This strong difference in powers between companies and customers in the digital realm becomes more and more a serious problem. When people are stop buying digital goods or anything of certain types, just because they have no legal security, then it harms also companies themself. so it should be in their own interesst to support such things.
There was a time in Europe when a strong movement for digital rights existed, but to bad it somehow died down.
The result would be that traditional creditors will demand an escrow for that digital data before giving any money (or providing products before payment), to make sure that they are not bypassed -- which would be the desired result for everyone.
No its not. You've only agreed to RENT a book for an unspecified amount of time. You never owned a thing, and thus nothing was stolen from you.
Ownership doesn't exist in the digital marketplace; if you really wanted to do something so stupid as to OWN a good, you'd pirate it.
Note that for goods like DVDs you're still only purchasing the right to access the data.. you didn't actually take ownership of anything more than the physical disk.
Hence, the OP has lost nothing they had... because they had nothing to begin with !
Copyright is the specific rule under which I get the copy when I buy a DVD, not some random license written by the company producing the DVD. Fair use and all.
This word play would not be found funny in court (or at least shouldn’t be)
It's not copyright, as I understand it -- its terms of service.
There is a law of the land, and it is not overriden by an amazon webpage in general, even if it does in some US states.
If Amazon folds, how come my "purchased" video disappears with it?
Words have a meaning that cannot just be redefined at will with legalese. Try to pay someone salary, subject to the limitation that it is in negative dollars, and see how far that gets you in court.
So far, companies like Microsoft who shut down their DRM services have refunded those purchases ; Companies that folded did not. I suspect if Microsoft got to court without a refund, court would have ordered them to refund or give a DRM-free copy. Either way, it's clear that for Microsoft, the public relation + court costs outweighed the refund cost. My suggestion is to make that effectively law, so that not just microsoft (who stand to lose from this action) would actually consider it a-priori.
If the ebook publishers were motivated to, they would encode unique properties into the text of each download that uniquely identifies the transaction. Then if you find copies online you know who to chase.
The point is, give me my copy of the file, I don't want to be locked into your system.
These shrink wrap licences can be legislated away. Lots of EU countries have consumer protection legislation that explicitly forbids/invalidates such imbalanced or unexpected terms in the fine print for consumer-facing contracts -- or indeed invalidates shrink-wrap licence terms outright.
Plus a lot of people simply assume there's no recourse even when there in fact is ("the US is an anarchist wonderland where consumers have no protections at all" is a harmful and false meme, what we have is the widespread assumption that consumers have no protections), and of those who don't, who really wants to spend a ton of time in any sort of legal or arbitration resolution over 40 books, which almost certainly total far less than any possible legal or arbitration battle will cost?
The legal system, US, EU, or otherwise, doesn't have a good answer to when a company bones .01% of several million people to the tune of several hundred dollars, or bones its entire customer base for $1 or something. By the time you bust through their contract clauses against class action and even find everyone affected you've long since eaten up any value you're going to get from the lawsuit even if you win big and win punitive damages. Computers make it so much easier to do this kind of thing on the company's side, but they don't help anyone trying to fight it anywhere near as much. Very asymmetrical advantage for the companies to hit people like this at some scale.
The biggest problem is that the US legal system is incredibly expensive. You can have justice, but only if you tens or hundreds of thousands of $$ to spend and prevail. In theory, everyone can get their day in court and (likely) enjoy reasonable protection. In practice, that's not happening.
Instead, what's happening is that such things wait for class action lawyers to take the case - which I would guess happens to less than one in a hundred cases in which a company utilizes this asymmetry.
I believe the EU has different cost/benefit tradeoffs, but they're still not something to be done casually or easily by a consumer at this scale of damage. For instance, "loser pays" sounds great until you lose. Even if your obligations are statutorily limited it's still not something to take on over, let's say, Amazon restricting access to the 40 books you purchased, to pull an example from nowhere.
The damages in such a case are so low that it's difficult for any legal system to provide a reasonable mechanism for redress. Even if you valuate your time at the local minimum wage, even a small claims court is going to take more time than is worth it for one person. You'll probably be waiting in the courtroom for longer than the value of the books in question.
The real problem here isn't that the US is a consumer rights wasteland when it isn't; the real problem is the huge asymmetrical advantages companies have, in any jurisdiction, in screwing significant numbers of people just a little bit.
