View Full Version : can there be a market for used digital content?


bwana
03-28-2010, 04:56 PM
When you buy something new and shiny, you pay more for it than if it were used. But the same analogy does not hold for digital content or intellectual property. Can you buy a 'used song' on itunes? a 'used album' a 'used ebook'?

If the concept of used does not apply, the the concept of 'new' cannot be defined. Since neither used nor new exist, then buying any intellectual property does not fit our understanding of the world.

But you say, we pay to go to school. Is that not the purchase of intellectual property? I would say no, it is like skiing or tennis lessons, you are buying a process.

I think this aspect of DRM has been neglected. Although DRM as it exists today is to prevent the use of 'unlicensed' media, its full potential has not been explored.

If I buy a song/book from iTunes that is new, I would pay real money for it, today that price is ~$1/$14. Apple could buy it back from me for 90 apple cents. Apple could revoke the song from my library. Apple cents could only be used to buy 'used' music.

Since apple knows i bought the song from them, then would know I am not selling them back a song that I got from elsewhere. Apple would only buy back songs they had originally sold to me. I could then use my apple cents to buy 'used' music from apple. By making the purchase of music easy, piracy is stunted. This model also recognizes the fact that the distribution of music electronically is far cheaper than traditional methods and therefore price should be decreased accordingly.

ardeegee
03-28-2010, 05:00 PM
There could be, but there would need to be some sort of re-certification program to guarantee that all the bits are intact. And if some bits have to be replaced, it should be labeled as "refurbished." There is nothing worse than buying used data and finding that the seller refused to disclose CRC errors!

TGS
03-28-2010, 05:01 PM
When you buy something new and shiny, you pay more for it than if it were used. But the same analogy does not hold for digital content or intellectual property. Can you buy a 'used song' on itunes? a 'used album' a 'used ebook'?

If the concept of used does not apply, the the concept of 'new' cannot be defined. Since neither used nor new exist, then buying any intellectual property does not fit our understanding of the world.

But you say, we pay to go to school. Is that not the purchase of intellectual property? I would say no, it is like skiing or tennis lessons, you are buying a process.

I think this aspect of DRM has been neglected. Although DRM as it exists today is to prevent the use of 'unlicensed' media, its full potential has not been explored.

If I buy a song/book from iTunes that is new, I would pay real money for it, today that price is ~$1/$14. Apple could buy it back from me for 90 apple cents. Apple could revoke the song from my library. Apple cents could only be used to buy 'used' music.

Since apple knows i bought the song from them, then would know I am not selling them back a song that I got from elsewhere. Apple would only buy back songs they had originally sold to me. I could then use my apple cents to buy 'used' music from apple. By making the purchase of music easy, piracy is stunted. This model also recognizes the fact that the distribution of music electronically is far cheaper than traditional methods and therefore price should be decreased accordingly.

You seem to have the seeds of a very good idea here (which will probably guarantee that the industry doesn't adopt it for at least another five years!), but it does get round one of the biggest issues for me with DRM - my inability to sell or give away a DRMed product.

mr ploppy
03-28-2010, 06:03 PM
From a publisher's perspective, the idea of only ever having ONE reader for every book sold is very attractive, and something they would not want to give up on.

The easiest solution to what you want would be to sell ebooks on physical media -- memory card, CD, etc. This would also appeal to people who like to put things on shelves, as well as people who want to minimise their reading costs by reselling them.

pendragginp
03-28-2010, 06:12 PM
From a publisher's perspective, the idea of only ever having ONE reader for every book sold is very attractive, and something they would not want to give up on.


But that isn't something they have now, what with libraries and used book stores. They're holding on to something that doesn't exist anyway in the real world.

PKFFW
03-28-2010, 06:50 PM
When you buy something new and shiny, you pay more for it than if it were used. But the same analogy does not hold for digital content or intellectual property. Can you buy a 'used song' on itunes? a 'used album' a 'used ebook'?

If the concept of used does not apply, the the concept of 'new' cannot be defined. Since neither used nor new exist, then buying any intellectual property does not fit our understanding of the world.

But you say, we pay to go to school. Is that not the purchase of intellectual property? I would say no, it is like skiing or tennis lessons, you are buying a process.

I think this aspect of DRM has been neglected. Although DRM as it exists today is to prevent the use of 'unlicensed' media, its full potential has not been explored.

If I buy a song/book from iTunes that is new, I would pay real money for it, today that price is ~$1/$14. Apple could buy it back from me for 90 apple cents. Apple could revoke the song from my library. Apple cents could only be used to buy 'used' music.

Since apple knows i bought the song from them, then would know I am not selling them back a song that I got from elsewhere. Apple would only buy back songs they had originally sold to me. I could then use my apple cents to buy 'used' music from apple. By making the purchase of music easy, piracy is stunted. This model also recognizes the fact that the distribution of music electronically is far cheaper than traditional methods and therefore price should be decreased accordingly.
Why would Apple et al sell you a digital file you can easily copy and store where ever you like and then buy the original back from you so you can repeat the process ad infinitum?

Personally I think people have to give up on this idea of "I should be able to re-sell my digital file". I simply don't see it ever working when we all know there is no way to ensure someone sells their original and only copy of the file.

Instead, I see the only workable solution being pricing digital media such that people don't care that they can't re-sell it later. Surely it must be a small minority of people who pay $1 for an itunes song and then complain because they can't sell it to someone on ebay for 80 cents when they are done with it.

I think the same will go for books even though I think the final price will generally be somewhat more than $1 per book. I think the market will find a price that is workable(I'd say around $5-9.99) and people will just have to accept that there wont be any major type of second hand market for digital files.

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
03-28-2010, 07:59 PM
Personally I think people have to give up on this idea of "I should be able to re-sell my digital file". I simply don't see it ever working when we all know there is no way to ensure someone sells their original and only copy of the file.

Sure, people should give up all their legal rights because it's not convenient for corporations to manage them. Oh, wait...

ChrisC333
03-28-2010, 09:20 PM
Personally I think people have to give up on this idea of "I should be able to re-sell my digital file". I simply don't see it ever working when we all know there is no way to ensure someone sells their original and only copy of the file.

Instead, I see the only workable solution being pricing digital media such that people don't care that they can't re-sell it later.


I agree. The model here is more like buying a limited licence to use, rather than an artefact to own. We are used to different levels of licensing, paying per view, or restricted ownership in other areas of life. But when new areas and situations open up then it always takes a bit of time for people to get the hang of it and to adopt fresh ways of doing things.

There are countless forms of entertainment in which you pay for the experience once, and don't get repeats or resale opportunity. For instance, if I've watched a movie in a theatre I don't expect to be able to resell my ticket afterwards. Going to sporting events, concerts, plays, etc are one-offs that all cost as much or more than a book. The cost of an e-book, per entertainment hour, is highly competitive even if you only read once and delete it.

I agree that it would be good to price ebooks at a level where all buyers would feel they got value if they only 'use once and delete'. But I pick my books reasonably carefully and I'm very happy with the value I'm getting right now, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for price falls.

If people prefer a pbook, for whatever reason, then they can buy a pbook. Digital formats can certainly continue to improve, but in the meantime I'm still enjoying them the way they are right now. :cool:

Cheers,

Chris

Elfwreck
03-28-2010, 10:01 PM
I agree. The model here is more like buying a limited licence to use, rather than an artefact to own.

That's what ebookstores are trying to promote, but that's not the way the law works for those purchases. If they want the legal right to treat them like sales, rather than licenses, they have to allow resale options. (If they want them treated like licenses, then among other things, they have to label them as "click to purchase license to read," with the terms described somewhere on the site, instead of "click to buy this book"--which would lose them sales.)

The cost of an e-book, per entertainment hour, is highly competitive even if you only read once and delete it.

Not compared the cost of a pbook. It doesn't matter how it compares to the cost of concerts or sports events; ebooks are providing the same entertainment-content as physical books, and that's what their price needs to compare to.

I agree that it would be good to price ebooks at a level where all buyers would feel they got value if they only 'use once and delete'. But I pick my books reasonably carefully and I'm very happy with the value I'm getting right now, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for price falls.

Me neither. I don't need to read anything with DRM; there's plenty of DRM-free content available, and it looks like that amount will be growing in the future. In a year or two, both my kids will be avid ebook readers who don't purchase DRM'd content.

That doesn't directly deal with the resale options, but non-DRM'd content is easily sharable or resellable; removing the original is the problem of the original owner.

ChrisC333
03-28-2010, 10:51 PM
That's what ebookstores are trying to promote, but that's not the way the law works for those purchases. If they want the legal right to treat them like sales, rather than licenses, they have to allow resale options. (If they want them treated like licenses, then among other things, they have to label them as "click to purchase license to read," with the terms described somewhere on the site, instead of "click to buy this book"--which would lose them sales.)

I'm all for clarifying the legal position, especially as it can vary from country to country and it can be difficult for an individual to pin down exactly what the law is. I'd certainly agree that it would be preferable for everything to be as clear and transparent as possible. But in the meantime it seems that many buyers have a reasonable general idea of what they're paying for, which is something less substantial than what they would get with a physical book. I'd certainly hope the position will continue to be fine tuned with regard to both the legal fine print, and the degree to which buyers are aware of it, and I agree that it would be all for the better.


Not compared the cost of a pbook. It doesn't matter how it compares to the cost of concerts or sports events; ebooks are providing the same entertainment-content as physical books, and that's what their price needs to compare to.

This is simply a matter of you and I having different views. All the ebooks I've bought have cost less than the pbook prices, some moderately less, other substantially less. To me, they are good value. I don't resell my pbooks either, so any potential resale value is irrelevant to me (in practice, it's actually relatively small anyway). Their value to me is in the reading not the selling. I'm not alone there. Books in any format are another 'discretionary purchase' for me - in other words not a essential like food, or a work related necessity, but something that competes with all the other things I might spend my weekly 'entertainment dollar' on. Ditto for music.

Hundreds of thousands of customers like me are already regularly buying ebooks and paying for other digitally delivered material. So the debate is more about market reach than whether ebooks can be sold without doing this, that or the other differently. I expect that the models will improve, and I'm sure that there's still plenty of mileage in the debates, complaints, and varying viewpoints. But I'm certainly not going to hold my breath waiting until everything is done exactly my way. I'm enjoying it right now, and I'm satisfied with the value I'm getting.
:bookworm: :thumbsup:
(Where's the E-reader icon when you need it? ;) )

Cheers,

Chris

PKFFW
03-28-2010, 10:59 PM
Sure, people should give up all their legal rights because it's not convenient for corporations to manage them. Oh, wait...
And where did I say people should give up their legal rights because it's not convenient to corporations?

Oh wait......

I know it might be hard for you but try to read what I actually wrote and don't simply jump to your own conclusions about what I meant.

Cheers,
PKFFW

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-28-2010, 11:24 PM
I agree that we can't think of and treat digital content the way we treat physical content. Digital content has more similarities to broadcast content, and the rules for use should be similar.

For instance, with a television program, we are free to watch it (of course), and we are free to record the program to watch later, possibly many times over. But we are not free to sell a videotape of that program that we recorded (in most markets).

However, there can be a used market for that TV program: Buying a prerecorded tape or DVD of the program--essentially the program, tied permanently to physical media--and reselling that physical media as a "used" product.

E-books should be considered in like vein. The digital file, as downloaded from the web, e-mailed, etc, is akin to a broadcast program that you are free to read, but not to re-record and resell. Anyone who would like to resell their content would need to purchase that content on permanent physical media (such as an SD card) and resell that.

The alternative to that would be the purchasing of a "license" that accompanied the digital file, which must be present in order to access the content, and which cannot be duplicated by consumers. When the license was resold, the original owner would be unable to access the file without the license.

Of course, for the license idea to work, there would need to be a method of identifying individuals, files, and the licenses they owned that granted them access. I will refrain from adding more, since it would be hard to be heard over the howls of privacy advocates... ;)

bwana
03-28-2010, 11:37 PM
There seems to be a feeling developing from the respondents here that digital media is fundamentally different than physical media. We license it, not buy it. As a result we cant really sell it. Rather like an automobile license that expires every so often.

I am intrigued by Elfwreck's statement that there is plenty of DRM free media around. Unfortunately I am a creature of the physical world and the people around me use the tokens of the mass media as reference points- my kids talk about Rihanna, Britney Spears, Linkin Park. The talk about TV shows. They talk about the Red Sox. All of these media are DRM controlled. I try and engage their brains with DRM free topics. The other night my son and I had an extensive discussion about the mechanism and effects of atomic bomb detonations (one of those random things that kids think about) We goggled and talked about the >1000 detonations the US has done in tests, the various yields, the critical blast radius, the lasting side effects, etc. etc. This information is DRM free. However, it's not something that will quickly engage him and his friends.

My point is that DRM free media are often not the mainstream. I would love for you to prove me wrong and show me the some of the many sources of DRM free media that your children enjoy.

One way that DRM free media could go mainstream is by quantity. Simply by virtue of the DRM-free nature, such media could be repackaged into streams. The thing a customer might then buy would be a particular media stream. This is one reason I like Pandora when it comes to music. And yes I am a paying subscriber there. How do they get around the DRM restrictions? The same way that netflix does for their online distribution I imagine.They buy a subscription to a cable channel and just repackage it.

I am amazed that we even invented this clunkything called DRM. It feels like some steampunk invention out of Dune. Can you imagine if the printing press was treated the same way when they were invented? Can you imagine the church confiscating all printing presses or perhaps only allowing monks to operate them? Would the Gutenberg bible even have been printed? By confining the distribution of electronic media according to old models, we are limiting ourselves.

