1. Search Amazon for "1984 George Orwell"
2. Select the first option (paperback)
3. See the "Format" selector
4. Select the kindle edition
5. Click "Buy with one-click"
Notably, between 4 and 5, reading the entire page gives no indication that the kindle format is fundamentally different from the paperback in regards to who actually owns the copy after purchase.
There may be a notice buried in a EULA that you agree to when setting the device up, but it may be hard to argue that it means they can tell you at the time of purchase they're selling you a book while actually selling you a licence.
The amazon/Orwell fiasco was the moment I decided to never buy a kindle and steer clear of anything with drm.
2. Maybe this will give the EFF enough case study to argue (successfully, finally) that the DMCA allows corporations to create rules that violate other existing laws such as the right of first sale.
that... I mean, if they automatically refund everyone? that sounds... really pretty good? I mean, I've got a few grand into my kindle books. I bet I have more than a grand in obsolete technical books alone. If the kindle was no longer the dominant platform (or rather, if there was another platform with more books) if you wanted to pay me several thousand dollars to re-buy my library on a different platform? Sure, I'd take that deal.
(I mean, if it's not an automatic refund, if it's instead the more usual "we'll refund if you remember to call us between this time and that time, and if you are willing to argue for hours, that is a very different sort of thing, of course. I just think you can make the argument that we should be very forgiving of businesses if they want to unwind in a way that causes them to refund every penny of revenue they ever acquired.)
And what do you do when the media you want isn't available on another platform?
In the recent article about the burning of the Universal music archive we learned that less than 11% of recorded music is available online. Anyone who subscribes to a streaming service knows content comes and goes.
The only way to keep the things you buy is to actually own them. Not continually rent them from one online service after another.
Eh, as someone who has owned (and lost or destroyed) a bunch of physical things, my experience is that I have to continually rebuy physical things I use; I mean, records, CDs, books... these all get lost and destroyed in various ways if you carry them around with you and otherwise use them. I don't think that the way I own and store things is more reliable than a major content licensing platform. If I use a thing consistently and long term, then licensing it is certainly more reliable than buying a physical copy, and may very well be cheaper for me than buying physical copies new.
I'd argue that what protects availability of things that go out of print is more that other people own the thing and can sell me a copy when mine is lost or destroyed. You could argue this is a bit of a tragedy of the commons, or it could be, if E-books started pushing physical books out of print (as opposed to books that are e-only mostly being books that wouldn't have been printed at all before the advent of e-book technology)
Of course, for things that are rare (and things that are popular are a lot less likely to go out of print) this gets expensive pretty fast, but first sale doctrine does assure me that I can usually get a copy, if I'm willing to pay enough, while the possibility does exist, with electronic copies, that I won't be able to get a copy at all... that's true.
We should allow licensing, but only if the companies allow the benefit of that - perpetual replication allowing goods to never fail - to accrue with the licensees.
(an interesting side effect, as a person willing to spend money on books? It's a lot easier to get a good e-book of something still under copyright than of something out of copyright. Like, I'm super happy to pay $20 or whatever for something better-than-gutenberg and that's really a lot of effort. I don't really know how they do it, 'cause half the for pay out of copyright books for kindle on amazon are worse than just downloading the .mobi from gutenberg. For anything public domain, you have to wade through a sea of badly formatted garbage, even if you are largely price insensitive; price isn't a reasonable signal either way. On the other hand, if it is in public domain, you almost certainly will be able to find an e-book of it, and the quality you get just hitting gutenberg really isn't that bad, while if it is in copyright, if it is an obscure book, your only real option is paper.)
I wonder how much of my problem with finding well formated kindle books is my own lack of familiarity with the search tools and publishing houses? or with amazon's lack of features (like, some sort of rating for the publisher would be useful here. Right now, amazon makes it really hard with their combining of reviews for different formats/editions/publishers. Like sometimes the kindle version and paper version (for out of copyright books) will be different publishers, and amazon just glomps the reviews together, making it really quite difficult.
I don't think your analysis stands, there was a deposit system in USA too so that all copyright books were deposited at the Library of Congress. In order to get your copyright you had to place on deposit two copies that people could, with access to the library, view and which would be preserved even if your work only had a short run and other copies were lost.
Everything else I thinkg I can agree with. Particularly the problems with Amazon's review and ratings system -- I guess it must work to bring more money to Amazon, but it's really annoying.
>Everything else I thinkg I can agree with. Particularly the problems with Amazon's review and ratings system -- I guess it must work to bring more money to Amazon, but it's really annoying.