Small claims court awarded "lost time" (in the loser pays) in the few cases I'm aware of. I know of several people who've taken a local retailer to court (Not quite Amazon, but think of e.g. New York's PC Richards and Sons size), and were made truly whole for a $200 case (that is, got their $200 back, and a few $100 more for effort). If these things happen in the US, I haven't heard of them.
> The real problem is the huge asymmetrical advantages companies have, in any jurisdiction, in screwing significant numbers of people just a little bit.
Yes, but situation in Europe is IMHO a bit better, both from the small-courts, binding-arbitration-instead-of-courts looked down upon, and much stronger regulation on rights, like fit-for-purpose, lemon laws, and even things like GDPR.
The bottom line is, regardless what the rules say, a person in Europe suffers, on average, much less than the power asymmetry - although they do pay for that upfront with higher prices (which also pay for other stuff like education and universal medical care - it's hard to untangle, but it's protection that likely isn't free).
Yes, the lawyers rake in the money and the victims get virtually nothing but it created a market-driven method of enforcing rules; a
immune to political whims.
Sadly arbitration clauses have become the norm, but I don’t know if they have merit with EULAs.
But I would like to see class action suits make a come-back.
USA also has mandated rights notifications.
There are specific absences of laws in certain particular cases.
There is nothing stopping people from buying a 'dumb' e-reader with internal storage where you load epub/pdf/rtf/txt files that you actually own or borrow from a library.
There is a reason that Kindle prevail, and it's not because of some conspiracy or a giant company. It's because it's easy, basically like going to Chapters or Barnes and Noble and walking out with a book. There is no similar avenue for "dumb" e-readers. They need to know several levels of skills to get it and it's a lot more difficult then clicking "Buy" and start reading.
Can you point to any amazon docs explaining this? I was under the impression that this was the big caveat restriction with amazon.
Yes, all Kindles.
The remaining annoyance is that besides PDFs and a few other document file formats, the Kindles don't read standard EPUB format ebooks, only .mobi or .azw ebooks.
That was kinda sorta okay when the Kindle first came out (Amazon got .mobi through their acquisition of Mobipocket, and .azw is mostly the same format), as at the time practically every e-reader device had it's own proprietary format, but since then everyone has converged on the EPUB standard with Amazon the lone holdout.
Thankfully, Calibre can automatically convert ebooks of whatever format to .mobi when transferring from your library to a Kindle.
Another cool thing is Calibre recognizes the Kindle. :)
In cases like this where there's a huge imbalance in power and technical knowledge between suppliers and users, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the government to legislate on the behalf of it's constituents to protect their interests.
I think at this point it's been clearly demonstrated that DRM is simply not necessary to protect functioning markets in digital goods. Apple showed this with iTunes, arguing forcefully for DRM free music downloads. I'm a gamer and there's a very vibrant and successful market in DRM free PDFs in the tabletop gaming industry. I'm no extremist, I don't object to all DRM in every case, but I think arbitrary lockouts like this are clearly wrong, and a right to DRM free copies of material you have bought if a service expires or closes is perfectly fair.
AFAIK Most 'non-kindle' e-readers (even those with an online store), will still operate as a mass storage device if you connect them via USB to another machine.
Do people still have limited data plans in 2020?
Did it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party
IMO any sort of news/event post that's not recent (say, in the last month or so, or at least within a year of the posting date) should be required to add a "" (or whatever year it was posted) to the end of the title.
Amazon claims in the article that one should not lose their access to their book library even if their account is blocked.
I really like ebooks. I like my newfound ability to carry around the novel I'm reading in the form of a pocketbook sized tablet with a matte screen that can be lit with warm orange light if I want it. But I buy all my books directly from the publisher, drm-free. That gives me the right to create as many copies as I want for personal use, makes it legal to integrate it into calibre, make a backup and store it on my ereader all at the same time. Buying from publishers is not hard. It's the second entry on ddg when I search for the book I'm currently reading. They even accept giropay without the need to create an account.
With movies and music I can partially understand the streaming model because the average joe wants much of it, he wants it pre-curated to his taste and he wants it fast, without hassle. This is easy to accomplish with streaming in the drm-hell landscape it has become. But books? He buys a book maybe once every two weeks and the convenience is en par with the garbage dump amazon has set up and much less abusive than that.