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 12:08 AM
I know it might be hard for you but try to read what I actually wrote

Do I need to use Sarcasm tags with you? Oh, right, that's a stupid question there! (Oops, I did it again...)

ChrisC333 - UK and EU law is quite plain. If it's advertised as a sale, sold like a sale, and has a "sale" button? It's a sale. Ebooks as-sold by Amazon and other web stores are a sale.

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 12:57 AM
Do I need to use Sarcasm tags with you? Oh, right, that's a stupid question there! (Oops, I did it again...)
No need at all.

However, I do not consider quoting me and then implying that I said something entirely different to what I did in fact say to be sarcasm. I consider it to be more of your usual argumentative rhetoric.

Cheers,
PKFFW

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 01:07 AM
There seems to be a feeling developing from the respondents here that digital media is fundamentally different than physical media.
As has been argued ad nauseum by those who seem to support the consumers right to infringe copyright.
I am amazed that we even invented this clunkything called DRM. It feels like some steampunk invention out of Dune. Can you imagine if the printing press was treated the same way when they were invented? Can you imagine the church confiscating all printing presses or perhaps only allowing monks to operate them? Would the Gutenberg bible even have been printed?
Whilst I agree that DRM is clunky and useless, I can understand why it has been invented.

As was recently argued in another thread, it seems many(but by no means all) believe it is human nature for people to attempt to get away with whatever they can. Some argue it is the duty of the consumer to enjoy as much content as possible whilst doing whatever they can to circumvent payment for said media.

That being the case, I can understand why those who are selling the content came up with the idea of DRM, even if it doesn't work.
By confining the distribution of electronic media according to old models, we are limiting ourselves.
See this is what I find confusing.....

On the one hand many seem to argue that digital media is a new beast and should be treated differently to analogue media. I agree.

Then these same people seem to argue that this new beast should be treated the same as the old whenever it suits them. ie: Being able to sell their "second hand" digital file.(whilst in many cases, if not most, keeping a copy of the original for their own use)

Either it is a new medium and should be treated as such or it isn't?

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 02:21 AM
I consider it to be more of your usual argumentative rhetoric.

Of course, that's the great thing about sarcasm.


Either it is a new medium and should be treated as such or it isn't?

If you want to strip away rights available in the old medium without providing new ones (since you block those with DRM), and then charge the same... well, there's a reason there's so many attempts to attempt to legislate protection for the old business model, now with less of those pesky consumer rights!

And of course that's directly fuelling the backlash.

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 02:42 AM
If you want to strip away rights available in the old medium without providing new ones (since you block those with DRM), and then charge the same... well, there's a reason there's so many attempts to attempt to legislate protection for the old business model, now with less of those pesky consumer rights!
I can only assume this is more of your sarcasm as that is not what I said nor what I proposed.

Since sarcasm and argumentative rhetoric go hand in hand for you I shall not bother replying further to your second attempt to imply I stated something I did not.

Cheers,
PKFFW

ChrisC333
03-29-2010, 03:05 AM
ChrisC333 - UK and EU law is quite plain. If it's advertised as a sale, sold like a sale, and has a "sale" button? It's a sale. Ebooks as-sold by Amazon and other web stores are a sale.

So? A sale is a sale. Are you suggesting that the word "sale" has some special meaning in UK law? If so could you provide a link to the relevant law(s). It would be interesting to read and see how it applies to books.

I don't live in the UK, but here we use the term "sale" to describe all manner of transactions. You can sell an object or you can sell a licence. Some licences can be transferred or resold but many can't. You can also sell services and you can sell various types of rights. There are also numerous categories in which you may sell something that is a blend of physical object and entitlements. Strata titles for dwellings is one example. Most sales may also carry some form of restrictions or obligations regarding your use of whatever you have paid for. There seem to be no specific set of conditions implied by the word "sale" here.

Just to keep this on the lighter side, I might suggest that you could sell your virginity on Ebay (it has been done apparently) but the buyer would have a hard time reselling it second hand. :angry: (I was going to say that you couldn't put a 'virginity' in a box to post it, but that might have been misinterpreted in some countries... :rolleyes: )

mgmueller
03-29-2010, 05:17 AM
When you buy something new and shiny, you pay more for it than if it were used. But the same analogy does not hold for digital content or intellectual property. Can you buy a 'used song' on itunes? a 'used album' a 'used ebook'?

If the concept of used does not apply, the the concept of 'new' cannot be defined. Since neither used nor new exist, then buying any intellectual property does not fit our understanding of the world.

But you say, we pay to go to school. Is that not the purchase of intellectual property? I would say no, it is like skiing or tennis lessons, you are buying a process.

I think this aspect of DRM has been neglected. Although DRM as it exists today is to prevent the use of 'unlicensed' media, its full potential has not been explored.

If I buy a song/book from iTunes that is new, I would pay real money for it, today that price is ~$1/$14. Apple could buy it back from me for 90 apple cents. Apple could revoke the song from my library. Apple cents could only be used to buy 'used' music.

Since apple knows i bought the song from them, then would know I am not selling them back a song that I got from elsewhere. Apple would only buy back songs they had originally sold to me. I could then use my apple cents to buy 'used' music from apple. By making the purchase of music easy, piracy is stunted. This model also recognizes the fact that the distribution of music electronically is far cheaper than traditional methods and therefore price should be decreased accordingly.

I guess there's a "flaw" in your concept.
Apple is listed and quoted on the stock exchange (so are most of the other corporates, which would be part of your concept).
So they have to report revenues and profits to the analysts.
Now imagine, they report your $ 1 in March 2010. Later on, you re-sell your song for some Apple cents and re-purchase another song.
They couldn't report the new song as new business.
My employer has a similar "problem". It's a hardware manufacturer and there would be a huge market for refurbished equipment. But it has to be taken off the market instead of being resold.

In most scenarios, it's not up to the manufacturer/developer, to decide. It's defined by SARBOX guidelines of the stock exchange. Very often, those guidelines don't make too much sense from a customer perspective, but you "blindly" have to follow.

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 05:44 AM
I can only assume this is more of your sarcasm as that is not what I said nor what I proposed.

Mm-hum. You're simply brushing off my responses because you don't have a decent answer to the quandaries I'm pointing out. Oh, and it would seem that I /do/ need to use sarcasm tags. (Tip: Try actually following though the consequences of your proposals)


ChrisC333 - If it's a sale, Exhaustion Doctrine applies. And that means that you can resell. A licence is not a sale, it's a grant of licence and a service is not a sale, it's a provision of service: and they need to be sold as such.

charleski
03-29-2010, 06:25 AM
I think the important issue here is that content providers can't have their cake and eat it.

If they're selling a non-transferable licence to read, view or listen to a certain piece of material, then fine, that's what they're selling, and they have a right to decide what they want to sell. But if what I'm buying is a licence rather than a particular copy of a work, then I own that licence and can exercise it however I choose. And that means I have the right to shift the format. If I buy a book in epub format for my Sony, and then later decide to get a Kindle, then I have the right to change the format to one which the new device can use.

If 'intellectual property' is subject to the same protections as real property (an idea to which I do not wholly subscribe), then my licence to consume a work is property as well, and measures which prevent me from exercising that licence are an infringement on my property rights.

So basically they need to make a choice:
If they're selling a particular copy of a work, then all I'm buying is that copy, I can't modify it, and if I want a different type of copy then I have to buy another one. But I can sell it to someone else, because the provider's rights to control the sale of that copy have been exhausted.
If they're selling a non-transferable licence, then that licence applies only to me, and can't be assigned to someone else, so I can't sell it. But I can exercise that licence as I want for my personal enjoyment (so no public performances etc), which means I can shift the format as much as necessary.

Jellby
03-29-2010, 07:21 AM
If they're selling a non-transferable licence, then that licence applies only to me, and can't be assigned to someone else, so I can't sell it. But I can exercise that licence as I want for my personal enjoyment (so no public performances etc), which means I can shift the format as much as necessary.

Except if they are selling a non-transferable license to read (and only read) a single format.

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 07:32 AM
Mm-hum. You're simply brushing off my responses because you don't have a decent answer to the quandaries I'm pointing out. Oh, and it would seem that I /do/ need to use sarcasm tags. (Tip: Try actually following though the consequences of your proposals)
By your own admission your repsonses are nothing more than sarcasm and therefore rhetorically argumentative. You are not pointing out anything but merely attempting to metophorically put words in my mouth. As you would obvously be aware, a rhetorical response on your part to does encourage or require a response on my part.

If you ever get around to actually responding to my posts in an intelligent and relevant manner then I may consider responding to your "points".(assuming make any of course)

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 07:36 AM
Nothing more? Heh, just because they're sarcastic (and no, it's not an "admission", it's a simple statement) doesn't mean anything whatsoever about their truth. You are just frantically searching for an excuse, any excuse, to avoid my points.

And go on, you've clearly stated in your second paragraph there you have a response to my points. [/maybeee sarcasm]


Jellby - Then, because of the very limited nature of what they're selling, they're going to have to accept a far lower market price. (And again, for it to be a grant of licence it needs to be sold as such here)

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 08:13 AM
Nothing more? Heh, just because they're sarcastic (and no, it's not an "admission", it's a simple statement) doesn't mean anything whatsoever about their truth. You are just frantically searching for an excuse, any excuse, to avoid my points.

And go on, you've clearly stated in your second paragraph there you have a response to my points. [/maybeee sarcasm]
I fail to see where you have made any points. Truthful or otherwise.

In your first response to my post you simply implied that I was advocating "people should give up all their legal rights because it's not convenient for corporations to manage them" which I never advocated. Had you asked why I thought people should give up any particular right I may be inclined to respond to your post. Instead you clearly intended to post an argumentative and sarcastic repsonse instead of engaging in any sort of discussion.(as is your preferred method of interacting here I'm beginning to see)

In your other response to my posts you simply imply I "want to strip away rights available in the old medium without providing new ones (since you block those with DRM), and then charge the same... " which, again, I never advocated. Again, had you sought clarification as to my position or even stipulated one of your own I might be inclined to respond. Instead you, again, preferred to simply make an argumentative post that had no actual point or relevance.

Feel free to get back to me if you ever do make a point or attempt to engage in any sort of intelligent discussion. Until then I shall ignore your posts in this thread so as to not further disrupt the thread.

My apologies for feeding the troll everyone but sometimes I can't help myself.

Cheers,
PKFFW

charleski
03-29-2010, 08:14 AM
Except if they are selling a non-transferable license to read (and only read) a single format.

No, they can't have their cake and eat it. They're either selling a copy in a specific format, which can be transferred, or they're selling the right to consume the content, which can't. Those are two different things.

If intellectual property is indeed 'property' then transactions in it are subject to the same constraints as other property deals. If I own a hammer and decide to sell it, then I give up my rights in that hammer; I can't tell the new owner he can only use it on Wednesdays, or only use it with certain types of nails*. Likewise, when a rights-holder sells a work to someone they give up some of their rights in return for the compensation paid to them. That's a fundamental principle.

*Well, I could try to tell him that, but such terms would be unenforceable and void.

mr ploppy
03-29-2010, 08:37 AM
But that isn't something they have now, what with libraries and used book stores. They're holding on to something that doesn't exist anyway in the real world.

With books they had price fixing up until fairly recently (in the UK at least, I don't know about anywhere else). That meant that nobody could sell a new book below the price the publisher dictated. I notice that idea is being applied to ebooks now.

mr ploppy
03-29-2010, 08:40 AM
people will just have to accept that there wont be any major type of second hand market for digital files.

Cheers,
PKFFW

The problem with that is what happens when the publisher (or author) decides to stop selling the digital book, like has happened with a few Brian Keene books recently? Anyone who didn't buy it while it was available would have no way of buying it later.

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 08:46 AM
I fail to see...

Well yes, of course you do.

..you simply implied that I was advocating "people should give up all their legal rights because it's not convenient for corporations to manage them" which I never advocated.

You suggested an example of that, giving up the right to resell ebooks because it is inconvenient for companies to track who has the rights to which books.

Instead you clearly intended to post an argumentative and sarcastic repsonse instead of engaging in any sort of discussion.

Sarcastic, yes. But argumentative? Nope, you're simply projecting - hint for the Americans: Sarcasm | Attack.

You go on in the same vein, refusing to acknowledge the wider implications of the policies you're advocating. It's not an unreasonable extrapolation, bluntly, given the actions of media companies over the years.

My apologies for feeding the troll everyone but sometimes I can't help myself.

Well, er, actually I find feeding the troll in cases like this quite amusing while I'm waiting for other people to finish actually. My bad.

And why should people "have to accept" anything which disallows them from using their rights, is not substantially cheaper and is usually actually of poorer quality. This is no more and no less a call for failure on the part of the ebook industry, as happened a decade ago. Why does that need to occur again, precisely? (Renting me an ebook will only get me to pay rental prices...)

Warning: Above post may have traces of sarcasm, nuts and pecan sauce.

Lemurion
03-29-2010, 09:19 AM
Rant on:

IP law has struck everywhere, and often to peoples' detriment. American manufacturers refused to license the vastly superior Robertson head for screws, leaving entire generations to struggle with the almost-useless Philips head.

Rant Off/

Digital media, are fundamentally different from physical media because the normal method of usage usually involves the creation of multiple copies; something which is impossible with physical media.

