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Old 08-20-2007, 11:09 PM   #1
Nate the great
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Re: Renting Ebooks

Do you know how Rlauzon says that you don't own a DRMed ebook, you just rent it? Well, that may be the literal truth the DRMed PDFs.

I copied the important posts here because registration is required.
http://bar.baen.com/WB/default.asp?a...=113201&fid=76


First Message:

Simon Horvat
Do a Google on
Adobe "This document cannot be opened on this machine"

It makes for interesting reading

Every once in a while I buy a text, or Fiction, in encrypted PDF, PRC or LIT, 'cause that was the only way an e-Book version was available. ie Hallowed Hunt by McMaster Bujold, Donald Moffitt, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Windows Texts, etc

I won't be making that mistake in future

I have 33 books that I used to be able to open in Acrobat Reader 6 & 7. On my new machine Acrobat 8 won't allow me to open them. I gather because they were downloaded on different machines and there is no way to register the new machine at Adobe with the old UserID/Password. You could register up to 6 Acro 6 or 7 machines but that feature isn't available in Acro 8.

Adobe's solution, re-download them from the vendor. Ha !
-Adobe shut their own shop, so I can't download from them

- Amazon only guarantees the e-Books for a limited period (I think it was a month) but in practice it seems good for one year. I contacted Amazon & they were sorry but they couldn't help me if the download period had expired, I would need to repurchase the encrypted PDFs, except for those that Amazon don't sell anymore/don't sell to Australia anymore

- Fictionwise seem to have similar time issues, encrypted PDFs I bought there two years ago can't be re-downloaded

Luckily I have hundreds of non-encrypted e-Books, it was a rare book that was only available in encrypted format

I won't be buying any more encrypted PDF's, or other formats which can't be decrypted.

There is a product, ConvertLit, to convert encrypted MS Reader files

Simon


Next Message:

Sometime 'round Feb to April this year I had lost a few encrypted PDF e-books from Amazon.

When I went to re-download them
1) I redownloaded them but was unable to activate them on my machine
2) I could not find any encrypted e-books in my Amazon Digital library that I had bought more than 1 year ago

I redownloaded & attempted to activate a Secure PDF from Fictionwise but could not activate it ("The Hallowed Hunt...Last download: 2007-04-10 10:20:20.397")

After a week or so of continued failure, I contacted Amazon about the PDFs I bought from them. Their support staff informed me that e-books were only guaranteed for a month & I would need to purchase any that had dropped off my Library. They were sorry but they unable to help me. I have not found that written anywhere on their site.

In practice encrypted e-Books drop out of my Digital Library after about 1 year. One book was no longer able to be bought because of my geographical location (which is Australia). Later that book was again available.

I also have non encrypted e-books at Amazon. They do not have this 1 year limit.

I did not contact Fictionwise about this because I still had working copies of my e-Books from them.

After reading the above responses I find
1) still no encrypted books older than 1 year in my Amazon Digital Library
2) I AM now able to activate Secure PDFs from Fictionwise from approx 2 years ago (The Hallowed Hunt) in Acro 6

Now that I can activate secure PDFs I will reinstall Acro 8 ADE & re-download a secure PDF from Fictionwise that was failing last night in Acro 8 to see what happens.

I am sticking to .LIT as much as possible as ConvertLit is out there for decrypting them.

thank you to all who advised me on this issue
Simon


Final Message:

Continuing the saga.

This afternoon at Fictionwise I could download & open the secure PDF "Hallowed Hunt" on my old machine with Acro 6 (I bought this book over 1 to 2 years ago). Tonight the required page can't be found when I click "Download Ebook". I've tried on my new machine with Acro 8 & have the same problem. Opening the book from within Acro 8 switches to IE & then nothing happens, I still can't open it.

I have 2 recent secure PDF purchases from Fictionwise, both of which currently DO download from IE into Acro 6 successfully on my old machine. On the new machine they also download from IE to ADE v1.0.467 (Acrobat 8's Digital Edition software) & successfully open.

None of my encrypted PDFs from Amazon are available in my Amazon Digital Library anymore as I bought them more than a year ago. None of them open in ADE. They still open in Acro 6 & 7 on machines which I have registered on the Acro 6 & 7 DRM activation website.

So, there you have it. If you can't re-download/re-activate the encrypted PDFs you can't open them in ADE. I have no interest in re-purchasing my Amazon ebooks, especially as those copies will also expire, so I'll be keeping copies of Acro 6 & 7 alive for now. If I buy encrypted ebooks they'll be MS LIT which I know can be decrypted

Simon

Last edited by Nate the great; 08-20-2007 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Do you know how Rlauzon says that you don't own a DRMed ebook, you just rent it? Well, that may be the literal truth the DRMed PDFs.
The technical term is licensing. That is true for all e-content, drm-ed or not by law. The difference is that for non-drm books if you are careful to back up in an open format and migrate, you license them in perpetuity. You still cannot resell them but that's ok with me.