What they say is basically:
> you have no rights
> you promise not to try and exercise any right you think you have
> you will not do anything the company doesn't like
> the company can do anything whether you like it or not
> the company is not responsible for anything ever
> we make no guarantees about anything
So yes this works _sometimes_, but not most of the time.
For the majority of users who are looking for a very specific book, not just _any_ new book to read, buying it digitally means buying it from a DRM-laden marketplace.
Of course, they have a much smaller selection than Amazon and you likely won't find the book you want. So it's not really a proper alternative. You either accept their TOS or you don't get to read the book you want digitally.
This is an extremely weak argument, IMHO.
For a start, it's clearly impractical for the average person to even read all of the legal documents they theoretically agree to. It would take an absurd amount of time and have a devastating effect on our quality of life and the productivity of our society.
Even that assumes the reader would be qualified to understand the legal implications of a long, often complicated document, possibly written according to the laws of another country, in the first place. This again seems extremely optimistic, given that professional lawyers spend years studying their own legal systems and are then often very well paid for sharing the expertise they have acquired.
So the idea that burying something unfair or unreasonable in a ToS document that realistically almost no-one is going to read and properly understand is really just a conceit of the legal profession (and possibly not even that, since even lawyers understand the fiction that is happening here).
The essence of any legal contract is an agreement, understood and entered into voluntarily by all parties involved, that exchanges things of value to the parties. Different legal systems might use slightly different words to say that, but they mean much the same thing. Hiding shady stuff in the small print of an agreement written by one side's professional lawyers and probably never even read never mind understood by the other side is far from sufficient to meet that standard for a legal contract.
This is why good businesses and their lawyers go out of their way to present the key details of any agreement clearly and up-front, not to hide them on page 91. It's also why courts hearing consumer rights cases sometimes side with the consumer even if something else was stated in a ToS or similar document.
What makes you think that? It seems highly unlikely to me that the average customer of an ebook reader or a streaming TV/movie service or one of the gaming networks has any idea about how the DRM works or how intrusively the provider of their electronic content can later monitor their use of it and change or revoke their access to it. Who do you think is going around and warning all these people, in such a way that they can reasonably understand the implications of what is being said, about the risks that come with these kinds of technologies?
Now, if you were arguing that governments should be regulating these industries, mandating information for customers about the risks and prohibiting abusive behaviours by content providers, then I'd be the first to agree with you. I think such measures are long overdue. But that's not the same thing as what you wrote before.
I used to tell people and most of them ignored what I said.
> It seems highly unlikely to me that the average customer of an ebook reader or a streaming TV/movie service or one of the gaming networks has any idea about how the DRM works
They don't have to understand technical details. They just have to understand one fact: they don't actually own what they're spending their money on.
I told them, they understood and they didn't care.
> Who do you think is going around and warning all these people, in such a way that they can reasonably understand the implications of what is being said, about the risks that come with these kinds of technologies?
Me. I used to tell everyone I know. It was useless.
> Now, if you were arguing that governments should be regulating these industries, mandating information for customers about the risks and prohibiting abusive behaviours by content providers, then I'd be the first to agree with you.
Don't get me wrong. I generally agree with this. Actually I have a radical opinion: copyright should be abolished and it should be illegal to implement DRM in any form.
This doesn't change the fact that these people cannot be helped. They want their pleasure and if you're pointing out issues you're just getting in their way. They absolutely deserve to be blamed if their accounts get banned and they lose everything.
> They just have to understand one fact: they don't actually own what they're spending their money on.
The consequences of losing access don't necessarily follow from that though. Lots of people for example understand the principle of leasing an apartment or car, and in those cases it's much harder for the true owner to arbitrarily take the property away from you.
> Actually I have a radical opinion: copyright should be abolished and it should be illegal to implement DRM in any form.
Radical opinions further tell people that you are not being pragmatic about what you are saying and therefore it can't be very practical advice. That is another reason why I expect people weren't receptive to your warnings.
I don't claim to be an expert. I'm just a guy who cares a lot about this stuff. I suppose I can be dramatic but I don't think that makes me wrong.
> The consequences of losing access don't necessarily follow from that though.
Currently, they do. That could change in the future but right now when people spend money on media they're merely buying some company's permission to enjoy some content. That permission can be revoked at any time and for any reason or no reason.