I personally think it's amazon's biggest problem; some of their products are distinctly premium; The kindle experience is way more expensive than just buying used books... and for in copyright books, it's a premium I'm happy to pay. I spend a lot more on books now that I have a kindle (I read a little more... but I also pay more per book)
The same goes for goods. Like, I'm happy to pay extra for something that arrives fast and that is what it says on the tin. I mostly (but not always) get that from major brand goods that sell a lot, but for unbranded stuff? I might as well go to aliexpress or something; the reviews don't match the product quite often.
I personally think that this is amazon's biggest problem; at least it's amazon's biggest problem when it comes to getting more of the money I spend. I don't know how representative I am.
I'm sure there's a "licensed, not sold" line buried somewhere in the EULA, but why would that take precedence over the prominently-displayed "buy"? Is the "buy" a lie? If so, how is a consumer supposed to know which statements are lies and which are not? For all they know, the EULA could be the lying one.
This is all from a US point of view - Europe has disallowed using such shenanigans to rob consumers of their rights: https://www.theverge.com/2012/7/3/3134867/eu-court-of-justic...
It's all a matter of what the regulations actually are. Most of them get sold as "consumer protection" but in practice are written by the industries the consumers are supposedly being protected from, in order to create barriers to entry and destroy competition.
> The US is sold products that force you to buy more “juice” and make messes.
Is there something forcing you to buy those ones? Can't you just order the EU one and have it shipped to you in the US? (And if the thing preventing that is regulations, well, "we need more regulations" is probably the wrong fix.)
Requiring 3rd party certification that your food/vape juice/whatever won't harm me should definitely be a barrier to entry. If that means there's less competition and higher prices, so be it. Consumer safety should come before the need for more competition and lower prices.
So then don't buy anything without third party certification. But why shouldn't you be able to choose the EU's certification rather than the US, or a private one, if you want to?
You can't tell how compliant with food safety standards a manufacturer is when you're standing in front of a supermarket shelf. It's better to just know that every juice on the shelf met some minimum food safety standard.
How can you tell any better how compliant they are with local law? The penalty can be the same for misusing the seal of the standards organization, it just gives you the choice of whose standards you're willing to accept.
> It's better to just know that every juice on the shelf met some minimum food safety standard.
But that isn't what happens. It immediately goes from requiring that the food is not rat poison to prohibiting donut holes and restricting hamburgers on Sundays and requiring apple pie to be served with cheese.
With regards to diesel vs. gasoline: Where I live, gasoline is 5 times more expensive than it is in the US, so diesel have been favored solely for its efficiency. We consider anything below ~25km/l (or ~60MPG) to be inefficient, and anything below ~20km/l (or ~50MPG) to be terrible, and that has been our standard for close to 20 years. NOX vs. CO2 is always a discussion, but we do our best to burn as little as possible of anything.
We also try to disincentivize owning old cars that are legal by older standards by having taxes on emission technology (e.g. no modern DPF), as well as fuel efficiency.
(Not that I'm fossil-fuel apologetic—I'm going to get an EV as soon as its affordable. Cars are pricey here.)
Movies Anywhere is owned by Disney but is a partnership with four other studios. You can buy a movie from iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, or Vudu and get credit for purchasing it from other stores.
If it was honest and said that I suspect fewer people would buy them. Sorry, license them.
Could a bookseller add a license to a physical book, and suddenly you can't sell it or lend it out?
But there is another case that went all the way to the supreme Court regarding resale of textbooks. Kurtsang v wiley. Textbook publisher Wileyclaimed that because they put "not for sale in the US" on their cheaper, but nearly identical international version textbooks, that meant they could dictate as such.
But the defendants prevailed and the supreme Court ruled that the first sale doctrine applied and lawful purchasers of the books could import them and sell them wherever they want.
This is a rather recent precedent because Costco lost a similar case v Omega a few years earlier, but it did not set a precedent.
The textbook one did.
But I suspect that there were some additional copyright and licensing complexities that made the Disney case different. Especially since it was two copies of the same item, just in different formats. Also, Disney, so probably the most experienced, well funded, and vicious gang of lawyers in existence.
But I'm not sure if a straightforward resale of a digital item has been tested in the courts. It seems with the Kurtsang v Wiley precedent, you would have a good chance of winning.