For drm'ed books you just license them for a while. I also have 2 or 3 drm'ed pdf's from the time I did not know what an ebook or drm are, and while I could redownload them when I changed pc's, it's possible I cannot open them anymore with Adobe 8 and I think redownload is not an option anymore.

Similarly I have an embiid book that I migrated when I changed pc's but next time I change pc is very likely I won't be able to.

However I extracted the content at some expense of time and effort (not breaking the drm incidentally, just snag and ocr) and I could not care less...

For the 3 Sony books I got with my credit, I expect that they will be available for a while but when I have the time I will extract their content too, so I will not be at the mercy of Sony...Connect may close tomorrow after all if Sony decides it's more trouble than worth.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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I did not post this to get start a discussion. The person I am quoting was under the impression that he had purchased an ebook, not a license. I was under that impression as well because I not aware of the time limitation on PDFs. This thread was a PSA for other forum members who might not know.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Do you know how Rlauzon says that you don't own a DRMed ebook, you just rent it?
He might have mentioned it, yeah.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:36 PM   #5
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I changed my mind. I do want a discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
The technical term is licensing. That is true for all e-content, drm-ed or not by law. The difference is that for non-drm books if you are careful to back up in an open format and migrate, you license them in perpetuity. You still cannot resell them but that's ok with me.

For drm'ed books you just license them for a while. I also have 2 or 3 drm'ed pdf's from the time I did not know what an ebook or drm are, and while I could redownload them when I changed pc's, it's possible I cannot open them anymore with Adobe 8 and I think redownload is not an option anymore.

Similarly I have an embiid book that I migrated when I changed pc's but next time I change pc is very likely I won't be able to.

However I extracted the content at some expense of time and effort (not breaking the drm incidentally, just snag and ocr) and I could not care less...

For the 3 Sony books I got with my credit, I expect that they will be available for a while but when I have the time I will extract their content too, so I will not be at the mercy of Sony...Connect may close tomorrow after all if Sony decides it's more trouble than worth.
You are slightly wrong on the issue of license.

In this discussion, let's set aside copyright, and focus only on the topic of licensing. A software license is an agreement between the seller and the buyer. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with EULAs, correct? Well, what you may not know is that EULAs are not enforcible in most states in the USA because they fall into the category of "contract of adhesion". This is a type of contract without any negotiation that one party is forced to accept; that's why they are not enforcible.

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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
The technical term is licensing. That is true for all e-content, drm-ed or not by law.
I believe this is incorrect. I have checked VA state code, and I cannot find a part that says when I buy e-content, I am buying a license to use the e-content, not the e-content itself. If I am wrong, please cite the applicable law.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:05 AM   #6
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It's certainly true that, when you buy a paper book, you are simply buying the "medium" - the paper, ink, glue, etc. You are not buying any rights to the content. You can re-sell the physical book, but you cannot re-publish the content yourself.
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Old 08-22-2007, 05:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's certainly true that, when you buy a paper book, you are simply buying the "medium" - the paper, ink, glue, etc. You are not buying any rights to the content. You can re-sell the physical book, but you cannot re-publish the content yourself.
Harry, you should become a lawyer, serious!

I am sure from a legal standpoint, you are absolutely correct. But let's forget the legal aspects for a moment and let's consider the consumer and his needs and wants. When I purchase a p-book, I purchase the right to read what's inside the book - at any time I wish - and I purchase the right to sell the book again.

Following what's been said about e-books here, you must agree that what you get as the prospective consumer of e-books is considerably less. Amazon has chosen (obviously at random) to have your e-books expire one year after purchase in your Amazon Digital Library. Again, while this may be legally OK under the given licensing terms, it certainly can not be in the interest of the consumer. If vendors want e-books to succeed, they must create incentives. P-books have been around for centuries, and people feel comfortable with purchasing them (because they know exactly what they get - there ain't no legal smallprint). E-books are so new that most people are overwhelmed with the different formats and with the different hardware technologies. As if this was not enough, e-book vendors now come up with their own licensing terms putting them all under the umbrella of DRM - which, if taken all together, hardly sounds like a great selling point over traditional p-books.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:38 AM   #8
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I completely agree with you, Tad.

I've never bought an eBook from Amazon - is there no way to register the book to a different device after a year's gone by since you've bought it? If that's the case, that's a very serious matter - I often don't get around to reading books for several years after I've bought them, and I'd be very unhappy if I found that I couldn't do so simply because I'd got a new computer in the time since I bought it.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:49 AM   #9
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So far as I can tell from their website, both Baen and Fictionwise believe they are selling you ownership of an ebook, not a license to read the ebook.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's certainly true that, when you buy a paper book, you are simply buying the "medium" - the paper, ink, glue, etc. You are not buying any rights to the content. You can re-sell the physical book, but you cannot re-publish the content yourself.
HarryT, what you say here is about copyright. Please don't bring it up again because your post distracts from the issue of ownership vs. license.
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:00 AM   #10
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Please don't tell me "what not to bring up", Nate. This is an open board and I'll bring up anything which I think contributes to the discussion.

