outside of used bookstores for decades, if not longer.”

For the staff of Singularity, it sometimes involves tracking down the authors or even their estates, which is actually helpful since they are also interested in the back story of how the book came to be. A Kickstarter campaign helped the founders to acquire the physical space and shed the old-fashioned idea of a bookstore by building it in conjunction with the technology of reading and publishing.

“We’re actually creating all of the ebooks in house. One of our partners is a copyright lawyer and he’s in charge of getting the authors and estates their money for payment. We create the ebook here with exciting new copies of their covers, since one of the things that’s great about these old, vintage pulps is the cover art.”

The ebooks are sold through the store’s website, but the physical space has been built as a haven for old and young science fiction fans, giving them a space similar to those that gaming fans and comic book aficionados have enjoyed for years.

“In terms of the actual physical bookstore, we’re happy to open it up to the community, but for the internet side, it’s kind of the most exciting part of our business model. The internet has really opened up the ability for us to have these books reach thousands, if not millions, of people who might not have seen them before. There’s also a really fast growing group of young people through online communities who are discovering sci-fi and fantasy, but there’s also the old guard of sci-fi fans who are discovering us on the computer. It’s great to cater to both the old fans and the new ones.”

Eventually, Hale-Stern and the founders are looking down the road to incorporating a print-on-demand model in the store to provide physical copies of long lost texts, but for now, the ebooks will have to fill the need for hardcore sci-fi historians’ tastes.

“We’re trying to blend the old and the new in terms of a publishing model, and make something exciting. We’re seeing the hunger for the book as a physical object.”
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2012, 03:02:25 PM »

It seems as though we might not be able to expect publishers to play straight when it comes to prizing their fingers off the old business models and cartels, despite being taken to task by the courts in Europe - at least that seems to be one of the inferences to be drawn from this report from Digital Book World: (copied sans embedded hyperlinks and with my emphasis added)
Quote
Mystery in the EU E-Book Price-Fixing Settlement
Categories: Industry News   
September 20, 2012 | Jeremy Greenfield

Four major publishers and Apple have agreed to a settlement with the European Commission over the issue of e-book price-fixing.

It’s much like the settlement Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster entered into with the Justice Department, so we won’t go into details.

There is a mystery here, though: Macmillan and Apple are part of this settlement and they weren’t part of the settlement in the U.S. Why did Macmillan and Apple decide to settle in Europe but will go to court next summer in the U.S.?

Macmillan told The Bookseller, “it is in the best interests of our European business.” Apple has been mum.

If the settlement is approved (there is a month-long public comment period), we could have Macmillan playing the agency game in the U.S. and using a different model in the EU.

So, probably no surprises there then.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 07:45:28 AM »

Whoopee! An interesting and (IMO) positive development covered by Ars Technica: Court rules book scanning is fair use, suggesting Google Books victory
(Post copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Court rules book scanning is fair use, suggesting Google Books victory
Judge rules for Google's library partners in lawsuit brought by Authors Guild.
by Timothy B. Lee - Oct 11, 2012 3:15 am UTC

The Author's Guild has suffered another major setback in its fight to stop Google's ambitious book-scanning project. The Guild lost a key ally when Google settled with a coalition of major publishers last week. Now a judge has ruled that the libraries who have provided Google with their books to scan are protected by copyright's fair use doctrine. While the decision doesn't guarantee that Google will win—that's still to be decided in a separate lawsuit—the reasoning of this week's decision bodes well for Google's case.

Most of the books Google scans for its book program come from libraries. After Google scans each book, it provides a digital image and a text version of the book to the library that owns the original. The libraries then contribute the digital files to a repository called the Hathitrust Digital Library, which uses them for three purposes: preservation, a full-text search engine, and electronic access for disabled patrons who cannot read the print copies of the books.

There are four factors the courts consider in fair use cases. Judge Harold Baer sided squarely with the libraries on all four factors.

Probably the most important factor is the first factor: the "purpose and character" of the use. The courts have held that "transformative" uses are generally fair. For example, it's fair use for a search engine to display thumbnails of copyrighted images in search results. Judge Baer ruled that the libraries' intended uses for its digital copies are similarly transformative.