> Lots of people for example understand the principle of leasing an apartment or car, and in those cases it's much harder for the true owner to arbitrarily take the property away from you.
People aren't leasing content though. They're buying it. They buy books, they buy video games...
> it can't be very practical advice
Ignoring copyright is actually the most practical advice there is.
Everybody understands how to do it. I've yet to meet a single person who has never infringed copyright. People do it without even realizing it. It's how people naturally operate, especially on the internet. When people want something, they right click on it and save it. Nobody really thinks about the creator's rights to monopolize imaginary property.
The only problem with this advice is it's technically illegal. We can fix this by abolishing copyright.
I think you are misunderstanding my point.
What I am saying is that most people's expectation of leasing/renting arrangements is such that there are protections in place to prevent the thing from being arbitrarily taken away.
However those protections don't exist for software services, only physical things like cars and apartments. Thus it is a violation of peoples' expectations that software services don't have those protections.
So it is not enough to simply tell them, "You don't own it and that's the problem". That does not fully explain the problem. In order to fully explain the problem you would need to explain how not only do you not own it, but ALSO there are no legal protections to prevent it from arbitrarily being taken away like a layperson might expect there to be such a situation.
> People aren't leasing content though. They're buying it. They buy books, they buy video games...
Earlier you just said that users don't own the content... so which is it?
> I don't think victim-blaming is a great way to educate people
What would be a better way, specifically?
Most publishers don't do that. Why do you think Amazon has DRM? It's not because they enjoy running DRM schemes, they were among the first to sell straight MP3s even. It's because most publishers love DRM. See also the lawsuit against Internet Archive at the first whiff of creaks in the DRM dam.
They sure do enjoy the lock-in that results from publishers demanding DRM.
Books feel like they are in a special class of digital good and I think most people would support legislation ending the use of permanent, proprietary digital locks on books.
Not only have they not been warned, services like Audible and Kindle are actively marketed to hide that possibility.
If they really wanted people to understand that these purchases can be revoked at any time, they'd stop using words like "own", "buy", and "my library".
It's fine to hold consumers responsible, but only if companies are transparent. "Buy" is a word with a specific definition in the physical world, and Amazon is abusing that understanding.
It's their right to try ripping me off, but it's disgusting that they don't communicate this. You click "buy now", but somewhere in the small print it says "oh but you're not really buying buying it though". That should be illegal. In fact, pretty sure it is illegal.
Chances are, if someone wanted to spend the thousands if not millions of dollars/euros/pesos/whatever to actually take legal action to demand the content they paid for, it's not unlikely that the decision would fall along the lines of "You can't just effectively sell something and claim you didn't really sell it"
It's like the "It's not monetization I swear, they're just donating and we're giving them something back to show our gratitude" bullshit people pull with Arma 3 servers. Everyone sees through it, but it works as long as nobody has a real interest in actually stopping it.
Now that I think of it, it might have to do with the fact that I read sci-fi almost exclusively, where the authors have some kind of political interest in freedom themselfes and might pick publishers accordingly, but I have no way to back that idea up. The majority of the books I bought are published by Bastei Lübbe (https://www.luebbe.de/), but smaller publishers usually allowed me to do the same.
I don't read book samples because I check the reviews for books I plan on reading on whereever I can find them, but I might start if the reviews start failing me. Might have to figure out where those are possible then :)
This is the main complain IMHO.
Most people trust amazon to be around in 10 years, and do not mind to be bound to a specific company. It would be fine if there was a recourse when getting kicked out of the platform.
This is similar to mail data on gmail, people are aware of the limitations, but are still pissed off when Google shuts down their account without any explanation.
Your point about DRM-free is another form of having a way out of the platform in case of dispute, but there could be other solutions as well I guess.
Depending on a range of factors, this might be useful for solving that:
It's reasonable for the average person to expect stuff to be reaspnable.
I'm okay with this business model. I know it's not a popular opinion here - but as there's no reasonable way to prevent people from unrestrictedly distributing copies, the business model of licensing books sounds reasonable to me.
What's not reasonable is the lack of transparency when you're suspected of abuse. I understand that there are many bad actors, but these companies are judge, jury and executioner when it comes to handling what they think are abuse cases - and honest people who get caught in the crossfire have no recourse.
