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Old 11-07-2010, 09:34 AM   #1
PeterT
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Article in the Economist on eBook Lending

Interesting article in the Economist that discusses eBooks, their pricing and the differences between eBooks and pBooks (my term for a Physical Book).

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babba.../10/steal_book

Quote:
AMAZON.COM says soon you will be allowed to lend out electronic books purchased from the Kindle Store. For a whole 14 days. Just once, ever, per title. If the publisher allows it. Not mentioned is the necessity to hop on one foot whilst reciting the Gettysburg Address in a falsetto. An oversight, I'm sure. Barnes & Noble's Nook has offered the same capability with identical limits since last year. Both lending schemes are bullet points in a marketing presentation, so Amazon is adding its feature to keep parity.

Allowing such ersatz lending is a pretence by booksellers. They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited licence to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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This is the same misguided argument, repeated ad nauseum, by folks with axes to grind.

You purchase an ebook tied to a specific device -- those are the terms; if you don't like the terms, don't buy the ebook. In fact, you have the right in most cases to attach the ebook to up to five devices. You can loan those devices as many times as you like and to as many people as you like. That's exactly the same -- arguably better -- than a pbook lending experience because you actually can buy once and get five copies.

And, if you lose your copy? Download it again. Try that with a pbook!
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
You purchase an ebook tied to a specific device -- those are the terms; if you don't like the terms, don't buy the ebook
If you buy something, it's yours to decide of you lend it to someone or not. If you purchase a licence it's somewhat more complicated, but as Amazon, B&N etc. clearly have a "BUY" button there's no further terms to be attached.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
If you buy something, it's yours to decide of you lend it to someone or not. If you purchase a licence it's somewhat more complicated, but as Amazon, B&N etc. clearly have a "BUY" button there's no further terms to be attached.
Nonsense. Amazon's terms of service are clearly defined in your account agreement. No one is pulling the wool over anyone's eyes.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
Nonsense. Amazon's terms of service are clearly defined in your account agreement. No one is pulling the wool over anyone's eyes.
Agreed (about Amazon). B&N however, have nothing to say in their terms about anything one might do after buying their ebooks. Feel free to correct me in this respect. I write this with the understanding that we are talking solely about the terms as defined by the seller when I purchase the book (of course, this includes any terms listed anywhere else on their website - I'm being overly generous of course, since B&N actually doesn't show you any terms at the point of sale).
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
If you buy something, it's yours to decide of you lend it to someone or not. If you purchase a licence it's somewhat more complicated, but as Amazon, B&N etc. clearly have a "BUY" button there's no further terms to be attached.
I think this has been gone over at length in other threads, that when you "buy" a physical book you're buying the tangible thing, plus the right to use the content in a way that is constrained by contract, and statutory and common law.

I can "buy" a physical copy of the script of a play, but that doesn't give me the right to use it to stage a production. I can "buy" a physical book, but that doesn't give me the right to sell photocopies of it.

With an ebook, you're just "buying" the rights, with all the attendant constraints on your actions. (And this is one reason I didn't buy a Kindle!)
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corona View Post
With an ebook, you're just "buying" the rights, with all the attendant constraints on your actions. (And this is one reason I didn't buy a Kindle!)
But that's soooooooooooooo the problem!

We want to just BUY a book to OWN a book.

However, with area restrictions, agency deals, etc... we can't just buy a book. Suddenly every transaction is read the fine print... because even of we did read it last month, it may have been changed this month.

Sometimes you can't tell if you're renting or buying.