"The use to which the works in the HDL are put is transformative because the copies serve an entirely different purpose than the original works: the purpose is superior search capabilities rather than actual access to copyrighted material," wrote Judge Baer. "The search capabilities of the HDL have already given rise to new methods of academic inquiry such as text mining." Similarly, Judge Baer noted, the scanning program allows blind readers to read the books, something they can't do with the original.

Also key is the fourth factor: the impact on the market for the works. While a book search engine obviously doesn't undermine the market for paper books, the authors had argued that a finding of fair use would hamper their ability to earn revenue by selling the right to scan their books. But Judge Baer rejected this argument as fundamentally circular. He quoted a previous court decision that made the point: "Were a court automatically to conclude in every case that potential licensing revenues were impermissibly impaired simply because the secondary user did not pay a fee for the right to engage in the use, the fourth factor would always favor the copyright owner."

The libraries' fair use argument is somewhat stronger than Google's because they are non-profit organizations with fundamentally educational missions. But significantly, Judge Baer did not rely heavily on this fact in siding with the libraries. Instead, he focused on the transformative nature of the libraries' use. And since Google is making virtually the same use of its own scanned copies of the books, it's a safe bet that there are some happy lawyers in Mountain View this evening.

The copyright scholar (and sometime Ars contributor) James Grimmelmann called the ruling a "near-complete victory" for the libraries. Indeed, he said, the decision "makes the case seem so lopsided that it makes the appeal into an uphill battle. Perhaps together with the AAP [American Association of Publishers] settlement, this is a moment for a reevaluation of the Authors Guild’s suit against Google. My estimate of the likelihood of settlement just went up substantially."
Logged
joiwind
Participant
*
Posts: 480


carpe momentum

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2012, 08:20:21 AM »

In the same vein (and in case you don't know it - but maybe it was mentioned here before ?) book lovers should visit The Open Library : you'll spend many happy hours browsing and reading.
Logged

.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,724



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2012, 09:10:12 AM »

re: Open Library - it is an excellent resource. But new users need to be aware that (unlike Project Gutenberg) many titles that are listed on their website are not available for electronic or online reading. Additionally, many titles (mostly modern) that are listed and available electronically are also read-protected and only available to NLS/DAISY key holders.

As the FAQ explains:

Quote
If this is a library, why can I only read some of the books?

Unfortunately, most books remain unavailable in electronic form. For those books, we have only a record. Open Library is a long-term project to provide a complete catalog of all books and, incrementally, as many of those books as possible in freely available electronic form.


Nothing wrong with that IMO. But it's something you need to understand or risk being disappointed when you visit OL.
Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2012, 04:46:29 PM »

Looks like there's some money due back some to Amazon Kindle accounts.
(ArsTechnica post copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Amazon to customers: three publishers settled antitrust suit, expect refund
After Apple and five publishers were sued for price-fixing, three have settled.
by Megan Geuss - Oct 13, 2012 9:00 pm UTC

On Saturday, Amazon started e-mailing its Kindle customers, alerting them to a possible credit coming their way courtesy of Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster. The three publishers were pulled into an antitrust suit in April by the Department of Justice, along with two other e-book publishers (Penguin and Macmillan) and Apple, as part of a massive antitrust case that started after the EU began investigating e-book prices. 16 states filed their own antitrust suits against the publishers and Apple as well.

"Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices," Amazon’s notification reads, "Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books."

While the settlement still needs to be approved by the court at a hearing on February 8, 2013, Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have already set up a $69 million fund to pay back customers. According to Amazon, customers can expect a credit in the range of $0.30 to $1.32 for each eligible e-book the customer bought between April 2012 and May 2012 on a Kindle. Customers can also request the credit in the form of a check.

The news of the settlement is in keeping with rumors earlier this year that three publishers were in talks to settle the lawsuits, although it was unclear which of the five were discussing the matter. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan have not settled with the DoJ and will likely go to trial in 2013.