Regulation needs to be put in place saying that if you paid a company any significant sum for services, you have the right to contest any claims of abuse and must be provided with all reasoning they have on that abuse within 24 hours. And you have a right to take them to court without needing to show damages when they're being unreasonable.
I get what you're saying about preventing copying being impossible without DRM, but I think you overestimate the prevalence of unauthorized copying, at least when the convenience and cost of purchasing a legal copy is reasonable enough.
DRM has other bad societal effects, like locking up works beyond their copyright expiration, and causing people to lose access to those works if the company goes out of business (for DRM systems that require periodic license refreshes). DRM also generally disallows all legal copying under fair use terms.
I think the only way that I'd be even remotely comfortable with DRM is if companies using it were required to place their DRM keys in escrow; if the company ever decides to stop offering the service, or simply goes out of business, those keys should be released to the public. And companies should be required to remove DRM from works when its copyright expires. Even with all that, though, I'd still find DRM undesirable.
Even then, who verifies that the correct keys are uploaded? And for that matter, what counts as "going out of business"? Maybe they'll stop providing service and say "a patch is just around the corner" and then simply never release (or work on) the patch?
It wouldn't surprise me if something absurd happens like Epic buys GOG and then forces you to buy the same games on Epic store again.
The company doesn't own the keys, so it can't sell them. The user doesn't get the keys until the contract is fulfilled.
I'd expect losing access to the game or not being able to make be installs of the game (in a reasonable time frame) would be in the contract as sufficient conditions to give ownership to affected users.
That way, the company can decide to keep the evidence to themselves and not need to go to court, but must forgo all revenue from your account.
If sign a contract that you will provide me a service and you back out of it midway, I'm usually worse off than if you had declined the engagement in advance. For example, if I contract you to build me a house, it takes six months, and three months in you decide to back out and pay me back with interest, I still have half a house I need to demolish or else I have to find someone who would continue your work (which I likely won't find), and I'm out 3 months' rent.
I would expect additional compensation.
What if you brought your Kindle on a two-month-long hiking trip to South America and they don't sell them over there?
You're not worse off if you didn't spend anything and you are half-way towards your goal of having a house.
Contractors hate taking over someone elses' half-done work, as they now have to deal with someone else's shortcuts without knowing what they are.
(This goes both ways, of course - if I back off the deal and have the contractor stop all work, I usually have to pay in full anyway.)
It's only the occasional "I managed to raise a storm on Twitter so the CEO noticed" that has any cost to the company and thus any chance of getting a resolution.
Means "The claimant is always bound to prove: the burden of proof lies on him." For anyone who can't read latin (and doesn't want to have to google a latin phrase in an english conversation).
You're pitting a company with billions to spend on this stuff and all the incentive to keep doing it against a regular consumer with none of the resources or determination. This is where regulation comes in and it should always favor the consumer by default. It's why countries have consumer protection agencies but no company protection agencies.
Wouldn't a possible avenue here [in the US] be small claims court? Or could costs still rise to that level under that situation?
Also costs around $100 to file and you're looking at at a day or two of time away from work.
Why is that a hard requirement though? Also, DRM really doesn't prevent that. I got through my last couple years of college on books from libgen.
Some regulator should take them on that.
Also, USA Supreme Court has no power in the EU. She bought Kindle it in the UK, I guess while they were still part of the EU.
Here is a similar situation with Valve and Steam:
French court rules that Steam’s ban on reselling used games is contrary to European law: https://www.polygon.com/2019/9/19/20874384/french-court-stea...
Anything that is not available in a format I can own in perpetuity, I will not buy. Voting with your wallet is the only way to pressure these companies.
Come on, how can you have such a grim outlook? Nobody will “effectively block” open source tools. Consoles can afford to. Phones are being challenged. Everyone else won’t.
Unfortunately I'll have to migrate to their subscription sooner or later, I already don't have access to their Safari extension.
I was a long (15years?) paying user of Lastpass, saw the company grow and discussed with the founders when they were just starting. Then the software grew old (and some M&A were dubious)
Switching to Bitwarden was a great choice (since about a year)
(I have no affiliation with Bitwarden, I just work in Information Security and look closely at this kind of software and their tradeoffs)
Anyway, I think I'll look at something else for now, I can't really afford that :)
- the official docker solution which is extremely complicated
- https://github.com/dani-garcia/bitwarden_rs which is extremely simple and just works. It includes everything for 0 EUR.