Implicit in the idea of resale is the idea that one gives up the item one is reselling as part of the transaction. This doesn't need to be enforced with physical media, it's intrinsic to their nature. It's true even if you burn a copy of a CD and then sell the original. You may still have access to the music, but you no longer have the original (and presumably its packaging and any extra material that came with it).

Digital just doesn't work the same way, and I don't see how we can enforce any right of resale for something that is not associated with physical media or anything else that cannot be duplicated.

Something has to be found that can compensate producers without treating consumers like thieves. We just haven't found the balance yet.

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-29-2010, 09:55 AM
Something has to be found that can compensate producers without treating consumers like thieves. We just haven't found the balance yet.

Security, by its popular definition, already "treats consumers like thieves" just by preventing them from stealing. We dance around locked doors, security cameras, hidden sensor chips and store guards every day, but somehow we don't break into a Banner-esque rage because their mere presence makes us feel like thieves. We get over it, ignore it, and buy our products.

I submit that worrying about treating consumers like thieves isn't the issue... making sure producers can continue to produce, so that consumers have something they want to buy, is the issue. If consumers can get what they want within reason, they'll stop worrying about the security altogether. So the secret is providing a product that the consumer sees as reasonable.

As far as used digital content: It's just not reasonable, unless it's tied to a license to use or to a physical package, to limit its use to one owner at a time. I, for one, see a physical package to be a step backward in digital content delivery, so a license would make more sense to me.

Elfwreck
03-29-2010, 12:20 PM
I am intrigued by Elfwreck's statement that there is plenty of DRM free media around. Unfortunately I am a creature of the physical world and the people around me use the tokens of the mass media as reference points- my kids talk about Rihanna, Britney Spears, Linkin Park. The talk about TV shows. They talk about the Red Sox. All of these media are DRM controlled. ...

My point is that DRM free media are often not the mainstream. I would love for you to prove me wrong and show me the some of the many sources of DRM free media that your children enjoy.

My kids watch TV, play video games--and head over to fanfiction.net to read stories about the TV shows & video games. (There is, apparently, quite a bit of Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic. And Pokemon fanfic. I try not to think about it.)

Doctorow's Little Brother is an award-winning Young Adult novel available as a free download in multiple formats. And he's got another one coming out soon.

Plenty of children's & YA classics are public domain & freely available. Fantasy stories, adventure stories, biographies, histories--the only area that's a bit weak is science & tech, because we've made a lot of changes in our understanding of science in the last eighty years. But there's plenty of opensource/creative commons scientific content available, at least for a parent who is able to spend some time finding stuff on topics their kids are interested in. If nothing else, there are blogs & rss feeds on all sorts of technical topics, ranging from basic overview to intensely detailed.

There's a new Alice in Wonderland movie--and hey, the original book is freely available. My older daughter watches Stephen Colbert, so I'm planning on getting her some Mark Twain. I'll put Little Fuzzy on whatever ebook readers they wind up with. (I have a Rocketbook I'm having trouble getting to work properly with Vista, and I'm waiting for that elusive <$100 multi-format-reading non-eink device.)

The only barrier is getting them interested in reading instead of watching moving pictures. There is *endless* written material available, especially for a child who's still sorting out his or her interests.

There's plenty of free content; paid, non-DRM content is more limited only because it requires parental filtering. (I wouldn't exactly mind setting my kids loose at Smashwords, but I know they wouldn't be able to find stuff they liked.)

DawnFalcon
03-29-2010, 01:26 PM
Security, by its popular definition, already "treats consumers like thieves" just by preventing them from stealing.

Really? See those self-checkouts? Where did they come from, and why have they raised supermarket's profits? You made quite a sweeping statement, Steve...

And the same happens online with Baen and so on. The moment you lower the barriers, revenue goes up.

ardeegee
03-29-2010, 02:19 PM
My kids watch TV, play video games--and head over to fanfiction.net to read stories about the TV shows & video games. (There is, apparently, quite a bit of Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic. And Pokemon fanfic. I try not to think about it.)


Allowing your kids to read Sonic/Pikachu slash fiction? :eek: :(

garbanzo
03-29-2010, 02:28 PM
it's a lot easier to copy a digital file before returning it for cash than it is to reproduce a toaster. this simply is not feasible. it's why software stores only accept goods that are unopened.

moreover, the practice certainly wouldn't 'stunt' piracy. in fact, one could argue that this would increase the flow of rogue data onto the internet, since it would cost the original uploads a fraction of the retail value of an item to acquire it for long enough to create a copy.

Elfwreck
03-29-2010, 02:40 PM
Allowing your kids to read Sonic/Pikachu slash fiction? :eek: :(

Fortunately, neither kid is interested in slash or romance fic. Yet. They both grumble about the difficulty of finding adventure-story fic rather than 'ship fic.

PKFFW
03-29-2010, 09:30 PM
You suggested an example of that, giving up the right to resell ebooks because it is inconvenient for companies to track who has the rights to which books.
Again, if you could kindly link or quote where I stated anyone give the right to resell ebooks because it was inconvenient for companies to track who has the rights to which books.

Can't find the quote? That's because I never stated that.

What I did state was simply that I think people will need to give up the right to resell digital books because it just wont work. Digital media is different to physical media and what will work for one may not work for the other.

Just as many here have made the analogy that many buggy whip makers went out of business when the motor car was invented. Would you say those buggy whip makers were forced to give up their right to make a living from making buggy whips because it was inconvenient to the car makers? Of course not. It simply wasn't workable for many people to make a living making buggy whips anymore. Times changed then just as they are changing now. Deal with it as you are so fond of suggesting the publishers will have to do.
Sarcastic, yes. But argumentative? Nope, you're simply projecting - hint for the Americans: Sarcasm | Attack.
I stated your response was argumentative and rhetorical to which you replied "that's the great thing about sarcasm".

Certainly seems to me you were agreeing your posts were argumentative. If not, please clarify what you meant about the great thing about sarcasm being it is rhetorical and argumentative.
You go on in the same vein, refusing to acknowledge the wider implications of the policies you're advocating. It's not an unreasonable extrapolation, bluntly, given the actions of media companies over the years.
Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument.

I am not advocating any policies. I am merely sharing my view on a particular topic. I never stated whether I supported the end result I see coming or whether I thought it was bad thing. I merely stated I believed people will need to give up the idea they can sell their digital files on some sort of second hand market.

As for acknowledging any "wider implications", you have not actually put forward any. You have merely attempted to suggest I was claiming something I am not.
And why should people "have to accept" anything which disallows them from using their rights,
Times change, deal with it.

You keep advocating that publishers need to change, well I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you but so will consumers.

You so often suggest the music industry as an analogy for where the book industry will need to go, well how much of a market is there for second hand digital music files? Was anyone "forced to give up their rights" or did the market place simply change?
is not substantially cheaper and is usually actually of poorer quality. This is no more and no less a call for failure on the part of the ebook industry, as happened a decade ago. Why does that need to occur again, precisely? (Renting me an ebook will only get me to pay rental prices...)
My very first post, which you obviously didn't read very well, stated that I believe the solution to be making digital books available at a price that people no longer care if they can re-sell it or not. And even though I did not state specifically in my first post(my bad), I have stated, to you specifically and to others on this board, many many times in the past that I also believe DRM and geo-restrictions need to go and that quality needs to improve.

So how exactly am I advocating people should have to put up with something that is "not substantially cheaper and is usually actually of poorer quality"?

Or were you just trying to be argumentative again by suggesting that is what I am advocating?

Cheers,
PKFFW

wodin
03-29-2010, 10:23 PM
Why would anyone want to sell a used ebook? I have hundreds and hundreds of them, and they’re all mine! MINE, I tell you, and you can’t have ANY of them!

ficbot
03-29-2010, 11:49 PM
I think that if what they are selling is a rental, they need to charge rental prices. Some ebook prices I have seen are outrageous when compared to the sometimes cheaper print versions. So when you have a print version that is cheaper AND you can resell it and have other rights, people are justified in feeling offended at paying more than the ownership cost for something that is really a rental.

DawnFalcon
03-30-2010, 07:55 AM
Again, if you could kindly link or quote where I stated anyone give the right to resell ebooks because it was inconvenient for companies to track who has the rights to which books.[quote]

Can't find the quote? That's because I never stated that.

No, and it's not what I said either. You stated that people shouldn't have the right, of course, purely and simply because it's hard on the companies. Well, shit, there are lots of laws and consumer rights which are hard on companies - you can't ignore the general case without a far better argument than that.

[quote]Certainly seems to me you were agreeing your posts were argumentative.

This is a lie.

I am not advocating any policies. I am merely sharing my view on a particular topic.

That is not what you have typed. You are advocating stripping people's rights simply because of the medium.

You keep advocating that publishers need to change, well I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you but so will consumers.

UK/EU Consumer law works fine. You want to break it because it's inconvenient for companies. Understandably, there are people less than keen on that.

You so often suggest the music industry as an analogy for where the book industry will need to go

This is a lie. I advocate Baen as where the book industry can pick up a lot of tips, and music retailers as where they can get a few.

Say, what's your RIAA membership number?

PKFFW
03-30-2010, 05:30 PM
No, and it's not what I said either. You stated that people shouldn't have the right, of course, purely and simply because it's hard on the companies. Well, shit, there are lots of laws and consumer rights which are hard on companies - you can't ignore the general case without a far better argument than that.



This is a lie.



That is not what you have typed. You are advocating stripping people's rights simply because of the medium.



UK/EU Consumer law works fine. You want to break it because it's inconvenient for companies. Understandably, there are people less than keen on that.



This is a lie. I advocate Baen as where the book industry can pick up a lot of tips, and music retailers as where they can get a few.

Say, what's your RIAA membership number?
I see now you are a complete and utter tool who just likes to be argumentative. I can only assume it is because you have no life.

On Ignore now and Goodbye.

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
03-30-2010, 05:33 PM
So basically you're admitting you have no answer whatsoever? Great, now I'm going to call you - and treat you as - a corporate shill, because you've been utterly unable to answer me in any respect except by making stuff up.

Oh, and, er... cry more.

PKFFW
03-30-2010, 05:56 PM
Ok, since I haven't figured out how to add you to ignore yet(where is the damn ignore button?) let me answer one more time..........
No, and it's not what I said either. You stated that people shouldn't have the right, of course, purely and simply because it's hard on the companies.
So I make things up hey?

Please quote where I posted that people shouldn't have the right?

You can't can you? That's because I have never stated that. That is simply a lie you made up because it was easy and convenient for you.
This is a lie.
Do you know what a lie is?

1: I stated that what you posted seems to me to be agreement. As I am stating what it seems to me, it is not a lie. At very worst I may have misinterpreted your remark but I don't think so.
2: You were the one that stated "that's the great thing about sarcasm". So if you believe it is great that sarcasm is rhetorical and argumentative doesn't it follow that you are agreeing that your sarcastic comments are argumentative and rhetorical?
That is not what you have typed. You are advocating stripping people's rights simply because of the medium.
Firstly, please link or quote where I stated anyone should be "stripped" of their rights. Can't do it? Of course not, because your claim that I did is simply another lie.

Secondly, I gave you the definition of advocating. Advocating means one is speaking in support of something.

Simply stating that one believes situation X will follow from situation Y without stating either way if that chain of events is good or bad does not constitute "advocating".

There are some good English schools in the UK. You should look into attending some classes in order to get a better understanding of the language rather than using big words you don't understand.
UK/EU Consumer law works fine. You want to break it because it's inconvenient for companies. Understandably, there are people less than keen on that.
Whoop de doo da dee...........

Your response here in no way addresses my point but that doesn't surprise me as that is your usual way of arguing when you don't really have any valid point.

If you truly believe consumers will not have to change at all in the digital age then good for you. I suggest you get on your big fluffy pink elephant and bound off to have tea with the fairies as that is where you so obviously belong.
This is a lie. I advocate Baen as where the book industry can pick up a lot of tips, and music retailers as where they can get a few.
It is not a lie, you have used the music industry as an analogy before.
Say, what's your RIAA membership number?
And what a surprise, you don't really have any valid discussion points in response to my points so you bring out the old RIAA membership number line.

Will Godwins law be invoked next?

Now off to work out how to add lunatics to the ignore list!

Cheers,
PKFFW

pilotbob
03-30-2010, 05:59 PM
Now off to work out how to add lunatics to the ignore list!

Cheers,
PKFFW

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/profile.php?do=ignorelist

BOb

Ralph Sir Edward
03-30-2010, 06:53 PM
There's no such thing a used data. Complete or incomplete, accurate or inaccurate, or even purchased from the copyright holder/agent or from somebody else, but no used. Each copy is just as shiny as the first one, forever....

DawnFalcon
03-30-2010, 06:56 PM
Firstly, please link or quote where I stated anyone should be "stripped" of their rights. Can't do it? Of course not, because your claim that I did is simply another lie.

Your first post. It's the simply consequence of your campaign against user's rights. You won't admit it, of course, but your contention is clearly from what you typed that the delivery method controls the rights, not the utility of the method or the public interest.

If you truly believe consumers will not have to change at all in the digital age then good for you.

Again, you lie, badly, because you don't have a point to make. I never stated this, but the simple fact is that the law is quite clear - you don't inherently lose any rights because of the delivery method.

I suggest you get on your big fluffy pink elephant and bound off to have tea with the fairies as that is where you so obviously belong.

Kids, this is a prime example of why "don't do drugs" is a good idea. I'm sorry, I have no intention of joining in your delusions.

It is not a lie, you have used the music industry as an analogy before.

In specific contexts which are not related to this point and do not in any way support your contention or your actual claim.