Amazon is clearly happy with the decsion, as it notes at the end of its e-mail, "In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future."
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2012, 02:14:46 PM »

Selection of FREE Microsoft eBooks: E-Book Gallery for Microsoft Technologies

Summarised:
Large collection of Free Microsoft eBooks for you, including: SharePoint, Visual Studio, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Office 365, Office 2010, SQL Server 2012, Azure, and more.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 03:47:55 PM »

In 2009 there was the Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle incident.
In 2012 there is the Why Did Amazon Close a Woman’s Account and Delete All Her Kindle Books? incident.

For those with long memories, these two separate and unconnected incidents might be a sharp reminder that what media/ebooks we buy on our Amazon Kindle account is not actually "ours" per se. That's because of DRM (Digital Rights Management). Essentially, it seems that you arguably do not really own anything that you have bought with DRM, and the apparent de facto proof to that argument lies in the above two incidents (QED).

Caveat emptor - "Let the buyer beware".
There have now been two salutary lessons from Amazon: (and they needn't necessarily have both come from Amazon to be lessons - it's just that Amazon obligingly provided those lessons by its actions; they are demonstrations of its real and potential power/reach)
1. The 1984 incident in 2009.
2. The Norwegian account wipe in 2012.

It is generally good advice that, after being tricked once, one should be wary, so that the person cannot trick you again.
Quote
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"

If you waited around twiddling your thumbs (i.e., doing nothing about it) for a third lesson before doing something to independently protect your property from what appears to be ad hoc and legalised theft, then you really would have only yourself to blame if/when it happens to you. That would seem to be self-negligent.

Question: What to do?
Answer: Avoid the risk by taking regular and incremental backups of all the accumulating media on your Kindle starting now:
  • Just take a separate, regular, incremental backup copy of all the media on the device, via USB connection to your Kindle.
  • Or make a regular, incremental backup copy of the contents of the Kindle PC application (if you have it installed) library - typically on C:\Users\UserName\Documents\My Kindle.

Thus you will have avoided the risk and got your property backed up and under your control.
You could then always restore the content (copy it back) to the device, if needed.
Question: But what if it then promptly gets deleted, or if Amazon (say) take exception to your taking this precaution and (say) threaten legal action or account deletion?
Answer: Well, I haven't tried it, but you could presumably avoid that risk by taking a further step, based on the advice in this informative and helpful Lifehacker post: How Do I Get Rid of the DRM on My Ebooks and Video?
It gives step-by-step directions for using Calibre and its de-DRMing plugins to sanitize your DRMed eBooks, so that they can be read on most other eBook readers - e.g., (say) the excellent Calibre PC application, or the Kobo and Nook devices, etc.
Quote
..."It seems like I could lose it at any time, or lose the ability to view something just because I switched devices. How can I get rid of the DRM so I can keep my own backups?"
...
..."[Since the '1984' incident in 2009 showed] that Amazon could wipe content they didn't have the license for, DRM is increasingly an issue with further reaching implications than simply keeping you from pirating content. Wiping content is one issue—but DRM also usually locks the media to your device or service—which means you often can't transfer your library between different devices."

Well, you can transfer it now, if you take the risk-averse approach outlined above.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 04:23:47 PM by IainB; Reason: Minor corrections. » Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2012, 08:02:43 AM »

Good e-Reader Radio – Penguin Merger, Microsoft Surface and Daily News
Quote
"Today on the show we talk about some of the details surrounding the Penguin and Random House merger. What it means to the industry and what type of control each company will have. This is a huge deal and the effects will reverberate throughout the industry for years to come."
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2012, 02:21:38 PM »

I am a keen and long-standing user of English dictionaries. My preferred dictionary is the Oxford series, and they have been my preferred digital dictionaries too. For years, I used to rely on a DOS-based version of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which also worked under Windows. Then I was given an upgrade to what was called "The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary", but the version I have doesn't work under Win7-64, so I don't have a client-based dictionary at present. I miss that, and find online dictionaries inconvenient to use, kludgy, slow and seemingly deliberately constrained.
However, the advent of digital dictionaries and other reference works has opened up a brighter potential future for them and us - a potential that did not really exist whilst they had to rest within the constraints and limitations of just being paper-based. Because of this, there is a natural technology-enabled trend to digitise reference works.
Thus I was not too surprised to read in goodEreader that: Macmillan Dictionary To Be Strictly Digital
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks.)
Quote
Macmillan Dictionary To Be Strictly Digital
By Mercy Pilkington - 2012-11-05