I still sent money to both projects because I think they did a nice work.
I find Bitwarden better than LP in handling Android (seems to be better at recognizing places it can fill in) and it is very complete in terms of what the product itself offers. I considered moving mu OTP (currently on Authy) there, up to the moment where I realized I need OTP for Bitwarden itself :)
Otherwise I have no complaints. The sharing part is excellent (much better than LP) - the only thing to be aware of is that once you "share" with a group, the elements is not "yours" anymore. It becomes truly shared within the group. Specifically you cannot "take it back". While it was a bit disconcerting at first, I find it very logical in the long term. And use it extensively with my family.
Your comment on OTP makes a lot of sense. I personally use Aegis from F-droid from OTP (moved from AndOTP), which I quite like.
bitwarden: I subscribed and then cancelled as there is no single payment either.
As for the OTP, one more point is that in the case where Bitwarden would be hacked, the fact that OTP is somewhere else is a real layer of security.
There's a Calibre plugin that does it.
If you really care about ebooks that you purchase, I highly recommend installing this plugin. It automatically strips DRM off books you download and open with Calibre.
And keep a back-up of the (DRM-free) books somewhere that's not Amazon / a cloud. Because a cloud is simply a computer that you do not own.
In fact, I believe in some jurisdictions it's actually legal: since you bought it, you're allowed file and sandpaper it to make it actually work.
Can you imagine anybody in the industry saying “That’s enough money” today?
It is the game publishers that choose to use steam drm. Often the same publishers publish on GOG without the drm (since gog, admirably, does not offer a drm option to them), but it is not steam that is forcing the drm on you. Your issue is with the game publisher.
I don't see any compelling reason for me to prefer them over Steam, anymore.
Honestly, if I'm going to fight against my software, I might as well be pirating.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever." - Orwell
No, not still hellbent thanks Gizmodo, just wanted to go to the link I clicked on, geez, if that's OK. Although after that weird experience, I don't. I thought the story had been deleted, for a moment!
Buying includes a very short period of trust between you and the seller, where you give them money, and they give you the product in return. Sometimes there's also a long trust involved due to warranty, but more often than not those failed me in the past, so I stopped taking them into account when making a purchase.
But a service is a long term relationship between a customer and a service provider, and those ALWAYS failed me, if they existed for long enough.
Amazon does not sell books to Kindle, but instead provides a service of renting Kindle books. The cause of confusion here is them using a wrong term to describe what they do.
We should get a law that forbids any SaaS or media-rental company from ever using "purchase" in their advertising and operation. It could be the Interned Digital Goods Advertisement Fraud Act, or IDGAF act - as in "I don't give a f__k what you say; if I can't keep them forever and copy them around, those ain't 'goods' I'm buying, it's a rental service".
This is certainly what Amazon etc write in their terms and would like the legal system to enforce, but I think it's clear that most normal humans don't really think of it like this.
The strongest argument that they don't is that the prices for films that you buy on google play and the books that you buy on amazon cost the same as they did before.
Quite clearly, ownership rights are not worth nothing, so if the public are prepared to pay the same rates, the most likely explanation is that they are confused about what they are getting. There's been no real effort to disabuse them either - the amazon ebook site says 'Buy now', google play says 'buy'. What we're seeing is large tech companies trying (and so far succeeding) to redefine what it means to buy and to own things.
People probably don't even think about the fact that if the company went bust or decided to stop offering their service, potentially thousands of dollars worth of things they thought they owned would go up in a puff of electrons.
20 years ago, people would have CD, DVD or book collections that would be insured for significant amounts of money. Is it possible to insure access to a digital media collection?
Unfortunately, we live in an era where everything that can connect to the Internet will abuse its intended use at some point.
This is not an era-problem, this is a culture-problem. Likely an economic-incentives-problem. The culture in both business and consumers. There always seem to be The Assholes who corrupt it all for everyone. It's easy to point at businesses, but few talk about incidents of malfeasance from the other parties to the transactions. The guy who buys a circular saw from a big box store, uses it for a weekend project, then returns it. The woman who buys a dress, hides the price tag, wears it to a wedding, then returns it.