Will Godwins law be invoked next?

Again, that's your ball not mine. You seem to be confused.

DawnFalcon
03-30-2010, 06:58 PM
There's no such thing a used data. Complete or incomplete, accurate or inaccurate, or even purchased from the copyright holder/agent or from somebody else, but no used. Each copy is just as shiny as the first one, forever....

Exactly. And the interface between a mixed scarcity and a post-scarcity environment is always going to be messy.

Ben Thornton
03-30-2010, 07:05 PM
There's no such thing a used data. Complete or incomplete, accurate or inaccurate, or even purchased from the copyright holder/agent or from somebody else, but no used. Each copy is just as shiny as the first one, forever....The ebooks that I have bought said that they were new, but the electrons were all pre-owned :( The edition of Plato that I bought, in particular, was a mere shadow of its ideal form - not shiny at all.

pilotbob
03-30-2010, 07:05 PM
OK.... I think we have had enough of the personal insults flying back and forth here.

If it is not possible to discus and debate the topic without the slurs and insults the thread will be closed.

BOb
Moderator

Ralph Sir Edward
03-30-2010, 07:22 PM
The ebooks that I have bought said that they were new, but the electrons were all pre-owned :( The edition of Plato that I bought, in particular, was a mere shadow of its ideal form - not shiny at all.

But you can't buy the ideal form...All the ones you can buy are just as non-shiny as the others....

PKFFW
03-30-2010, 07:34 PM
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/profile.php?do=ignorelist

BOb
Thankyou Bob.

Cheers,
PKFFW

PKFFW
03-30-2010, 07:43 PM
There's no such thing a used data. Complete or incomplete, accurate or inaccurate, or even purchased from the copyright holder/agent or from somebody else, but no used. Each copy is just as shiny as the first one, forever....
Yes exactly. Just another example of how digital media is different to analogue media and why it will be treated differently. Anyone deluded enough to think everything will stay the same must either be a publisher or off with the fairies.

And consumers have never had the right to sell "new" media full of content that they do not have the copyright to.

Mind you, for those who would imply I am "advocating" something I am not or who would go even further and simply lie about what I have stated let me be clear. I am not advocating anything, merely stating a fact.


Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
03-30-2010, 08:33 PM
Your explicit and repeatedly stated support for limiting user rights based only on the medium which data is supplied in, regardless of other concerns such as user rights and fair use, is not "necessary" unless you chose to believe the line given by big media hook, line and sinker.

The only fact is that you are trying to state as a fact what is no more and no less than the blatantly anti-consumer line which has produced such gems as restrictive DRM, regional restrictions and the ACTA, and you are supporting the very reasoning which produced them - your so-called "opposition" to those technologies is completely inconsistent with your actual party line.

If big media wants to alter the rights concerning media, they either need to drastically drop their prices to account for the fact that they are delivering a far less usable product or to give the user other rights more appropriate to the medium rather than the selfish "gimmie" approach which you are stating is somehow a "fact".

Strangely enough, outside America, that approach gets remarkably little support. From anyone outside the political process or paid by big media. (They pay a lot of people, of course, but...)

In the longer run, all you are going to achieve by pushing that line is the radicalism of a younger generation against copyright, and a blanket private copy exemption from them as a result.

TGS
03-31-2010, 07:16 AM
The ebooks that I have bought said that they were new, but the electrons were all pre-owned :( The edition of Plato that I bought, in particular, was a mere shadow of its ideal form - not shiny at all.

But is an electronic copy of The Republic any more of a "shadow" than a paper copy?;)

GlenBarrington
04-02-2010, 08:47 AM
As a producer of what is described as intellectual property (photography, computer software), I think the whole idea of intellectual property is not only dying, but is becoming increasingly unenforceable.

DRM is really just an effort to continue the concept of IP. It is ultimately doomed to fail for no other reason than to be effective, it has to be inconvenient enough that it isn't worth the effort of copying. And at some point, the inconvenience will outweigh the desire to use the qualities the intellectual property represents.

We need a different way to encourage people to produce what we now describe as intellectual property. As a political conservative, I LIKE capitalism (and the US Constituion-as much a world treasure in my mind as the US Declaration of Independence. If you haven't read either one, look them up, they are both very short and very understandable to modern readers ).

Maybe we need to broaden our definition of just what Capitalism is.

Money isn't the only way to quantify self interest. Maybe we aren't looking granularly enough. Maybe we are stopping at money as the primary motivator just because that is what we are used to. Maybe there are other motivators just as effective and easier to manage in a digital age.

HarryT
04-02-2010, 08:55 AM
We need a different way to encourage people to produce what we now describe as intellectual property. As a political conservative, I LIKE capitalism

I suspect the majority of people feel, Glen, that capitalism is all well and good - up to a point. All companies have a goal of trying to dominate their market, but should they succeed in doing so, and establishing an effective monopoly in that market, then laws are required to prevent them from exploiting that monopoly against the best interests of the consumer. DRM is a good example of capitalism (the effective monopoly of the book publishing market by a handful of publishers) acting against the interests of the consumer. In that respect, capitalism is not good.

Iphinome
04-02-2010, 08:57 AM
Glen are you suggesting a Whuffie economy?

Elfwreck
04-02-2010, 01:58 PM
All companies have a goal of trying to dominate their market, but should they succeed in doing so, and establishing an effective monopoly in that market, then laws are required to prevent them from exploiting that monopoly against the best interests of the consumer.

Not all companies want to dominate the market; some are content to be one option among many, and trust that their features will draw enough paid attention to keep them in business. Not every mom-and-pop store wants to become Walmart (Tesco?); not every traveling circus dreams of growing into Disneyland.

I'm at Dreamwidth in part because they *don't* want to be the "biggest and best" social networking site on the web. They're not trying to replace Twitter or Myspace or even Livejournal whose software they're based on.

Baen, as far as I know, isn't trying to be the only bookseller online, or even the only publisher of science fiction. It'd like to be bigger, but not necessarily the only one.

HarryT
04-02-2010, 02:02 PM
Not all companies want to dominate the market; some are content to be one option among many, and trust that their features will draw enough paid attention to keep them in business. Not every mom-and-pop store wants to become Walmart (Tesco?); not every traveling circus dreams of growing into Disneyland.


True. But it is as an irony of capitalism that people are told that "world domination" is a desirable goal, and yet the consequences of that are so clearly undesirable that we actually have laws to protect consumers from it, just in case anyone should actually succeed.

GlenBarrington
04-02-2010, 07:25 PM
Glen are you suggesting a Whuffie economy?

I don't know! What is a Whuffie economy? But I'm thinking more along the lines of a cultural shift that may affect the economy.

It's just that I see the traditional reason (earning a living) for trying to produce works of the intellect being worn away slowly by a combination of technology and government. And I don't see anything on the horizon that can stop it.

I'm just thinking out loud at this point. Trying out different positions to see how they fit. And maybe if we can't stop this erosion of incentive, maybe we need to redirect our thinking to figure out how our culture can produce the original works of art and technology it needs in another way.

pilotbob
04-02-2010, 07:26 PM
I don't know! What is a Whuffie economy? But I'm thinking more along the lines of a cultural shift that may affect the economy.

I believe that is an allusion to _Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom_.

BOb

Elfwreck
04-02-2010, 07:44 PM
I don't know! What is a Whuffie economy?

Whuffie is a fictional social currency used in Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom;"A person's Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation, and Whuffie is lost and gained according to a person's favorable or unfavorable actions. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie)"

JaneFancher
04-02-2010, 07:47 PM
:rofl:

this is an early April Fools joke, right?

The legitimate resale value of a "used" object is based on (a) a physical object of which there is a limited supply and/or (b) the willingness of a person to buy a devalued version of the original...i.e. they don't mind the hole in the left pocket of their designer jeans.

When speaking of digital content, there is no (a) or (b), so...no, legitimate resale... I don't think so. Perhaps people need to learn to shop carefully and be content with actually owning the product.

:2thumbsup

Ben Thornton
04-02-2010, 07:56 PM
When speaking of digital content, there is no (a) or (b), so...no, legitimate resale... I don't think so. Perhaps people need to learn to shop carefully and be content with actually owning the product.Why couldn't you have a digital model that was a kind of transferable license? That doesn't strike me as a laughable idea. It would be possible, for example, for Amazon to allow a Kindle book to be transferred to another user. I'm not promoting this as a great idea, but I would support it as something worth discussing. The point of the thread, I thought, was to ask the question as to whether there was a legitimate model or not.

DawnFalcon
04-02-2010, 08:05 PM
When speaking of digital content, there is no (a) or (b), so...no, legitimate resale... I don't think so. Perhaps people need to learn to shop carefully and be content with actually owning the product.

Okay, I won't be buying from closed circle then if that's your attitude, I'm afraid.
EU law is quite clear - resale is permitted, and Exhaustion Doctrine applies.

Or, you can rent me the books. I'll pay $1-2 for renting them.

I know it sounds harsh, but you expect me to respect your rights as an author. Certainly - but I in return expect you to respect my rights as a purchaser, or I'll go elsewhere.

JaneFancher
04-03-2010, 01:23 AM
Why couldn't you have a digital model that was a kind of transferable license? That doesn't strike me as a laughable idea. It would be possible, for example, for Amazon to allow a Kindle book to be transferred to another user. I'm not promoting this as a great idea, but I would support it as something worth discussing. The point of the thread, I thought, was to ask the question as to whether there was a legitimate model or not.

Sorry...you're right. I honestly didn't mean to be so dogmatic.

It's certainly worth discussing. I tend to come at it from an individual creator doing a one on one digital sale, but there are definitely other models/options that larger companies might have.

For instance, beyond reselling the kindle itself, for an Amazon-style setup, where they basically license, as I understand it, the use of the file for several different "readers" they might be able to do something creative. Say you want to upgrade your kindle, load your "stock" onto it, then sell the old one complete with "stock". There might be a way to then add a second account to that old Kindle for the new owner for new downloads, retaining access to the original "library" but no additional download rights. Or say you begin with the rights for 6 readers. You use it on your kindle and on your computer, then you "resell" your rights to the remaining 4 readers.

From the individual creator's point of view, the only product we can sell is the file itself, and applying a resale model onto a digital file is, to say the least, disconcerting. At CC, we've made that file DRM free with 11 different formats for the price of a single book. We give free upgrades if/when we improve the format of a product. We've tried to play as fair as possible with the consumer.

Theoretically, following this basic concept, someone could buy one download, copy it and resell it, to someone who also copies and resells it to someone else who copies and resells it... even if you don't copy it first, you're passing on something with an infinite lifespan. It's not, if you will, exhaustible. This could go on infinitely, all of them thinking they're involved in an ethical and legal transaction.

Ethically? We'd have sold one copy. $5.00 for two year's work, and that copy could be being resold for the next thousand years. Yeah. That sounds fair.

Legally? Heck, I'm no lawyer. If it is technically legal, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Exhaustion Doctrine as applied to digital product to be challenged in court if this becomes a common practice. The Exhaustion Doctrine was written before digital product was even conceived. If you read it, it was obviously designed to deal with items with a natural lifespan. Something that simply isn't applicable to digital product.

But most of all, the whole idea is self-defeating when applied to product purchased directly from the creator. In the old model, authors were theoretically "paid" for that book by their advance. Nevermind most authors get far less than a minimum wage for their labors, and as the market has gotten crazier and crazier, their chances of earning out and having anything remotely like a real income subsequent to that advance, something which in the past every author counted on, has gotten less and less.

Common E-book sales are a fraction of even the worst distribution NY came up with. The only factor off-setting that differential is the direct sale that allows the bulk of the money to go directly to the author. If you like an author's work and buy second hand, you're directly undermining the author's ability to write more. That, to me, is self-defeating.

Iphinome
04-03-2010, 01:49 AM
We're not talking about sell your copy and also keep a copy, While this can already be done say when you buy a cd, copy it and sell it used it's not ethical and we're not suggesting it. What we're saying it if you buy something it becomes yours and you can sell your property, the first sale doctrine. You buy a cd you can then sell it to someone else. So if you buy a license to an ebook and then decide you no longer want it You could sell or give it away.

In theory every copy floating around you would have been paid for aside from someone's normal backups which you'd expect them to delete if they resold the book when they were done with it, there's no real way to force them to do it, just... well one has to accept that there are always going to be people who game a system and you might find tilting at windmills more personally fulfilling than trying to stop it from ever happening.

JaneFancher
04-03-2010, 01:53 AM
Okay, I won't be buying from closed circle then if that's your attitude, I'm afraid.
EU law is quite clear - resale is permitted, and Exhaustion Doctrine applies.

Or, you can rent me the books. I'll pay $1-2 for renting them.

I know it sounds harsh, but you expect me to respect your rights as an author. Certainly - but I in return expect you to respect my rights as a purchaser, or I'll go elsewhere.

In actual fact, the whole idea is pretty much a non-issue for me personally, though Ben did suggest an interesting scenario. As I said to him, my statement was probably a bit narrow-focused.

At CC we greatly respect our readers and work very hard to play fair with them and bring them a unique and quality product. We are DRM free, supply multiple formats in a single, reasonably-priced file, and free "upgrades" when we refine a file. Our readers, in turn, play fair with us. They're smart. They know how close to the edge we run and that if they take a sale away from us we won't be able to keep writing. We work with them, not counter to their interests and they know it. That's the kind of reader I know and respect.

djgreedo
04-03-2010, 07:59 AM
Okay, I won't be buying from closed circle then if that's your attitude, I'm afraid.
EU law is quite clear - resale is permitted, and Exhaustion Doctrine applies.