Probably. I mean, they're already selling physical items laden with DRM (DVD/bluray), presumably in those cases they are selling you "a license to watch the disk." The ability to restrict first sale of DRM'd movies is probably on their TODO list I'd wager, or their list of greatest regrets.
Incidentally, years ago, they did manage to invent a self-destructing DVD obsensibly for rental-without-return purposes. Technology Connections has a good video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccneE_gkSAs
Obviously companies (and therefore customers) should be paying for the ecological impact of their waste product.
Doesn’t seem all that nefarious. Get your money back, order the paperbacks. No DRM issues again.
DRM is content as a service, and by definition, all DRM will either be cracked or will become inaccessible eventually with probability approach 1 over time.
I own a Kindle, however I only buy ebooks from stores that offer epub and PDF as well. At max with watermarks.
I know of https://www.downpour.com for audio books and I get all my audio books from them since they are DRM-free.
Would love to know of such a service for ebooks, but for fiction.
They have always been very customer friendly. They have a "free library" section, too. (Often has such things as the first book in a series.)
J Novel Club
Translated Japanese light novels. There's a membership that lets you read along as they translate, but if you purchase the ebook when they're done, it's DRM free.
And of course http://www.gutenberg.org/
Incidentally this model of Kindle also comes with text-to-speach, which is a really nice feature which I believe is missing from all newer models (removed to avoid cannibalizing audio book sales.)
It’s so ridiculous.
I buy mostly technical e-books.
If a game developer shuts down their game servers, do they release the binaries? Some do, I guess. I've even seen some software companies release the source if/when they shut down.
Either way, let me annotate my own paper book TYVM.
From where? The bookstores that no longer exist? Or hope that there is a 1/1000 chance you might get lucky and find one on fleaBay?
This doesn't preclude the use of DRM in its entirety but is very close to the experience of buying and owning physical media, which I think meets the common perception of what "buying" means. For companies wanting to use the current DRM paradigm, they should be required to use an alternate, accurate term such as "license."
Of course this is becoming increasingly academic with the rise of subscription services, where I think all parties are aware that content is impermanent and the relationship is defined month to month.
MSN music: https://www.cnet.com/news/defunct-msn-music-has-a-drm-contro...
Zune’s servers shut down in 2017, but at least you could download free MP3 versions of everything. https://www.thurrott.com/music-videos/groove-music/82201/buy...
Its like you go to Microsoft site to search for a registry problem, and the support person tells you to use Cortana to search. Because obviously his job is not to solve your registry problem, it is to promote Cortana for Microsoft.
The ability to view drm’d content is almost just an optional side benefit.
I still think legislation should require any product sold with a buy/purchase button should be required to continue functioning even if the “product” is shut down.
Happy to play the corporate’s game but only to a point. And it’s clear that one need a plan B cause corporates will go nuclear without hesitation. So I don’t feel bad at all about bending the rules on this
Anyway, that makes me REALLY annoyed, so I break the DRM protection every time, just to avoid another hassle next time I reset my ereader, my Calibre library, or any other event.
Granted that does not happen very often, but I'll do anything to avoid yet another 2FA voodoo ritual across multiple online platforms just to claim ownership on a 100 pages book. I mean, come on !
It's less 'the dark side of DRM', and more simply that DRM requires actively maintained infrastructure. When the business case isn't there to pay for that anymore (or the company goes bust), then what else can one expect?
and also, while the iso/tv/movie scene has strict quality rules, the ebook "scene" seems more ad-hoc. pirated ebooks are sometimes OCR scans with tonnes of spelling mistakes or weird formatting, or ancient editions.
in short, de-DRM can still be preferable.
I feel this is actually the relevant point - and just a sign of the things to come.
What's done with systems like DRM - but what is also directly integrated into many new products - is the ability of a producer to essentially keep full control over a product throughtout its whole lifetime - in particular, even after it was sold.
You can see this trend in a lot of different areas: IoT, connected cars, game consoles and games that must always have an internet connection, subscription-only software, etc.
I believe, consumer protections are not even remotely compared to this kind of model.
The whole concept of DRM is certifiable. Asking to have something accessible yet not accessible to the end client at the exact same time.
When it can be bypassed by capturing the output channel anyway on top of that.
From https://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/63/~/music-... :
"If you downloaded music from Walmart before February 2008, some of your music files may be in the Windows Media Audio (WMA) format."
Walmart shifted to selling 256k non-DRM MP3s after that, and then that store was also killed in 2011: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2011/08/walma...