Copyright law is highly relevent to a discussion of what one can or cannot do with an eBook, and applies equally to electronic media as to "physical" ones. One is certainly not buying the "content" of an eBook in the sense of buying any "rights" to it. Given the definition of the word "licence" as "formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something", then it is copyright law which forms the basis of the rights that the author or publisher is licensing you when you purchase an eBook. You cannot talk about "licensing" without talking about copyright law.

DRM determines whether or not one can re-sell an eBook, and that is determined by whether or not the publisher makes provision for the DRM to be transferred to a new owner. I don't believe that there is any legal requirement for them to do so, and it could well be argued that it's not in either a publisher or an author's interest to do so.

However, given that DRM-ed eBooks have no resale value as a result, from the viewpoint of the customer one could argue to a publisher than this lowers their value, so the price should be correspondingly lower as a result.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:30 AM   #11
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I will find you the references but a lot depends on your definitions which the net blurred. Before it was simple, you own something you can do some things with it of which the most important were:

1: you can use the thing you own pretty much however you want given applicable limits (to drive a car you gotta use the roads, have insurance, with designer shirts you can wear them but not replicate them, with books you can read but not ...)
2: you can sell the thing you own if you so choose

With e-content though, #2 goes away unless there is a (very rare situation) provision for license transfer, and note that if your e-content is not drm-ed there cannot be such, so non-drm content is definitely no resalable (ask the Baen people how would they feel if you would like to resell the e-books bought through them); that is one advantage of drm content, but of course the content industry hating secondary markets in their products are not going to use it
With drm-ed content #1 is watered down considerably since outside the customary restrictions there is a new one, "where can I use it", and that opens the can of worms of more restrictions
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:39 AM   #12
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Are you saying that you believe that non-DRM-protected eBooks cannot legally be re-sold, Liviu? I would have thought that it would be a similar position to, say, re-selling computer software, which is generally permitted provided that you provide all media and electronic copies to the buyer, and delete them from your own systems.

I suppose the problem with eBooks is that, unlike computer software, you don't generally get an End User Licence Agreement (EULA) which lays out what you can and can't do - it's all rather vague.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liviu_5
With e-content though, #2 goes away unless there is a (very rare situation) provision for license transfer, and note that if your e-content is not drm-ed there cannot be such, so non-drm content is definitely no resalable (ask the Baen people how would they feel if you would like to resell the e-books bought through them); that is one advantage of drm content, but of course the content industry hating secondary markets in their products are not going to use it
With drm-ed content #1 is watered down considerably since outside the customary restrictions there is a new one, "where can I use it", and that opens the can of worms of more restrictions
Actually, in practice the Baen people are OK with you reselling the e-books you bought through them... as long as you don't keep a copy yourself. They're quite OK with the 'first-sale' doctrine. And in a few special circumstances, they've even given permission to have one purchased copy turn into two. A couple of divorces, and some kids-leaving-the-house come to mind, for example. Those are things where you certainly don't have the right through first-sale or any other legal theory; they were asked how to do it and granted permission to make the copies when they could equally well have said no. Nice folks at Baen.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:17 PM   #14
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Actually, in practice the Baen people are OK with you reselling the e-books you bought through them... as long as you don't keep a copy yourself. They're quite OK with the 'first-sale' doctrine. And in a few special circumstances, they've even given permission to have one purchased copy turn into two. A couple of divorces, and some kids-leaving-the-house come to mind, for example. Those are things where you certainly don't have the right through first-sale or any other legal theory; they were asked how to do it and granted permission to make the copies when they could equally well have said no. Nice folks at Baen.
Based on what Eric Flint said in the latest Baen's Universe, they mostly look at these types of transfers as "opportunities to get our work in front of someone else's eyes". Baen may not make any money off that one, but gets someone else to try the author out.

"Try before you buy" is a tried-and-true sales technique - especially when it comes to items that are very much based on personal tastes.

At Penguicon a few years ago, John Ringo was there talking about Baen. What they were doing at the time was releasing volume 1 of a series for free as an eBook. That generated interest in the rest of the volumes - which they sold. Authors who thought that their books were done were (happily) surprised to get sizable royalty checks.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:19 PM   #15
NatCh
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Posts: 11,605
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Republic of Texas Embassy at Jackson, TN
Device: Nook STGR
Baen really does have a great perspective on these matters. I'm particularly glad that their offerings and my tastes overlap so much.
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