Or, you can rent me the books. I'll pay $1-2 for renting them.

I know it sounds harsh, but you expect me to respect your rights as an author. Certainly - but I in return expect you to respect my rights as a purchaser, or I'll go elsewhere.

The laws and rights you refer to were formulated before the digital age. They were created for physical media.

Current laws notwithstanding, why should you have the right to resell a digital file? The right to resell a physical object is quite common sense to most people I think. You own the item in every sense. You sell it to someone else and the item then physically belongs to them.

Reselling a digital copy isn't such a black-and-white issue, nor is it an isolated issue. The digital economy is simply different to selling physical copies of things, and any assumptions and direct comparisons to traditional trade need to be considered carefully.

I don't believe that reselling a digital file should necessarily be a right. It doesn't make sense to me that an infinitely reproducible file can be resold as 'second-hand'. But that should be factored into the price of the original (think of the cost of a paper book as including the resale value in the price).

The consumer's rights and the publisher's rights need to be worked out from the realities of the digital age, not from the conventions of an economy based on physical items.

But I think most of this is going to be moot anyway. I think it's inevitible that all digital media will become free or so cheap that the cost is irrelevant, and we will pay indirectly (e.g. ads, donations, sponsorships, etc.). There is simply no way to control the distribution of digital content going forward.

DawnFalcon
04-03-2010, 11:56 AM
In actual fact, the whole idea is pretty much a non-issue for me personally, though Ben did suggest an interesting scenario. As I said to him, my statement was probably a bit narrow-focused.


Sorry, but the statement taking my rights as a joke is, to me, a step too far. The situation with Scalzi and Stross might of made me over-sensitive, I agree, but I /have/ passed on ebooks I didn't like to other people, deleting my copies, and that's legal here.

(And, of course, it's up to me to make sure I did delete them. Had to dig out my deep backups...)


djgreedo - No, they were created for items sold to you. In law, the delivery method is not relevant. The differentiation is between product and service, not physical and digital.

There is no reason whatsoever to "think different" - if you want to strip the rights associated with sale, you can rent it or provide it as a service. You want digital files to have all the limits of non-sales without providing anything in return, which means they have to be considerably cheaper, or they will not be adopted.

This is, of course, what's happened to music - it had to get a lot cheaper. But every time this comes up, "oh, we can't do that for books". Well, pick - user rights, or get cheaper. A small minority of users playing you false on rights (and bluntly, in even slightly different situations they'd of gone to the darknet anyway) or a global price cut...

Elfwreck
04-03-2010, 12:11 PM
Common E-book sales are a fraction of even the worst distribution NY came up with. The only factor off-setting that differential is the direct sale that allows the bulk of the money to go directly to the author. If you like an author's work and buy second hand, you're directly undermining the author's ability to write more. That, to me, is self-defeating.

Ah, but what if I don't know if I like the author's work?

The big purpose of secondhand books is, "Hey, I liked this; maybe you'll like it too--try it for free and find out." And ebooks are eroding that aspect of literature. The concept of "1purchase=1reader" has never been how books worked. Would never let them flourish.

Books got to be popular because they were read by many people after the buyer, not because the buyer convinced all their friends to go buy another new copy.

This *is* a problem with digital books, because ebooks lack a lot of the features that can make buying your own copy useful. You can't get them signed. You can't get the leatherbound special edition *or* the supersmall fits-in-your-pocket paperback. There's no new updated cover with a forward by Author's More Famous Friend. (Well. There can be updated covers, but the appeal for cover art in ebooks is much less. It's useful, but it doesn't get seen nearly as often.) There's no way to show your "ebook shelf" to your friends, so they can pick one to borrow. It's hard to put six people in a room reading ebooks, hard to have "library night with cheese and wine and light conversation." The social aspects of books (which were always a bit limited) are mostly removed from ebooks.

The ebook industry *desperately* needs to find a way around this. Maybe by having online discussion groups for books (where the entire text would be available, which means copyable). Book clubs where ebooks are exchanged by email, swapped around in a small group with an understanding that they won't be shared with anyone outside of the group. (These already exist. If they're not legitimized somehow, they'll continue to *not encourage sales* outside of the group, because the people involved can't legally talk about where they got their books.) Maybe transfer licenses that work a limited number of times (which, when exhausted, puts us back exactly where we are now, except that maybe people will be less prone to wanting to share if they know 5 other people have already read this one).

Any method of adding social aspects to ebooks is going to mean less direct sales, which is painful for authors who are counting every book sale. But those methods are going to be necessary, if books are going to take part in the digital age as a vital form of entertainment instead of a rarified hobby, similar to stamp collecting: sure, there are lots of afficionados, and even fanatics, but for the most part, they don't share it with their friends.

Me? I read over 100k words per week. Sometimes half a million words in a week. My budget for books isn't going to increase anytime soon. And the circular nature of reading means I read more of what I know I'll like--which means there are a dozen fanfic authors whose new works I pounce on, and hundreds of professional authors whose names I don't even know, because I don't have a chance to taste their works before buying, because none of my friends have sent me a link and said, "you *gotta* read THIS!"

People don't send each other links and say, "You *gotta* buy THIS!" Ebooks need to find a way around that problem.

JaneFancher
04-03-2010, 12:47 PM
Ah, but what if I don't know if I like the author's work?

The big purpose of secondhand books is, "Hey, I liked this; maybe you'll like it too--try it for free and find out." And ebooks are eroding that aspect of literature. The concept of "1purchase=1reader" has never been how books worked. Would never let them flourish.

Actually, I'm very glad you posted this. Saves me a lot of wordage.

After a good night's sleep, I find my attitude quite changed.

I've always been a huge supporter of used books. What I write isn't for everyone. It's complex and intense and long. A book generally takes me at least two years to write and edit. I don't like the work I slaved over languishing unwanted or, worse, in a garbage bin somewhere. Anything that gets it into the hands of those who can appreciate it, I'm for.

On the CC site, we operate completely on the honor system. We even say flat out that we don't have a problem with lending the file, just please, if the person likes it, remember how we make our living and come buy a legitimate copy. We all of us write books designed to be reread. If you like it once, you're going to like it better the second and third time through.

I totally agree about the community thing. I posted elsewhere about the critical mass syndrome of publishing that has been completely destroyed by the Thor Tool decision. In that sense, ebooks will, I'm convinced, be the saviors of true alternative, quality fiction. For a less common-appeal book, a given physical community might have only a handful of readers who truly enjoy it. The chances they'll meet is small. They enjoy it in private, try to parse the questions provoked in the privacy of their own mind, rather than clarifying their reactions in social dialog. Online, they can google the author and find, increasingly, a whole community ready to share and discuss.

As for physical social events, there's nothing to stop local readers groups from choosing an ebook to read and discuss. And then there's the global readers' group. The fact that ebooks are universally available means people who have met online and are headed for a convention from all ends of the country can read the same book, meet in the bar and talk about it, with no one held hostage to a local B&N buyer.

It's really pretty exciting, and just getting started.

Tricorp
04-03-2010, 01:04 PM
So how does the nook lending feature fit into this discussion?

Elfwreck
04-03-2010, 01:15 PM
So how does the nook lending feature fit into this discussion?

Barely at all; it's a mostly-crippled way of transferring usage rights.
1) Only works for two weeks.
2) Only works *once* per book.
3) Doesn't work at all if the publisher has decided not to allow it.
And, of course,
4) Only works for people who use B&N's software, on its limited range of devices, to read ebooks.

What the Nook lending feature is mostly useful for, is to show that lending and transferal of ebooks is *technologically possible*, and that publishers and bookstores are loathe to allow ebooks to be shared as pbooks have always been shared.

Iphinome
04-03-2010, 11:33 PM
When speaking of digital content, there is no (a) or (b), so...no, legitimate resale... I don't think so. Perhaps people need to learn to shop carefully and be content with actually owning the product.


Except it isn't ownership if you own something you can sell it, it's a license which you in theory own so you should be able to transfer it except you can't. So price ether needs to reflect this lesser value and it needs to be me made blear its a license not a sale (no buy now button because you can't actually buy it) or the rights of ownership have to be included (first sale doctrine.)


edit: sorry reading back I missed where this was covered.

riemann42
04-04-2010, 12:38 AM
People don't send each other links and say, "You *gotta* buy THIS!" Ebooks need to find a way around that problem.

My father showed me his (physical) copy of, The Big Burn by Timothy Egan. He informed me that he is telling all of his friends about it. He refuses to loan out his copy. Amongst his friends this is common. They all want to support an author who writes something great, so they each buy a new copy.

I bought an eBook version, in front of him, to show how easy it was. I'll read it someday. Buy your own.

Finally, I think a License, or rental, model could be twisted to include a used market. However, to work, it would require a new type of DRM. We can all state that we will delete it when we sell the book, but that is a load of bull. Mr. Jordan mentioned near the beginning of this thread that this type of DRM would have drastic implications for privacy. I agree.

So in short, I hope a used market never develops for eBooks. If we want to go DRM free, then we should all accept that the reselling of an eBook is not permitted until the copyright expires.

Off Topic: Copyright should last 50 years from time of initial publication, or Life of Author plus 25 years. Whichever is shorter. This should be implemented world wide, retroactively, 200 years ago.

Iphinome
04-04-2010, 12:51 AM
Off Topic: Copyright should last 50 years from time of initial publication, or Life of Author plus 25 years. Whichever is shorter. This should be implemented world wide, retroactively, 200 years ago.

200 years ago it was 7 years with a renewal of 7.

Elfwreck
04-04-2010, 01:10 AM
On the CC site, we operate completely on the honor system. We even say flat out that we don't have a problem with lending the file, just please, if the person likes it, remember how we make our living and come buy a legitimate copy. We all of us write books designed to be reread. If you like it once, you're going to like it better the second and third time through.

There are a number of authors and small publishers who have similar attitudes--a bit of sharing is good, but they're nervous about giving any kind of official go-ahead for it. And that's understandable; our laws involving copyright are really, really screwy, and there's no way to give permission for "reasonable sharing and just don't be a jerk about it."

This is uncomfortable, and it's going to stay uncomfortable until/unless copyright law goes through some big changes. (Which are about due. Aside from the torrenting lawsuit psychoses, the attempts at 3-strikes punishments without convinctions, and the hassles of DRM removal for reasonable purposes--it's only a few years until The Mouse runs free. Expect Disney's lawyers to be launching a lawsuit to prevent that anytime in the next couple of years.)

I totally agree about the community thing. I posted elsewhere about the critical mass syndrome of publishing that has been completely destroyed by the Thor Tool decision. In that sense, ebooks will, I'm convinced, be the saviors of true alternative, quality fiction.
...
It's really pretty exciting, and just getting started.

This. Yes.

I want to go track down big publishers and tell them, do something *now*, while ebooks are young and tiny and the ebook market has no specific shape or direction. Try bold things, stupid things, because the old methods aren't going to work here, and right now--for the next few years and then it's gone--anything you do in the ebook market will have almost no effect on the pbook market.

Ebooks are a tiny niche with big enough attention being paid to them, that whoever is at the forefront of the first *working* model is going to get rich off it.

That may be Baen. It may be Harlequin, which uses DRM, and has ebooks that go out of print regularly (you can't get last year's ebooks on their site), but their books are cheap enough to be impulse buys, numerous enough to be subscriptions (they're formulaic enough to lack any surprises--either you like them or you don't), and if they're massively torrented (they are), it doesn't matter because their business model has never focused on convincing everyone to buy new books, but on getting the word out that there's *always* new ones available for purchase right now. It may be tiny groups like Closed Circle, authors working together to make *good* ebooks, and pitching them to sympathetic audiences.

It won't be the Kindle model, with its convoluted DRM rules and incompatibility with most devices, and Amazon's creepy overseer abilities. It won't be the iBookstore, with its even more restrictive setup. Those are going to remain niche markets (even if they're the *biggest* ebook markets at the moment), because they're *failing to catch the majority of readers.*

The majority of the potential ebook market is currently blog-surfing more than reading ebooks, because paying for badly-formatted content is almost against their religion. And mainstream publishers are utterly failing to catch their attention, because it's never occurred to them that the sales pitch can't be "Top on the NYT bestseller list!" but needs to be closer to "More fun than an hour of clicking at TVTropes.com!"

I don't know what sales model(s) will work eventually; it's all scrambled right now. I'm enjoying seeing *different* business models, 'cos the old ones are not going to work in the long run.

djgreedo
04-04-2010, 01:45 AM
djgreedo - No, they were created for items sold to you. In law, the delivery method is not relevant. The differentiation is between product and service, not physical and digital.

There is no reason whatsoever to "think different" - if you want to strip the rights associated with sale, you can rent it or provide it as a service.



I think we're in general agreement - the rights and benefits of a paper book are intrinsic to its physical form, and those rights and benefits are a factor in the value of the book.

But I think treating an ebook as a service or rental is still limiting it to the current paradigm.

Over the last several years I've started consuming my media mostly digitally. I buy all my music from various online sources. I treat my music as much more disposable now. For instance I might buy a sing for $1, then a month later buy the album it's on. I will just delete the single since I now own two copies. I wouldn't try to sell that file for 50c. The amount of money involved is too small to worry about. When I was younger and buying CDs I would often swap or sell them with friends, but that was a physical item.

What I'm saying is that the way I percieve my ownership of this material is changing to suit its nature, and I think there will be an evolution of attitudes of consumers, content providers, and eventually laws to suit digital media better.