Macmillan announced today that it will be ending its print edition of the popular dictionary and opting for an online-only format, beginning next year. The new digital dictionary will be found at Macmillan Dictionary Online will be the new home of future updates to the dictionary.

Editor-in-chief Michael Rundell told Charlotte Williams of The Bookseller, “The traditional book format is very limiting for any kind of reference work. Books are out of date as soon as they’re printed, and the space constraints they impose often compromise our goals of clarity and completeness. There is so much more we can do for our users in digital media.”

Rundell basis for the announcement was that digital lends itself better to the kind of updating that dictionaries require. Rather than waiting several years for sales of the outdated dictionary to taper off enough to justify the expense of publishing another edition, the publisher can add new words to the online dictionary as they become recognized.

This news followed the announcement from HarperCollins earlier this year that it will be releasing its iconic Collins World Atlas as a digital edition for tablets, which allows the publisher to take advantage of the interactive benefits that tablets allow. The online destination for the Macmillan dictionary will continue to be found at MacmillanDictionary.com, along with other features that the publisher hosts at the site.
Logged
TaoPhoenix
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 3,584



0 - 60 ... then back to 0 again!

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2012, 03:06:38 PM »


For Dictionaries, I think I agree. I've almost never used one myself, and even book donation places say "no dictionaries"! If I want to know what some cutting edge word is, I don't think "let's go check the dictionary" - I get there faster with a web search. I see dictionaries as one of those things where you get one good one, and then it's good for 10 years.
Logged
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,790


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 10:14:06 PM »

Not sure whether this is a good thing:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote

EU Receives A Settlement Offer from Apple and Top Publishers

By Michael Kozlowski

The Justice Department in the USA earlier in the year launched an investigation against Apple and the big six publishers. The authorities were looking into the entire Agency model, where the publishers determined the price on the digital content. Most of the publishers settled out of court, while Apple, Macmillian and Penguin, continue to fight. The European Union also launched their own investigation a few months before the USA did. Today, the regulatory body has admitted they have received a proposed settlement offer from Apple and all six big publishers.

Apple and most of the big publishers have offered to let retailers set their own prices or discounts for a period of two years. This will allow companies like Amazon to establish their own prices again on eBook. Publishers intend on offering a “recommended price” and online retailers have flexibility in selling it at a discount. Penguin was the only big publisher that did not take part in the proposal.

“The Commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month,” the person said on Tuesday.
Logged
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,724



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2012, 06:52:59 AM »

Not sure whether this is a good thing:

Not IMHO.

It's only for two years and it avoids establishing case law precedent by not going to court.

I think it's once again a situation where the businesses have decided to play the 'long game' strategy (i.e. "He who fights and runs away..."), counting on the short attention span of federal regulators, and the constant political pressure being put on same to obtain quick resolution (as in any resolution - including token) rather than tough it out and get the matter settled conclusively. The proverbial "early arrest" and "quick trial" makes for good sound bites, and possibly some witty comment from Conan, on evening television. And that's what half of this is all about as far as the government is concerned.

Sad fact: One of the major flaws with the US government is how little time and thought are ever allocated to doing something right the first time. Mainly because there is a belief there will always be infinite amounts of time and money available to do something over.

Like my GF says: What do they care? Their attitude is that they're stuck in their crummy office 40 hours a week. Might as well do something to fill up the day while you're on the clock.

(Note: she currently works for the government, but has had academic and corporate work experience. She is constantly amazed at what goes on where she works. Her most repeated comment is: Most of these people wouldn't have lasted one day working for a company. They'd be out on the street without a job before lunchtime.)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 10:21:17 AM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.063s | Server load: 0.13 ]