I also can't think of the Walmart music store without thinking of this dramatic reading of a timeless 2004 (!) rant about the usability of the Walmart store in non-Microsoft browsers/players. The SWF probably won't play for most of you, but the original post is screenshotted below it: https://www.somethingawful.com/flash-tub/letter-from-interne...
Any recommendations for a site selling DRM-FREE ebooks for fiction?
But I'm well aware in this case that I'm not purchasing any long term licenses.
And there should be a stronger push to repeal corrupt DMCA-1201 and the like.
This is precisely why I use Calibre with KyBook 3. You can import ePub and pdf formats and no DRM of course.
I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to remove the DRM from the books I buy for my Kindle or the like. Assuming I don't share them with friends, family or strangers (which is a different issue), the authors, publishers, & copyright holders aren't losing sales.
I wager there will probably come a day when Amazon refuses to send newly purchased ebooks to old models of kindles.
In discussions with friends I always say "Imagine all the old books would have been e-books, and all the old DRM servers are gone. Now what?"
I have never (and will never) owned an e-book, unless it is a free of DRM.
The dark side of eBooks: sometimes you buy a book and then you lose the file.
I've lost a LOT more files, than I have books.
Oh wait, nevermind, that's never actually happened.
okay, they're refunding people, which is a decent enough move (still inconvenient though). presumably, they didn't do it out of the kindness of their own heart, but to avoid controversy/lawsuits, what with public opinion slowly swinging away from DRM and towards right to repair.
This is a hard problem for publishers. Some publishers have decided to sell ebooks without DRM — though the biggest example of this that I always pointed to for years and years, O'Reilly, stopped selling ebooks directly in 2017. (It appears from that article that DRM/piracy concerns were not primary for O'Reilly, but the unprofitability of their ebook store and the rising profitability of their subscription business.)
Most publishers don't believe that it is in their best interest to sell DRM-free ebooks. (This includes all the publishers I have done business with, which is a fairly representative sample). It's not that they're trying to get rich, it's that they're trying to stay alive. Ebook sales have been declining or at best have stabilized. Physical bookstores are declining. Publishers have a fear-hate-dependency relationship with Amazon, so they would like to sell ebooks directly, but very few have achieved any profitability there, and they don't believe that selling digital files without some form of digital copy protection is going to lead to more sales.
I have not been arguing here for DRM, I am simply telling you the reality of the publishing business and how it is grappling with a very different distribution environment than what we had 20+ years ago before there was such a thing as ebooks.
 I built my first commercially distributed ebooks in 2000 for the (old) Microsoft Reader, Palm, and Rocket Ebook platforms. I've been in the publishing industry since 1997.
Now I will argue for DRM — or at least, for finding a solution that works for everyone.
I would like to think that DRM-free ebook distribution would work for publishers, and I used to try to convince them that they should move in that direction, but two things dampened my idealism: (1) my aforementioned experience talking with western publishers about DRM-free distribution. (2) I started talking with publishers in developing-world cultures. Many of these publishers (especially in post-colonial contexts, where books were traditionally donated by ministries and thus were free) have a very hard time making ends meet, and they cannot envision getting their customers to pay for digital files that don't have some kind of protection. There is too much precedent in those places for both books and digital files to be free.
In short, very few publishers are going to embrace a solution that fails to protect their content. If you buy a copy, they need to be able to ensure that it remains a single copy.
But at the same time, few publishers think, "I love having my customers locked into Amazon's platform. It's so good for my business that Amazon owns my customers."
What we need is a system in which:
* publishers and distributors can sell ebooks to customers and ensure that those ebooks are protected as single copies
* customers can buy ebooks and ensure that they will always have access to those ebooks, on any platform that they own, no matter whose DRM servers go down (because no single entity owns the DRM / licensing platform)
* customers can loan / given their ebooks to others, either permanently or for a limited period of time
* bonus: publishers (and therefore authors!) get a royalty on the resale
* important: buyers' full purchase history is knowable only by the buyers themselves
I believe the technical infrastructure to make this sort of system possible are just now being put into place. And I believe that someone will succeed in designing, building, and selling it to the publishing industry in the next few years.
And yes, I'm looking forward to it: I would like to see the publishing industry much less dependent of a single all-powerful distributor, and more able to sell directly to their customers without intermediaries and without fear. And as a reader, I would like to be able to buy digital books (and movies, for that matter) and know that I will always have access to those copies, no matter what, without being dependent on a single distributor. Or resell them if I so choose.
[edited to reformat because hacker news doesn't speak Markdown]