I think that digital media is in a way what the publishers want. They have always considered customers to be buying a licence to consume intellectual property, and the ability (or right) to resell that in its physical container has been a thorn in the publishers' sides. Customers have always expected to be buying a physical object that they can do with as the please (and rightly so).

Publishers therefore think that the actual value (i.e. price) of an ebook should be the same as a paper book, because it is the intellectual property that is being bought. The consumer thinks that a major part of the value/price is the physical object itself and the potential for reclaiming some of the original cost (and I agree).

But the actual value of an ebook needs to be low enough that consumers are comfortable with buying it despite having no resell value, and yet high enough that the publishers can provide quality material while earning a living for all the people involved in producing it. Most books already make very little money, and selling ebooks at a dollar each is not going to make the publishers more money than selling a paperback for $10.

Most people will happily pay $15 to go and watch a 2-hour movie (plus $45 for popcorn...). A $15 ebook entertains for far longer than 2 hours, so I don't understand why anyone would not be willing to pay $10-$15 for an electronic book that they don't have a right to sell (hypothetically, that is, as the law seems to allow reselling). And that is how I've been treating Kindle books. They are cheap enough that I feel reading them once and forgetting I ever bought them is something I'm pretty comfortable with.

djgreedo
04-04-2010, 01:53 AM
Why couldn't you have a digital model that was a kind of transferable license? That doesn't strike me as a laughable idea. It would be possible, for example, for Amazon to allow a Kindle book to be transferred to another user. I'm not promoting this as a great idea, but I would support it as something worth discussing. The point of the thread, I thought, was to ask the question as to whether there was a legitimate model or not.

The problem with that idea is that it requires DRM, and DRM is almost always a bad thing.

Couldn't we just find new ways of reaching the same goals? I like the Kindle sample idea, for example. I can get 15 pages of a book sent to my Kindle with no obligation. If I like what I see I can then buy the book. This is the digital equivalent of picking up a book in a shop and skimming through it.

There are so many ways of 'sampling' a book these days, and it should be much easier for people to make educated buying decisions.

Of course all of these problems will melt away if the concept of paying for digital media goes away and we and the creators find other (indirect) ways of funding, such as advertising, etc.

Lemurion
04-04-2010, 11:17 AM
If I buy a physical book it can be read by one person in one place at one time.

If I buy an electronic book it can be read by more than one person in more than one place at one time.

(Even most major DRM schemes allow this to at least a limited degree.)

They're not the same thing, so treating them identically under the law is doomed to fail. You can't use them identically, so you can't treat them identically and have it work in the long run.

Some sort of new accommodation and understanding has to be found - and both sides need to buy in to it.

The first thing that has to happen is for publishers/providers to stop treating customers as the enemy.

TGS
04-04-2010, 11:51 AM
A large part of the meaning of a word comes from the associations that it has. Ebook publishers rely on this to create a market for ebooks - ebooks are a lot like ordinary books, so if you like books there's going to be no problem with ebooks. But of course, ebooks are, in most respects, so unlike books that perhaps we need a different noun. The things I can't do with a ebook that I can do with a book:

Own it (often I have only a license)
Resell it
Let someone borrow it (not usually and not easily)
Give it away (again not usually and not easily)
Have half a dozen open at the same time whilst I write a paper
Decorate my study with them
Give them as gifts (not as easily as giving books at least)


I could go on, but my point is that ebooks are more different from books than they are similar. The problem is that many of us try to relate to ebooks as if the were books - and we come up against frustration and annoyance when we are confronted by one of the many ways in which they are not like books.
The two sorts of solutions that seem to be suggested on this thread and others is either to make ebooks more like books, or to forget that they are any sort of book in the traditional sense at all.

The publishers I suspect would like us to pursue the latter course of action, yet at the same time all their marketing and the general discourse of ebooks encourages me to think of these electronic files as books - which of course they are not. So, if the producers of ebooks want me to stop thinking of their products as books they should start being honest about what they are selling me - a license to use an electronic file - and not just in the "fine print" but in the very presentation of their product.

JaneFancher
04-04-2010, 12:31 PM
The first thing that has to happen is for publishers/providers to stop treating customers as the enemy.

Speaking as an author who is trying very hard to work with the readers to be fair and who has been rather arbitrary ripped a new one (well, they've tried, but it hasn't worked :D) by some of the members here, I'd say that goes both ways.

On the plus side, as always the immensely helpful and interesting folks far outnumber the ... less so.

But I appreciate the sentiment and absolutely agree with you.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 04:11 PM
I think we're in general agreement - the rights and benefits of a paper book are intrinsic to its physical form, and those rights and benefits are a factor in the value of the book.

Huh? No, we are not even slightly in agreement! The intrinsic worth of content is based on the content itself, not the medium on which it comes.

EU law is quite clear that this is the case legally, as well.

But I think treating an ebook as a service or rental is still limiting it to the current paradigm.

"treating"? No, it's an option if publishers don't want to sell ebooks, it gives them certain responsibilities. Publishers are trying to get the best of both worlds, to the detriment of the consumer, and then whining when consumers go to the darknet instead.

I treat my music as much more disposable now

And that's your choice. But please don't pretend it's anything but your free choice.

What I'm saying is that the way I percieve my ownership of this material is changing to suit its nature, and I think there will be an evolution of attitudes of consumers, content providers, and eventually laws to suit digital media better.

Yes, certainly, if you continue to push this anti-consumer crusade, standing side by side with big content, then you're likely to push the younger generation into political activism and a private copy exemption. Is that your "better suited"?

Publishers therefore think that the actual value (i.e. price) of an ebook should be the same as a paper book, because it is the intellectual property that is being bought. The consumer thinks that a major part of the value/price is the physical object itself and the potential for reclaiming some of the original cost (and I agree).

...You have that potential with the digital copy. Simply because the wrapper is different does not change your rights under law, and the exhaustion doctrine still applies.

The comfortable ideas of people with a lot of disposable income are all very well, but limiting the reading of poorer people based on the concept that the wrapper content is in determines their rights will simply - and is allready starting to - create an underclass without adequate information access, because it's locked away simply because of the medium.

The medium is not the message and never has been, the medium is simply a display mechanism for the message.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 04:12 PM
So, if the producers of ebooks want me to stop thinking of their products as books they should start being honest about what they are selling me - a license to use an electronic file - and not just in the "fine print" but in the very presentation of their product.

EU law is quite clear on this - if it looks like a sale, smells like a sale and is presented as a sale? It's a sale, and exhaustion doctrine applies.


Ms Fancher - You have treated user's rights in law as a joke. This, I'm afraid, speaks volumes to me. In the long run, that attitude can only help spark support for the private copying exception I see looming on the horizon (you may wish to check the success of the PirateParties in the EU, it's far from negligible, politically...and they're just getting started) and which I believe only an attitude of respecting users rights can fight off.

In the end, there has to be a reasonable alternative between the private copy exception and the "you'll pay repeatedly and like it" attitude of big media, and mocking user's rights is most decidedly on the side of big media, given their current legal attacks on said rights.

TGS
04-04-2010, 06:04 PM
EU law is quite clear on this - if it looks like a sale, smells like a sale and is presented as a sale? It's a sale, and exhaustion doctrine applies.


But a sale of what? As far as I understand it, (which, admittedly isn't far), in the UK books are zero rated for VAT, but ebooks are standard rated. The rationale for this is that ebooks are not "goods" but a service. Thus, it might be a sale but we are not buying what we think we are buying, (or rather, not buying in my case).

riemann42
04-04-2010, 06:07 PM
DawnFalcon,

To return to the OPs question. Can there be a used market for eBooks? I repeat an emphatic No. Any attempt to do so would encourage more DRM.

However, you make a very valid point about Law right now. My suggestion is that we change this law.

Am I anti-consumer? No. Not at all. I am anti-DRM, and against publishers and bookstores telling me how I can use their digital product. You may strongly disagree with me, and call me anti-consumer if you like for feeling this way. It is a fair argument. I just feel that DRM is more harmful than lack of resale rights.

I am also pro-author and pro-creator (ok, my face just turned red when i reread that). I think that seeing digital purchases as a per-household arrangement one time sale is the best compromise.

So where do we go from here? Your arguments about EU Law are likely correct (In the US, likely not. Assume that consumers have no rights in the land-of-the-free-and-brave). Certainly many of us assume that purchasing an eBook confers ownership, and the rights of ownership seem to include the rights of resellers.

I think we need to have a Digital Consumers and Creators Bill of Rights Treaty. It would confer on consumers the right to:

* Consume purchased media on any device they wish, as long as this does not include public display of the media.

* Share media with all members of a household, within reason. A household would not, for example, include an entire dorm. Furthermore, for corporate consumers, unless explicitly stated, the right to consume the media would go to a single employee.

* Backup, preserve, convert, and modify media in any way they choose, as long as it is for personal use and not resold or distributed outside of a single household.

* Digital media ownership grants rights to content. Content would not need to be repurchased. If a new medium is developed for same content, the consumer is within his/her rights to convert it or to commission a third party to perform this conversion.

In return for these rights, come these responsibilities:

* Digital Content cannot be resold without the permission of the copyright owner.


Compare the above set of rights and responsibilities to a system which would maintain current right of resale and ownership:

* Digital content can be purchased and used by one individual.

* Transfer of content is legal, as long as transfer is permanent.

* Consumer can't convert media to another format, or distribute media without exchanging the license.

* To ensure that the system works, a DRM scheme would be required, and violating the DRM would be a criminal offense.


Of course the ideal CONSUMER system would grant all the rights of the first and the second, without the DRM. Problem here is that the system will be abused. The current used CD market is an example of this abuse.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 06:34 PM
But a sale of what? As far as I understand it, (which, admittedly isn't far), in the UK books are zero rated for VAT, but ebooks are standard rated. The rationale for this is that ebooks are not "goods" but a service. Thus, it might be a sale but we are not buying what we think we are buying, (or rather, not buying in my case).

No, the rationale is that printed books are a specific exception to VAT rating, and ebooks are not, since they are not "printed". The UK government has admitted they have the power to zero-rate ebooks, but chose not to.


riemann42 - You are wrong. The law says I can resell, and your quoting the line of big media lobbying organisations is plainly and simply factually incorrect.

"Am I anti-consumer? No. Not at all."

No, you're "just" effectively massively pro-big media (and in the longer term, creating more support for the private copy exemption lobby) with taking that stance. DRM is no more and no less than an excuse.

If you want to change the law, sure, let's hear the specific proposals, but to claim with a straight face that existing law doesn't allow resale is propaganda. Remember that if the law is reviewed, you will only have a very small say, and big media will have a very large say - how do you propose to stop them getting their way?

The current system is not ideal, but it has the advantage of allowing consumers some rights, which big media is repeatedly trying to strip.

Ah, specifics...you are, quite simply, proposing to strip first sale/exhaustion doctrine rights. And in return...what? Well, let's see... given media is sold in the EU, you're proposing people get their existing rights, stripping commercial organisations of reasonable display rights, limiting private lending of media...and oh, ONE new right, to outsource format conversion of media they own.

It's an absolutely terrible "deal" for consumers, it's more like a phase 1 wishlist for big media. You are simply and plainly incorrect on how you view current rights - it's a sale, you can sell it on, you can do anything with it not restricted by copyright (i.e. copies outside your direct control), etc. - in the UK, personal format shifting and DRM stripping and is not "legal", but it IS completely non-prosecutable, it's simply not in the public interest to prosecute (and so the CPS won't).


"The current used CD market is an example of this abuse."

Ohnoes, people exerting their legal rights is abuse.

...

You're shilling for big media. My bad, nothing else in this post addressed to you is remotely relevant, I see. Sigh, I should know better than to respond to astroturfing...

DJHARKAVY
04-04-2010, 06:36 PM
I think we need to have a Digital Consumers and Creators Bill of Rights Treaty. It would confer on consumers the right to:

* Consume purchased media on any device they wish, as long as this does not include public display of the media.

* Share media with all members of a household, within reason. A household would not, for example, include an entire dorm. Furthermore, for corporate consumers, unless explicitly stated, the right to consume the media would go to a single employee.

* Backup, preserve, convert, and modify media in any way they choose, as long as it is for personal use and not resold or distributed outside of a single household.

* Digital media ownership grants rights to content. Content would not need to be repurchased. If a new medium is developed for same content, the consumer is within his/her rights to convert it or to commission a third party to perform this conversion.

In return for these rights, come these responsibilities:

* Digital Content cannot be resold without the permission of the copyright owner.

What about audio? Does that come under the same umbrella?

Otherwise, sounds good to me...

Elfwreck
04-04-2010, 07:38 PM
To return to the OPs question. Can there be a used market for eBooks? I repeat an emphatic No. Any attempt to do so would encourage more DRM.

However, you make a very valid point about Law right now. My suggestion is that we change this law.

This is not a small, incidental special-law-about-digital-materials. This is one of the foundations of property law: if you own it, you can (re)sell it.

Removing that from digital content would be a nightmare.

Does it include digital music purchased on CDs? Game programs on CDs, which have to be installed in a computer to be used? Can the discs no longer be resold? If a person rips their disc to MP3 to play on an iPod, are they not permitted to sell the disc later?

How will you tell the difference between a person who has a computer & has ripped the disc, vs one who's only played it on a CD player?

How will you deal with ebooks whose authors/publishers say, "A bit of sharing is okay; don't go overboard?" What law will categorize what kind of sharing that includes?

