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Old 03-28-2014, 08:32 AM   #61
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Well, yes, it goes without saying that someone who's setting out to commit a crime isn't going to make it easy for someone to prosecute them (unless they're very foolish). I'm simply saying that we already have laws which deal with this specific crime; it's not something new. Libel has probably existed for pretty much as long as writing has.
True.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:36 AM   #62
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But libel is not necessarily the issue. If someone makes changes to a public domain book, no one is libeled.

I really don't understand the pushback on this. All I'm saying is that it is easier to alter a digital work than a print work. And if something is easier, it naturally follows that it is more likely to be done.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:21 AM   #63
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I really don't understand the pushback on this. All I'm saying is that it is easier to alter a digital work than a print work. And if something is easier, it naturally follows that it is more likely to be done.
I think you're worrying about a completely non-existent problem. What reason would someone have to do this?
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:03 PM   #64
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I really don't understand the pushback on this. All I'm saying is that it is easier to alter a digital work than a print work. And if something is easier, it naturally follows that it is more likely to be done.
Still doesn't mean it is more than remotely likely.

It is possible I will burn down my neighbor's house tomorrow. It is more likely, if I get a flamethrower for my birthday.


It's still highly unlikely.

Last edited by eschwartz; 03-28-2014 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:11 PM   #65
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I think you're worrying about a completely non-existent problem. What reason would someone have to do this?
Licensing issues (Amazon's 1984 removal)
Author updating the book
Post-publication censorship

I'm sure if you spend 2 minutes thinking about it instead of fussing at someone asking a question we can come up with more.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #66
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Still doesn't mean it is more than remotely likely.

It is possible I will burn down my neighbor's house tomorrow. It is more likely, if I get a flamethrower for my birthday.


It's still highly unlikely.
And yet people buy fire insurance to cover the remote chance that a house burns down, and establish laws to regulate flamethrower purchase and use. Oh, and we also often remove DRM on books we purchase in case the bookstore goes down. Buy car insurance in case we have an accident. Carry cellphones in case we get stuck somewhere.

Why are you quibbling with this instance of preparing for something unlikely but unpleasant?
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:17 PM   #67
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Hey all, I've been working to get rid of all of my physical books to the point where 90% of new books I buy are e-books so that I'm not harming the earth. However, one scary thought crept into my mind: What if the e-books I'm reading have been manipulated and their content is wrong? I find this extremely worrying to the point where I haven't been able to sleep.

An example of what I mean: I think I'm reading an e-book written by Arnold Schwarzenegger on weight training that promises to give the best results, but I'm actually reading an e-book that contains information that could harm me and is just an e-book written by someone wanting to be mischievous. Or an e-book written by Karl Marx about a criticism of socialism, when in fact a person has manipulated the e-book into a positive view on capitalism. I think I've received information from Karl Marx, but it's a completely altered e-book.

I know if I buy an e-book from Amazon it's most likely genuine, but the vast majority of the e-books I'm reading are from people who have just written their own e-books and released it online without a publisher at all. Many are free e-books. A lot of the e-books I'm reading now are educational so I want to know that what I'm reading is genuine.

A physical book is much harder for someone to make alterations it. It doesn't seem hard for someone to make alterations to an e-book and so the e-book is now 'tainted'.

Is there a way I can check that the e-books I'm reading are genuine?

How can I trust that an e-book hasn't been manipulated?

I'd appreciate any help to calm my mind!
That is a bit of an extreme reaction. It's not likely that people care enough to spend time manipulating books like that at this point. That said, this could change.

For ebooks, the best way to make sure they stay the same is to download a copy, crack the DRM, and maintain your library on your computer. There are problems. Calibre is not 100% reliable, and alternatives are worse.

If you mean 'make sure the downloaded text matches the physical text', the only way would be reading it.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:43 PM   #68
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I think you're worrying about a completely non-existent problem. What reason would someone have to do this?
What reason do you have for working on and uploading books to the MR library? I assume it's because you think you're performing a service by making available a better copy than is available elsewhere.

So let's say someone else's idea of "better" includes changing text--to eliminate perceived racism or sexism, to alter words whose meanings have changed (gay, for example), etc.

Or someone can just want to make changes as a prank, or to see how long it might take to be discovered. How many people changed material at Wikipedia in the past, just because they could.

Or someone can simply introduce errors by accident.

Once it's on the Internet, it proliferates.

I'm not losing sleep over it, just like I'm not losing sleep over the possibility a nuke in Manhattan. But that doesn't mean there's not an actual potential problem down the road, one that we should be aware of in the rush to go digital.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:46 PM   #69
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I'm not losing sleep over it
But the original poster claims to be, and I think personally that this is an extreme over-reaction to a problem which has not (certainly in the 30-odd years I've been reading ebooks) proved to be a real-world issue. Yes, it could happen, I agree with you, but let's worry about it when it does. "Sufficient unto the day are the evils thereof".
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:47 PM   #70
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Still doesn't mean it is more than remotely likely.

It is possible I will burn down my neighbor's house tomorrow. It is more likely, if I get a flamethrower for my birthday.


It's still highly unlikely.
Suppose everyone in your neighborhood gets a flamethrower. Think the chance of a fire goes up?
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:56 PM   #71
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I think you're worrying about a completely non-existent problem. What reason would someone have to do this?
For example a publisher might be tempted to make correction in an ebook without changing the edition number.

There is also a lot of people with very strong opinions about how things should be. I mean creationists might want to silently change books for example.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:20 PM   #72
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But they could only change books that they have control over, not books published by Amazon, for example, unless they are publishing via KDP. Then they are welcome to change whatever they want. No one has to read it, though.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:06 PM   #73
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And yet people buy fire insurance to cover the remote chance that a house burns down, and establish laws to regulate flamethrower purchase and use. Oh, and we also often remove DRM on books we purchase in case the bookstore goes down. Buy car insurance in case we have an accident. Carry cellphones in case we get stuck somewhere.

Why are you quibbling with this instance of preparing for something unlikely but unpleasant?
There is a difference between:
  • unlikely in the sense that it is more likely not, but still (at least in the case of car accidents) has a reasonable chance of happening, or in the case of ebookstores, we know will go down -- how many ebookstores have gone out of business in the last year or so, again?
and
  • somebody hacking Amazon so they can change a book by Karl Marx into a pro-capitalism book. To my knowledge, nothing like that has happened yet, and I highly doubt anyone will ever care enough to do this.

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But they could only change books that they have control over, not books published by Amazon, for example, unless they are publishing via KDP. Then they are welcome to change whatever they want. No one has to read it, though.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:31 PM   #74
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But they could only change books that they have control over, not books published by Amazon, for example, unless they are publishing via KDP. Then they are welcome to change whatever they want. No one has to read it, though.
I have been talking mostly about public domain books. Anyone can change them at any time for any reason.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #75
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I have been talking mostly about public domain books. Anyone can change them at any time for any reason.
They can - that's the whole point of the public domain, that it lets people write such things as "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". If you want to guarantee fidelity, buy from a publisher like "Penguin Classics" and you'll be safe enough.
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