Building high-trust, high-ethics organizations at scale and identifying individuals for those organizations is hard, and I wish there was more written about it. It's not a new problem, so I'd like to see the evolution of thought about it as well.
Were this only an era problem. Then it would just be a passing fad, even if "passing" was longer than a human generation. I could handle that.
However, there are in this (and other eras) non-dominant cultures of high-trust where the incidence of rough equivalent types of malfeasance or even the expectations of them occurring are noticeably lower. Many rural cultures, for example. So I was trying to concisely express the era doesn't define everyone in every culture.
Now if I could understand why such non-dominant cultures do not scale and dominate, I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful civilization, to cop a line from Rick.
My friend Woozle noted a few years ago an epistemic paradox:
> Our present epistemic systems are undergoing kind of the same shock that the online community underwent when transitioning from BBSs and Usenet to the commercial web to social media.
> We were used to a very high content-to-BS ratio because it took a certain amount of intelligence and intense domain-interest for people to be there in the first place -- and we've now transitioned to a situation where many people are there more or less accidentally and (the worst part), because of a high percentage of the population being present, there is now substantial power to be had by influencing the discussions that take place.
Shoshana Zuboff put this more succinctly, in the 1980s, in her Thid Law:
> Every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control.
And you can find far earlier examples, say, Sun Tzu's "On the Use of Spies" (book 13), and of course "All warfare is based on deception."
So yes, the practive is not merely modern, and not a passing fad.
"Build it and they will come" turns out to be a curse.
Non-dominant cultures may advance by out-surviving adversaries. The Angles were subordinate to the Romans, the Song Dynasty and Poland to the Mongolian Empire, Egypt and Persia to Macedonia. Direct combat is expensive and risky.
But an utter failure at self-preservation (or in securing suitable patronage) tends to end badly. To invoke another mid-century classic, Huxley's Island. "Here and now, boys!"
I've been thinking about this: If this is the only reason you use an ebook-store (like the Kindle store), this would be fairly easy to create a 100% competitor for - after all, there's no law against creating a site for giving money to your favourite authors!
...and then you could create a plugin/API for embedding a "pay for book" button onto other sites - like pirate book sites, and the ONLY weapon Amazon would have against it would be the legal weapon against the pirate sites!
Also you'd probably want the give-authors-money site to be run by a trustworthy nonprofit.
I find it more convenient to break it than DRM-protected ePub files sold elsewhere (Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.).
It's a compromise because big companies still get to close customers' accounts on a whim (it sounds dumb, but companies should be allowed to "fire" their customers), but at least the customers get to keep what they paid for. Everybody wins. It's better than forcing the big companies to keep customers they suspect of abuse.
Or here :
I think after some research that the oasis may be the best value for money reader for my use case (pdf CS books) but I'm not sure about the amazon account and if it is worth the hassle to avoid it.
In my experience, the Kindle is terrible for reading PDFs. The screen is small, and PDFs don't dynamically resize the way e-books do. You'd probably be better off with an iPad or other tablet with better PDF software and better ability to zoom and pan than the Kindle has.
Movies can for example be taken away from digital purchases if the agreement between the movie studio and the content delivery platform ends.
All books will likely be fingerprinted, which I believe is a far more effective method of controlling piracy.
Don't buy from Amazon, this is the only thing that can and will make them change. Amazon put Borders books out of business and will soon put out Barnes & Noble and then you'll be left with no ebook choices, or shopping choices in general.
Not that anyone does this, I suspect most folks want amazon to host the book for them forever and provide them access.
But I do think if you actually download the book, you can basically load it onto a kindle baring very weird situations.
Unless you strip the DRM, you don't own the books.
Books, movies, games... The fact that one day you could wake up banned for something and lose everything you bought during years is absolutely awful.
You'll be a criminal either way.
This is the big issue with these digital services. You no longer own anything. At least the law is catching up to these practices now, here in the EU.
I’m slowly weening myself away from Amazon where I can, but I need options.
I’m curious whether they’re better behaved, though.
If I find value in what I have stolen I will try and buy a DRM free copy of the work if it's available.
I have 22k books in my curated calibre library, of those I have read a small fraction of 1% and I have paid for far fewer.
This more or less matches the existing public library pattern.
Authors cannot complain about 'lost income' as I simply would not consume their content anyway if I could not acquire it this way.