Originally Posted by RSaunders
I think the real problem is that the proprietary folks are not supporting conversion into open formats. Everybody uses the "iPod + iTunes" analog, but that's not what we have. If you buy a sony on iTunes, burn it on a CD, and rip the CD to MP3 - you have the song you bought in an interchangeable format. Kindle files can't (yet) be converted into text or mobi files. Adobe Digital Editions can be converted into text or anything else. Sony Reader DRM files can't be converted into text, etc.
For someone to pursue the "iPod + iTunes" approach we need to me able to convert to a format we can play in all our other MP3 players from other companies.
So far, Kindle isn't "iPod + iTunes" of books.
Format conversion is a rather "grey area" of copyright law. It's not at all clear in many countries that it falls into the category of "fair use". In the UK, for example, it is specifically NOT legal to "rip" CDs that you've bought (I'm not saying that people don't do it, just that it's not legal). I believe that it may perhaps be legal in the US.
Publishers do have to be careful about supplying format conversion tools, however, as they may fall foul of the law in certain countries.