Why *can't* it be shared with an entire dorm? A single boom box can play music the whole dorm can hear. (Assuming a big box & a small dorm.) Why should text be less legally share-able than music?

What about software--does it become illegal to sell a computer with a proprietary OS loaded on it?

Digital media ownership grants rights to content.
Does that mean DVD owners would have the right to download & burn Blu-ray content, if that became possible?

Muchly important to all of this:
How will these laws be enforced, and will violations of them be criminal or civil? What's the crime and penalty for reselling a $5 ebook for $2.50?

Nightmare. What you're proposing is not a simple tweaking of digital legalities; it's a change in the basic nature of property law.

It's possible to get around that, by having *future* digital sales all be licenses instead of sales, in which case they can set their terms. However, in order to do that, they have to fit the legal definition of a "license," which requires more than a EULA that says "you may not resell this." They'd have to tell customers they're only buying usage rights, and define the terms, including how long the license lasts (in the US, it can't be "forever until we change our minds"), and the other terms under which those rights can be revoked.

Some textbook sellers do this now. I have my doubts about it succeeding for mass-market ebooks.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 07:40 PM
Right - How about something which is 25% "digital". 5%? 1%? How much "digital" content does it need before you can't resell it? Because if it's a low percentage, well, yea...

Those textbook sellers generally /do/ give a big price cut in return for effectively renting the textbooks. Which is how it should be!

riemann42
04-04-2010, 10:30 PM
riemann42 - You are wrong. The law says I can resell, and your quoting the line of big media lobbying organisations is plainly and simply factually incorrect.

I'm sorry that I seemed to have implied a statement of fact. I did not intend to do this, as I am not a Lawyer and not qualified to comment on existing law. It was never my intent at all to suggest that what your were saying was incorrect, so I apologize if it came out that way.

Both you and Elfwreck make excellent points on the practicality of what I am suggesting.

I am mildly offended that my position is categorized as being in favor of Big Media. I am in favor of a legal framework that encouraged authors and artists to participate in a system to insure that they are compensated.

Right now, at least in the States, our law is written by large corporations, rather than artists and consumers. Right now, consumers have very little rights to the Digital Media they purchase. If it is protected by DRM, we have very little rights. It is a criminal act to remove this DRM. In effect, most of the 'Big Media' ebooks have no right of resale.

I want to not be a criminal because I use Linux. I want to buy media from the store with the lowest price. I will confess to a strong bias against used CDs and Bookstores, as I strongly feel that the artist or author deserves to be compensated at each sale. If we disagree on this point, then I do not believe we can ever come to an agreement, and that's OK.

Also, I would argue that considering Digital Content different than physical content is not new and radical. I argue that considering said property to be equivalent to physical property is what is radical. Software sales have long since created a wealth of case law on this issue, but as IANAL.

As food for thought, here are the terms of use at Fictionwise:

All eBooks at Fictionwise.com are the exclusive property of the publisher or its licensors and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. The download of these product(s) is intended for the Fictionwise Member's personal and noncommercial use. Any other use of eBooks downloaded from Fictionwise.com is strictly prohibited. Users may not modify, transmit, publish, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display, or in any way exploit, any of the content of these product(s), in whole or in part. By downloading Fictionwise eBooks, the User hereby acknowledges and agrees to these terms.

If you disagree with the above terms, agreed to at time of sale, I encourage you to file a lawsuit and nullify these terms.

riemann42
04-04-2010, 10:33 PM
I just reread the above Terms for Fictionwise. They are effectively selling a license. They are selling the ability to download the file.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 11:05 PM
I am mildly offended that my position is categorized as being in favor of Big Media. I am in favor of a legal framework that encouraged authors and artists to participate in a system to insure that they are compensated.

I look at the implications of changes, rather than just the wording of the changes.

The right to remove DRM for personal use is not something you specifically mentioned, and it'd be a different right to that simply for format shifting and so on.

As food for thought, here are the terms of use at Fictionwise:

Not worth the electrons used to display that under EU law. EU law is quite clear on the point that Fictionwise are selling the books (since that is how they are presented, as sales), and all a user's normal rights, including that of exhaustion doctrine (and hence resale), apply.

More, that agreement breaches the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, sample terms 2.3.2, 2.8.3, 14.2.1, 17.1, 18.3.1, 18.4.1, 18.6.1, 18.8.1, 18.8.2, 18.8.3, 19.1, 19.3, 19.5, 19.6, 19.7, 19.9, 19.10, 19.12, 19.14 and potentially 6.1.2.

(Darn, it breaches a LOT for covering such a narrow area, lmao - although 95%+ of contracts fail the 19.x segments about Plain English)

If you disagree with the above terms, agreed to at time of sale, I encourage you to file a lawsuit and nullify these terms.

Don't need to. The law's clear. If Fictionwise tried to sue an EU citizen for breach, the case would be tossed in a heartbeat (If the IP owner brought a civil IP case, that might be considered, but that EULA is trashcan material).


Note that the text on the "add to cart" button is "ready to buy?", this would almost certainly (it has quite a few precedents) be held to be the controlling text as regards sale vs licence.

Elfwreck
04-04-2010, 11:19 PM
I just reread the above Terms for Fictionwise. They are effectively selling a license. They are selling the ability to download the file.

The EULA is written like a license, but the transaction doesn't act like one.

In the US, the biggest difference between a license and a sale is time: licenses are temporary; sales are permanent. If the customer gets to keep it forever, it's very very hard to prove in court that it was a "license." Also, the site says "ready to buy? Add to cart" not "ready to license?"--that (1) leans towards it legally being a purchase and (2) leans toward *deliberate fraud* if they want to claim it's legally a license.

PKFFW
04-04-2010, 11:29 PM
I am mildly offended that my position is categorized as being in favor of Big Media. I am in favor of a legal framework that encouraged authors and artists to participate in a system to insure that they are compensated.
Don't worry too much about it riemann, anyone who disagrees with DF is categoried as a big media shill. I wouldn't take it personally. :)
Also, I would argue that considering Digital Content different than physical content is not new and radical. I argue that considering said property to be equivalent to physical property is what is radical. Software sales have long since created a wealth of case law on this issue, but as IANAL.
Seems ironic to me to that on the one hand many argue digital media is different to physical property and should be treated differently when it comes to creators rights and copyright infringement but then they argue it should be treated the same when it comes to their right of resale.

An interesting duality I think.

Cheers,
PKFFW

Iphinome
04-04-2010, 11:40 PM
I am mildly offended that my position is categorized as being in favor of Big Media. I am in favor of a legal framework that encouraged authors and artists to participate in a system to insure that they are compensated.

Right now, at least in the States, our law is written by large corporations, rather than artists and consumers. Right now, consumers have very little rights to the Digital Media they purchase. If it is protected by DRM, we have very little rights. It is a criminal act to remove this DRM. In effect, most of the 'Big Media' ebooks have no right of resale.

I want to not be a criminal because I use Linux. I want to buy media from the store with the lowest price. I will confess to a strong bias against used CDs and Bookstores, as I strongly feel that the artist or author deserves to be compensated at each sale. If we disagree on this point, then I do not believe we can ever come to an agreement, and that's OK.



Insure they are compensated? That would be the Marxist view that work adds value, personally I am not a communist so I oppose the idea that artists deserve pay simply for creating. Now a system that allowed them the chance to try and make some money in an open market for their creations sounds good, of course the problem with this is unless it sells for a big pile of money the first person to get their hands on it will make copies and sell them cheaper or give them away because they don't have the development costs the artists did, no investment in pizza and caffeine.

Perhaps if we had some sort of system to promote the progress of science and the useful arts that granted a short term monopoly to the artists just long enough for them to make a profit if one can be made but not so long as to prevent them from needing to make more art to keep food on the table. Seven years sounds nice and maybe then a renewal for another 7 if they're still alive, of course that could be a little short. 28 years? Maybe as high as 56? 56 years is a long time and you have to figure if someone can't turn a profit in that time they're doing something wrong and just aren't going to make a profit. At the same time or I should say in time they lose that monopoly as a sort of tax they pay to get that monopoly in the first place the artist would have to lose control to the people who were nice enough give them protection. Odd idea probably not workable but something to think on.

As to your opposition to used book and cd stores do you also feel an artist should be payed if someone resells a painting? A patent holder if you resell your lawnmower? How about a royalty when you give away a book you no longer want or a pen you no longer want? The idea is absurd. Would you ever really own anything unless its so old nothing in it is covered by some monopoly granted for the sake of progress? And where would there be any progress when you can't freely build on anything that came before without having to pay just to add your own idea?

I don't want to pick on you here but a big problem here and elsewhere is taking one idea that sounds good and not thinking it through to everything affected by it. You see quite a bit of it in politics when some idea is popular or unpopular and people get all up in arms for or against it without understanding that said tax cut will take away really useful x, or banning $unpopular_thing by extension allows the banning of $thing_unpopular_with_crazy_fringe_group and then $thing_you_like_but_might_one_day_have_a_bad_effec t_on_random_child_maybe.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 11:45 PM
PKFFW -

There are plenty of people who disagree with me, some constantly, who I don't call shills. If you don't want to be called a shill, don't act like one and consider the consequences of the changes you're calling for - many "reformers" are inadvertently shilling for big media because of sloppy wording...it's a lawyer's game. Also, you might not want to quote RIAA press releases in future, fyi, if you're trying to be subtle.

And you're the one arguing that they should have less rights based on the medium, not me. The law here simply doesn't make that differentiation for books and ebooks. The duality is entirely on your part.


Iphinome? I think you stopped reading at the first part of that sentence. He said "compensated for every sale". Which is reasonable.

"do you also feel an artist should be payed if someone resells a painting?"

Europe has that right now, the "artist resale right". It's extremely controversial.

riemann42
04-04-2010, 11:47 PM
The EULA is written like a license, but the transaction doesn't act like one.

In the US, the biggest difference between a license and a sale is time: licenses are temporary; sales are permanent. If the customer gets to keep it forever, it's very very hard to prove in court that it was a "license." Also, the site says "ready to buy? Add to cart" not "ready to license?"--that (1) leans towards it legally being a purchase and (2) leans toward *deliberate fraud* if they want to claim it's legally a license.

Interesting. Good point.

However, I think that "Ready to buy?" still works for a License, as in, "Ready to buy your license?"

Also, most Software "Licenses" are a lifetime grant (at least in the case of the MS Licenses, whose terms I have gotten a taste of lately). If however, as you state, a License needs to be temporary, these terms are invalid, or at least subject to some discussion. The legal terms for a transfer of ownership of a company are complicated enough already...

I guess, aside from the legal question, I am curious if anyone else agrees with me that there is an ethical and practical issue.

I think that reselling an eBook is generally not appropriate. It robs the author of revenue, and is an extremely difficult transaction to perform considering that the seller must delete all copies, and inform all online merchants holding a copy in the seller's name that they no longer have rights to the download.

Of course, I think reselling a physical book is inappropriate as well. I do not, however, have a problem with giving it away, as this does not usually equate to a lost sale for the author, so there you go. How do we do that with a digital file?

Of course if the Author is Dead, and her poor widower is dead as well, and her children were a bunch of brats who need to learn to make their own damn living, then I can see a good reason to resell, but that's a Copyright issue and a whole different ethical (and sadly legal...) debate.

Also, outside of theory, have any of you actually resold an eBook? If so, how did you handle issues such as DRM, informing original seller, etc?


P.S. I hate rereading my previous posts and noticing the glaring grammar errors and non-sequiturs.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 11:54 PM
Also, outside of theory, have any of you actually resold an eBook? If so, how did you handle issues such as DRM, informing original seller, etc?

I have. Quite a few times. Mostly RPG game books rather than novels, mind you, but still.

DRM? Don't buy DRM'ed books. So not an issue.

And informing the origional seller? Why would I do that? I'd no more tell the original seller than I would when I sold a physical item on, unless there were issues such as notification for warantee. It's my responsibility to ensure that I've deleted all my copies of the book, as well. The merchant does not enter the equation, exhaustion of rights applies!

It's no different from selling anything else, except the need to make sure your backups are purged of the file.

Your view, which is badly at odds with societal norms and law, completely against resale is at least consistent, but I'd argue highly damaging - especially to those on lower incomes. Incidentally, is it only IP you have an objection to resale of?

Iphinome
04-04-2010, 11:56 PM
Iphinome? I think you stopped reading at the first part of that sentence. He said "compensated for every sale". Which is reasonable.

"do you also feel an artist should be payed if someone resells a painting?"

Europe has that right now, the "artist resale right". It's extremely controversial.

I'd have to disagree with that one it tramples on first sale and think about all the things that are copyrighted, sure books movies and music but also maps magazines comic books photos sculpture. There has to be a pont where you own what you pay to posses indefinitely.

DawnFalcon
04-04-2010, 11:59 PM
Oh you do own the pictures. It's a transaction tax on resale. If it impacted the rights of the owner in any other way, it would never have passed.

Bear in mind most countries outside the USA have Moral Rights, and your rights to a work of art are not absolute within the creator's lifetime anyway.

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:04 AM
As to your opposition to used book and cd stores do you also feel an artist should be payed if someone resells a painting? A patent holder if you resell your lawnmower? How about a royalty when you give away a book you no longer want or a pen you no longer want? The idea is absurd. Would you ever really own anything unless its so old nothing in it is covered by some monopoly granted for the sake of progress? And where would there be any progress when you can't freely build on anything that came before without having to pay just to add your own idea?


Hmmm. Wow. I didn't intend to go that far. My opposition to used books and CDs is more of an ethical opposition than a legal one.