Add to the fact that a book may not exist in the format of your reader, or may be twice the cost... if you're more than a casual reader and want to "protect" your library, you have to become conversant in format switching and DRM stripping. The chaos and the games from the publishing houses are just driving everyone to learn the skills for their own sanity's sake.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
Nonsense. Amazon's terms of service are clearly defined in your account agreement. No one is pulling the wool over anyone's eyes.
I just double checked -- Amazon has a 'BUY' button; not a 'Purchase licence' button. The fundamental difference is that if I buy something, licencing agreements do not get involved -- and hence their terms of service are void.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
I just double checked -- Amazon has a 'BUY' button; not a 'Purchase licence' button. The fundamental difference is that if I buy something, licencing agreements do not get involved -- and hence their terms of service are void.
I love the way you think.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
I just double checked -- Amazon has a 'BUY' button; not a 'Purchase licence' button. The fundamental difference is that if I buy something, licencing agreements do not get involved -- and hence their terms of service are void.
Ok well ... good luck with that!
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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Ok well ... good luck with that!
Since they haven't sued me yet, I must be fine. Or under their radar
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:48 PM   #12
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Since they haven't sued me yet, I must be fine. Or under their radar
De-DRMed, and not phoning home since I don't have a Kindle... they gota find me first to try and take it away.

Last edited by dacattt; 11-09-2010 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:30 PM   #13
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Don't forget that Amazon can decide to de-sell you a book and it vanishes from your Kindle-for-whatever, and they say their "license" makes that "necessary".

Rather a long time ago, as such things are figured now, the first US pbook publication of the Lord of the Rings was, in fact, quite blatantly pirated. JRRT's lawyers went after the publisher, needless to say, and got the publication stopped. I believe they also hit up the publisher for royalties, though I don't know if those were ever paid. But at no point did anyone propose, nor would they have been taken seriously if they did, that they send out goons to buyers' houses to grab the books back from their bookshelves. The publisher screwed up, the publisher paid the bill, and honest buyers weren't involved. Now, the publisher screws up, the publisher may or may not pay, but the honest buyers get it in the neck. Why? Because they didn't buy a book, even though they clicked the "buy" button. They paid for a very limited, very restricted license to read that book, one that Amazon demonstrated that they could terminate -- and snatch the book right off the readers' Kindles -- any time they felt like it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:06 AM   #14
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Rather a long time ago, as such things are figured now, the first US pbook publication of the Lord of the Rings was, in fact, quite blatantly pirated. JRRT's lawyers went after the publisher, needless to say, and got the publication stopped. I believe they also hit up the publisher for royalties, though I don't know if those were ever paid. But at no point did anyone propose, nor would they have been taken seriously if they did, that they send out goons to buyers' houses to grab the books back from their bookshelves.
However, more recently in Canada:

Quote:
On July 9, 2005, the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted Raincoast Books and Bloomsbury, the Canadian publishers of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and J. K. Rowling, the book's author, a court order restraining anyone who had obtained an early copy of the book and everyone who received notice of the order from disclosing any information from the book to anyone else before the international release date of 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16, 2005. The injunction order prohibited, among other things, reading or making any use of the book before that time and required the temporary return of the books to Raincoast until the release date.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:18 AM   #15
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Canada also punishes people for copyright infringement that hasn't even happened. Interesting place, that. However, I believe the returns in question were required of retailers who had gotten early shipments, not individuals, and telling people not to read their books was toothless; they didn't send goons to anyone's houses to take their books away.

There was a time in the US when such a request would have been laughed out of court, not granted. It's possible that time has changed. People are allowing governments to become enforcement bodies for private corporations, which is not a good thing. I remember one case, back during the Beanie Baby craze, where Ty prevailed upon the government to enforce their prohibition against bringing Beanie Babies that Ty sold in other countries to the US, so Ty could keep up their artificial scarcity, and hence their exaggerated prices. A little girl had taken her Beanie Babies (she had a dozen or so) with her on a family trip overseas. On her return, the toys were seized by government authorities acting on behalf of Ty and destroyed. They were in no way illegal, and in no way contraband, but Ty had made a rule -- "thou shalt not bring Beanie Babies across a US border" -- and induced the US government to enforce that rule for them.

Whether the US government would do the same as the Canadian one, I don't know. Precedent up until now -- for pbooks -- is that it wouldn't. True, SCOTUS has been throwing out established precedent that benefits citizens in favor of rulings that benefit corporations lately. But as it stands, they still don't send goons to your house to take away your books if they decide not to sell them anymore.
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