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Old 02-21-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
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To the courts, or under the radar?

I've been thinking about common practices and legal rulings and the like recently when it comes to modern digital stuff. Specifically when it comes to ebooks.

So this thought has crossed my mind. Suppose that you want to sell a digital book, or share it with someone, etc etc. Regardless of the technical limitations (DRM) would you prefer to be in a world where there were specific legal rulings about particular actions? Or would you prefer to "fly under the radar" and let the action remain ambiguous?

The advantage of the prior, a court ruling, is that now the action is well protected in one direction or the other. With precedent there's less legal bullying or threats.

The latter, is the opposite benefit. The claim of poor clarification or challenge means that you get ignored by the big guys and get to keep doing what you're doing.

I'm not entirely sure that the publishing industry wants to see some of these questions ("Can you lend an eBook?", "Can you resell an eBook?") to wind up in a court because as much threat as it is to us, it is to them. If it doesn't go in their favor it's an additional threat to their industry, as well as a whole host of other problems with protecting IP in general.

I kind of feel both ways on the issue, and I'm curious what you guys think.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:45 PM   #2
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I'd like to see lending opened up a bit more. One loan per book per forever is too severe. Maybe 3~5 loans per book instead?
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:50 PM   #3
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I'd like to see lending opened up a bit more. One loan per book per forever is too severe. Maybe 3~5 loans per book instead?
Yes, but the question isn't really "What would you like to see legitimized" but rather "Do you want to risk it going to court in the first place?"
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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I'd like to see lending opened up a bit more. One loan per book per forever is too severe. Maybe 3~5 loans per book instead?
Personally, I see that in the same category as "flogging every day is too severe. Maybe 3~5 floggings a month?"

Either first sale rights apply, and an ebook can be treated like a pbook, or it's a rental, not a sale, and they should quit pretending otherwise. Better rental terms, though, do not a sale make.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:53 PM   #5
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Yes, but the question isn't really "What would you like to see legitimized" but rather "Do you want to risk it going to court in the first place?"
Lending isn't a legitimate matter for the courts to begin with. Publishers have the right to place whatever restrictions they want on lending.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:54 PM   #6
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I don't want the ambiguity because that hampers effective group efforts that then draw attention to themselves (e.g. Napster). I want the mainstream benefits that come with clarification (e.g. Rhapsody or Pandora).
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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I'm not sure how it could end up in court. E-books have followed the same path that computer software has for probably 30 years (ie, selling a license for the content, not the actual content).
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Lending isn't a legitimate matter for the courts to begin with. Publishers have the right to place whatever restrictions they want on lending.
Excuse me but as mentioned - is it a sale or not? If it is a sale then no one can tell me I cannot lend what I own.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:48 PM   #9
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Yes, but the question isn't really "What would you like to see legitimized" but rather "Do you want to risk it going to court in the first place?"
I've mentioned that issue in other threads. Although, not specifically at issue, many times governments will not appeal a decision of a lower court on some matter of law. Without appellate precedent, the law remains in effect challenging others to ignore with risk of trial. An appellate decision might totally invalidate it. Leaving it vague benefits one side or maybe the other.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #10
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Excuse me but as mentioned - is it a sale or not? If it is a sale then no one can tell me I cannot lend what I own.
If that's your definition of a sale, then it's not a sale.

All rights reserved. This book may not be copied or reproduced, in whole or in part, by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without written permission from the publisher except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.

Seems quite clear to me.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:02 PM   #11
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If that's your definition of a sale, then it's not a sale.

All rights reserved. This book may not be copied or reproduced, in whole or in part, by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without written permission from the publisher except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.

Seems quite clear to me.
How is it not a sale? You're quoting the standard copyright notice that's in every physical book as well. Certainly when I buy a physical book, I own it and I have the right lend it out, as many times as I want.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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How is it not a sale? You're quoting the standard copyright notice that's in every physical book as well. Certainly when I buy a physical book, I own it and I have the right lend it out, as many times as I want.
Of course you can lend a physical book; no arguments there. But, pray tell, how do you lend an ebook without copying or reproducing it? Therein lies the "gotcha".

If you want ebook lending, convince the publishers; and leave the courts out of it.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:34 PM   #13
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Of course you can lend a physical book; no arguments there. But, pray tell, how do you lend an ebook without copying or reproducing it? Therein lies the "gotcha".

If you want ebook lending, convince the publishers; and leave the courts out of it.
I can't see an instance where publishers would willingly adopt that as a policy. The psuedo-lending that exists technologically is a marketing-ploy because of the lack of lending that exists. They don't want to lose customers to that argument, so they've thrown together this fake version of lending.

I can only see them adopting it by force of the courts, and really what that means is that they wouldn't be able to pursue criminal or civil redress for the activity. (They'd still stick DRM on it and nail you with the DMCA)
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:46 PM   #14
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I can only see them adopting it by force of the courts,..
Which would be highly immoral and a gross misuse of power.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #15
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