As far as considering my ideas Marxist, I find that interesting, and difficult to parse. I will think about this, and see if I can figure out how agreeing that an artist should be compensated for the sale of his/her work is Marxist. When I understand it, I will excise all such ideas from my brain so that when I testify before congress I can say I am not a communist, and mean it.

Seriously, however, you raise many valid points, but some of them really are a straw man argument. They do, however, force me to be a little more specific about my position:

In the case of a work of Literature, art, etc. that is covered by copyright and easily copied with little to no marginal cost, and has no value other than the content, be it words, music, or pictures, then each consumer, or at least each household, who wishes to read, listen, or view said content should reasonably be expected to compensate the original artist if the original artist is still accepting compensation by way of selling said work, be it in physical or electronic form.

In short, I like my favorite authors, and want to support them. I want you to support your favorite authors as well. Oh that's it! There's the Marxism.

Finally, I am not making a legal argument! I'll leave that to DawnFalcon.

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:09 AM
And informing the origional seller? Why would I do that? I'd no more tell the original seller than I would when I sold a physical item on, unless there were issues such as notification for warantee. It's my responsibility to ensure that I've deleted all my copies of the book, as well. The merchant does not enter the equation, exhaustion of rights applies!

I only meant in the case where you still had Download Rights. My concern was that if, from the perspective of the original seller, the product sold was right to download versus the actual download. If this is the case, then the original seller has the right to be informed that you have given up your right to download the product. I am guessing that is not the case in the sales you have participated in, which is cool.

Iphinome
04-05-2010, 12:15 AM
As far as considering my ideas Marxist, I find that interesting, and difficult to parse. I will think about this, and see if I can figure out how agreeing that an artist should be compensated for the sale of his/her work is Marxist. When I understand it, I will excise all such ideas from my brain so that when I testify before congress I can say I am not a communist, and mean it.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added

Basically you argued they deserve pay and I argue they deserve the chance to try and turn a profit but with no guarantee that it will happen. My way let's people try to market their creation and get paid or not based on market forces you argued that since they created something they deserve money.

Think of it like this...

Bob was a pirate.
"Arr" said Bob.
Bob the pirate went on to do pirate things and then he died.

Okay pay me for my fabulous story of the pirate Bob.

Or you know I could try to sell it and never make a penny because it's not worth the electrons it took to send it to your computer.

Marxism places value of something in the work.

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:19 AM
Bear in mind most countries outside the USA have Moral Rights

Granted. I long for a legal system that grants rights based on Morality, rather than whatever Big Money wants to buy. Sorry, had to take your quote out of context.

Dawn, perhaps a tax on the sale to reward the original artist or author would be a great way to get around the ethical argument I make.

I don't see how it makes resell of digital products practical, however. You can tell I'm an American, as I naturally assume many people who sell used CDs copy it before selling it, and I doubt everyone will remove all digital copies when an ebook is resold.

DawnFalcon
04-05-2010, 12:24 AM
Where is the legal requirement for this? Look: You don't pick up a book you don't own and walk out the store, you don't download books you don't own. It's not hard.

And I'm not sure you understand Moral Rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights_%28copyright_law%29), many Americans don't... they're not the same at all as economic rights.

edit: not sure, heh.

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:25 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added

Basically you argued they deserve pay and I argue they deserve the chance to try and turn a profit but with no guarantee that it will happen. My way let's people try to market their creation and get paid or not based on market forces you argued that since they created something they deserve money.

Think of it like this...

Bob was a pirate.
"Arr" said Bob.
Bob the pirate went on to do pirate things and then he died.

Okay pay me for my fabulous story of the pirate Bob.

Or you know I could try to sell it and never make a penny because it's not worth the electrons it took to send it to your computer.

Marxism places value of something in the work.

Actually, I meant that they deserve to make money based on the sale of their work.

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:29 AM
Where is the legal requirement for this? Look: You don't pick up a book you don't own and walk out the store, you don't download books you don't own. It's not hard.

If the merchant believes he sold you the right to download an item, and use it for personal use only in a non-commercial setting, and you disagree and believe you bought the download itself, and have the right to sell it, then it seems fair that the merchant be informed of this disagreement. Otherwise, it seems, you are violating the contract without even bothering to challenge it, which may be legal, but not ethical.

Iphinome
04-05-2010, 12:34 AM
Ahh, well when they sell their work they do. When I sell a book or cd they've already been paid. I don't pay Thomas Crapper every time I flush a toilet, and I don't pay Eli Whitney if i sell a cotton tee-shirt at a garage sale. I may not have the right to produce copies for sale because of copyright and patent law but the actual whatever I do pay for becomes mine that's factored into the price I pay for it.

DawnFalcon
04-05-2010, 12:43 AM
riemann42 - Why? Fairness is not a requirement of exhaustion doctrine. There is no contract in the first place, it's a sale with associated grant of licence - which is something quite different (one-way, for starters).

Not to mention... It is down to the merchant when he is economically active to know the laws which apply (and, incidentally, implementing geographic restrictions on some books and not others to a EU country is "economic activity"), and not to have ToU and "agreements" which are 95% illegal.

Informing the company when you intent to break illegal EULA's is not ethical, it's asking for legal headaches fending off lawsuits with no basis, but filed by lawyers from companies with more money than you. I'm sure companies would find that convenient, but they are a legal fiction (remember, EU not US...) and resale of something you own is a perfectly reasonable action under societal, legal and ethical norms.

Bear in mind, people are "disagreeing" with the company's terms every time they exercise a fair usage right, and they're now supposed to tell the company? Remember, fair use is a defence against infringement proceedings and not a grant of the right to do so, and hence they're potentially incriminating themselves!


Iphinome - Exactly. Or they can have a contract or rental for a lower price (or ongoing price for access while paying to their entire catalogue, etc etc.)

riemann42
04-05-2010, 12:50 AM
And I'm sure you understand Moral Rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights_%28copyright_law%29), many Americans don't... they're not the same at all as economic rights.

I did not understand the difference. Thanks.

bwana
04-09-2010, 09:37 AM
I conclude that a market for used digital content is an oxymoron. You can't even give away your digital content. Since digital content is priced similarly to physical content when it shouldn't be, I rationalize that the publishers are charging me for the convenience of using an ereader.

At this point I see a market opportunity for apple and amazon. Accept submissions from authors directly. An additonal advantage would be a 'genius' function that could compare books based on content like gnooks, etc. I guess this reply is now off topic and will merit a thread of it's own.

Lemurion
04-09-2010, 08:46 PM
I conclude that a market for used digital content is an oxymoron. You can't even give away your digital content. Since digital content is priced similarly to physical content when it shouldn't be, I rationalize that the publishers are charging me for the convenience of using an ereader.

At this point I see a market opportunity for apple and amazon. Accept submissions from authors directly. An additonal advantage would be a 'genius' function that could compare books based on content like gnooks, etc. I guess this reply is now off topic and will merit a thread of it's own.

The thing to remember is that "used digital content" is itself an oxymoron. Whenever you use or transfer digital content you're actually creating a new copy. There is no such thing as a "used copy," so selling "used digital content" for public consumption makes about as much sense as selling "used food," for someone else's consumption (though for different reasons).

DawnFalcon
04-09-2010, 08:56 PM
An interesting legal theory. Shame it shows a basic lack of understanding about first sale / exhaustion doctrine, and would prevent the resale of anything with any "digital content" whatsoever, including devices with the simplest of microprocessors and microcode.

"No sir, you can't resell your microwave, it has digital content"

Lemurion
04-09-2010, 10:00 PM
An interesting legal theory. Shame it shows a basic lack of understanding about first sale / exhaustion doctrine, and would prevent the resale of anything with any "digital content" whatsoever, including devices with the simplest of microprocessors and microcode.

"No sir, you can't resell your microwave, it has digital content"

I'm not sure if this was in response to my immediately previous post, but if so I think I was sufficiently unclear that you misunderstood me.

I wasn't talking about the legalities of the resale of digital content. That comes down to whether one is dealing with an outright purchase or a license - and that's up to the courts to decide. If it does get ruled a sale then of course first sale/exhaustion applies.

The point I was aiming at was that due to the nature of digital content, the concept of "used goods" no longer applies. Resold digital content is just as "new" as the original purchaser's copy. Digital content is digital content: it's neither new nor used, it just is.

You can't sell "used food" because it's no longer food - and you can't sell "used digital content" because it's no longer "used."

The problem is that people are trying to deal with digital content according to existing paradigms that simply don't apply. I don't think any of this will be resolved until we have a new paradigm which does take into account the fundamentally different nature of digital content in comparison to physical media.

Iphinome
04-09-2010, 10:08 PM
The point I was aiming at was that due to the nature of digital content, the concept of "used goods" no longer applies. Resold digital content is just as "new" as the original purchaser's copy. Digital content is digital content: it's neither new nor used, it just is.

You can't sell "used food" because it's no longer food - and you can't sell "used digital content" because it's no longer "used."

The problem is that people are trying to deal with digital content according to existing paradigms that simply don't apply. I don't think any of this will be resolved until we have a new paradigm which does take into account the fundamentally different nature of digital content in comparison to physical media.

How about second hand digital content? Vintage digital content? Pre-owned digital content? Heirloom digital content?

DawnFalcon
04-09-2010, 10:31 PM
The point I was aiming at was that due to the nature of digital content, the concept of "used goods" no longer applies.

And as I stated, you are trying to negate the entire concept of first sale/exhaustion doctrine by sleigh of hand. It's not about the condition of the goods (which is legally completely and utterly irrelevant), it's about the rights of the IP owner to control your content, you're signing on the dotted line for a massive grab, and I explained precisely what this would actually mean, because "digital content" means everything with code in it.

Your food comparison is shit. Literally (hey, you picked it, not me!). You are directly comparing something has been literally consumed with something which remains in it's original form, just like...say... a book!

The problem is that people are trying to deal with digital content according to existing paradigms that simply don't apply.

Mm-hum. For reference, MPAA or RIAA?

fundamentally different nature of digital content in comparison to physical media.

It's. The. Same. Content. The medium is not the message, and never was. Stripping people's rights simply because of the medium can only destroy the market for more convenient mediums.

Of course, I'm sure that suits you fine...

Hamlet53
04-10-2010, 09:46 AM
Here's an analogy people can take issue with if they wish . . .

In the days before digital versions of books. A publisher secures the rights to publish an authors work, goes through the typesetting process, and prints a run of the book. A person purchases one of these books and using it as the source of the content purchases a printing press and prints out copies of the same book which this person then sells or gives away for free.

Fast forward to digital content. A person buys an e-book and then sells copies of the digital file or gives copies away for free.

There is, in my opinion, no legal or moral difference between the two. Both cases violate the copyright protection of the author and publisher. It is not the legal or moral impediment that has disappeared with digital content, it is just the practical constraints. The bottom line is that law and custom does need to catch up with technology.

Oh, and I think also that use of the term “used” does create unnecessary confusion. I would suggest taking a page for car dealers and refer to it as pre-owned.

DawnFalcon
04-10-2010, 11:12 AM
Hamlet53 - If you treat the customer as the enemy, don't be surprised when he's hostile in return.

Or, you can stop doing so - like Baen - and make serious money off this internet thing. If you persist in pushing blatantly end user-unfriendly changes to the law which serve only to protect the interests of big business, you are ultimately only empowering the private copy exemption lobby.

Wait and see how they do in the UK elections, now the other parties effectively shoved a rocket under their campaign with the digital economy bill.

Elfwreck
04-10-2010, 11:23 PM
The thing to remember is that "used digital content" is itself an oxymoron. Whenever you use or transfer digital content you're actually creating a new copy.

Not necessarily. People have sold Sonys & Kindles with books already on them--"used" digital content without creating an extra copy. And Amazon has told people they're required to empty the contents of a Kindle before they resell it. They claim customers are allowed to sell the device but not allow the new owner to read the previous contents.

There are potentially other possibilities, where the digital "original" resides on a piece of hardware that's sold/given away. Laptop loaded with software & documents; ebook reader full of books; flash drive with all the first downloads.

Most commonly, when people want to sell digital files, they want to make a new copy, but sometimes that's not the case--and currently, ebookstores are prone to saying you don't have the right to sell your laptop with book already on it to a new person.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-12-2010, 03:12 PM
This is one of those conundrums that need to be solved for the digital age: What is transferable? Is it okay to sell a computer with a separate piece of software already on it? Is software okay, but an e-book forbidden? Should the buyer be forced to pay a full or discounted amount for the software and/or e-book?

Some software, such as Photoshop, is registered to the computer and its owner, and if one of those changes, the software disables itself. Understandable, since Adobe doesn't want to lose the payment due each version of Photoshop, which isn't cheap.

Other software is similarly registered, but won't just disable itself if you change something... usually these are fairly inexpensive pieces of software, so it's more of an issue of not being worth the trouble to prevent ownership transferal.

Again, the issue boils down to one of potential duplicates going unpaid-for... and the fact that everyone wants to get stuff cheap or free, if they can get away with it. If easy duplication of software, or an e-book, were preventable, therefore, transferal of ownership wouldn't be such a sticky situation.

DawnFalcon
04-12-2010, 04:58 PM
There is no "conundrum". The law is quite clear. DRM is currently being used to abuse users, and it's creating a massive backlash. The sooner companies realise that the concept of DRM is defective, the sooner they will stop bleeding people who would otherwise have been legitimate customers.

The only sticky situation is that of the companies pushing the youth of today into the arms of the pirateparties and the like who demand a private copy exception.