According to Martin Bekkelund, a Norwegian Amazon customer identified only as Linn had her Kindle access revoked without warning or explanation. Her account was closed, and her Kindle was remotely wiped. Bekkelund has posted a string of emails that he says were sent to Linn by the company. They are a sort of Kafkaesque dumbshow of bureaucratic non-answering, culminating in the customer service version of
Die in a fire, to whit,
We wish you luck in locating a retailer better able to meet your needs and will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters, a comment signed by
Michael Murphy, Executive Customer Relations, Amazon.co.uk.
I’ve suspected they could do this from the start and I’m sure I’m not alone. It turns out to possibly be a case of horrific customer disservice instead (Rights? You have no right to your eBooks), which is still a good example of a specific problem when talking about DRM with the less geeky.
… publishers are not really all that interested in authors or readers; they are interested in consolidating control of distribution channels so that the only participants in culture are creators who work for little or nothing and consumers who can only play if they can pay. These corporate publishers’ actions are intended not just to protect their traditional business model but to construct a new model that puts an end to sharing, because sharing means goods can slip out of their control. Culture and knowledge, in this new publishing regime, are not common goods, they are intellectual property best controlled by corporations.
Via K.G. Schneider
It’s not just print publishers. This is the thinking behind the recent moves of the movie and music industries as well.
Grant libraries non-commercial access to copyrighted material on a defined time horizon. Content producers could add a Library License to the terms of their publishing contracts.
via Library License.
The big publishers would be unlikely to pick it up but it would give smaller, independent content owners an option for allowing libraries to use their work. It’s still in the discussion stage so comments would be useful.
Publishing Industry Forces OverDrive and Other Library eBook Vendors to Take a Giant Step Back | Librarian by Day.
Bobbi L. Newman has collected the responses to the problem, which, in a nutshell, is that Harper Collins has decided that the ebooks in libraries will stop working after 26 downloads.
German publisher Springer Verlag decided not to infect the 40,000 ebook titles it sells to libraries with DRM — though the booksellers that carry Springer titles still insist on DRM for their proprietary stores. As a result, “once libraries have paid for the content, the e-books are available without charge to everyone at these institutions, so theres no need to repost or redistribute it online. Once the e-book is downloaded from the library, no return is necessary.”
via Publisher sells DRM-free ebooks to libraries – Boing Boing.
We've all seen the studies trumpeting massive losses to the US economy from piracy. One famous figure, used literally for decades by rightsholders and the government, said that 750,000 jobs and up to $250 billion a year could be lost in the US economy thanks to IP infringement. A couple years ago, we thoroughly debunked that figure. For years, Business Software Alliance reports on software piracy assumed that each illicit copy was a lost sale. And the MPAA&;apos;s own commissioned study on movie piracy turned out to overstate collegiate downloading by a factor of three.
Can we trust any of these claims about piracy?
The US doesn't think so. In a new report out yesterday, the government's own internal watchdog took a close look at “efforts to quantify the economic effects of counterfeit and pirated goods.” After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded (PDF) that it is “difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.”
via US government finally admits most piracy estimates are bogus.
In a significant step toward offering public library patrons DRM-free downloadable music, Library Ideas LLC, a new company that has previously hooked up libraries with Redbox video dispensers, has joined with Sony Music Entertainment to launch the Freegal Music Service, offering public library subscribers access to hundreds of thousands of songs in Sony’s catalog.
Sony includes more than 50 labels, in genres ranging from rock and country to rap and classical.
The libraries must pre-pay for a minimum number of downloads from Freegal, and each library user will be limited to, at most, 20 downloads per week. Libraries that see a spike in use can limit the number of systemwide downloads in a week or month to ensure wider access, and library card holders can also reserve downloads.
No download manager is required—a step that has complicated audiobook downloading. The songs are delivered as MP3 files and thus are compatible with iPods and other devices, some of which have not been compatible with library audio.
via PLA 2010 Conference: DRM-Free Downloadable (Sony) Music at the Library – 3/24/2010 – Library Journal.
This document collects reported cases where the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been invoked not against pirates, but against consumers, scientists, and legitimate competitors. It will be updated from time to time as additional cases come to light. Previous versions remain available.
via Unintended Consequences: Twelve Years under the DMCA | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
iPad in libraries – Unshelved Answers.
A great discussion on the future of ebooks in libraries.