1) You can lend your Kindle out all you want and let people read your books, just as you could before. You just can't duplicate the book onto someone else's Kindle or in any other way, just as you couldn't before. This is a reasonable restriction and not any worse than it was with a physical book, which you are also prohibited from scanning, photocopying and distributing outside of fair use.
2) You can not copy/paste a physical book either. I agree that this should be allowed, but it's not a dystopian future - there is no loss over physical books here, only gain.
Perhaps Amazon should allow some sort of way to help with "fair use" citations, and maybe they should remove restrictions on public domain material. On the latter though, those are generally available for free from many sources, so the fact that you can't copy/paste on your Kindle is an inconvenience, not a dystopia.
Only until that becomes a violation of Amazon's TOS, or reading your books requires you be 'authenticated' with a rights server.
These things happen in steps and just because it works now does not imply that is will continue to work next week/month/year.
A. Purchase a streaming 'membership' where you only have the right to personally stream music from a remote server
B. Purchase encrypted, non-transferrable 'tracks' which will become unplayable when the company supplying them stops running their servers.
There are still avenues (Amazon mp3) which do not take this approach (DRM), but you still cannot legally resell the goods you purchased.
For the longest time it was impossible to buy any (mainstream) music without DRM from anywhere online. This is no longer true. New services (like Amazon MP3) now sell music without DRM and old services (like iTunes) also switched over to selling music without DRM.
Music is the clearest example that this issue is quite a bit more complicated and that working towards more freedom is possible, has already worked and might work again in the future.
(By the way, the labels also tried to bring DRM to CDs for quite some time. I think they stopped doing that, too. I’m not so sure because I didn’t buy any new music on CD ever since I could buy all the un-DRMed music I wanted online.)
Now, I get the bonus of being able to buy just one track.
I would say the people's will is doing nicely in the music industry, even given how hard the RIAA has fought it. I suspect books will follow as people determine what the new norms are and companies find a way to flourish or die therein.
Anyhow, it seems strange that you feel like you have a right to something produced by someone else. I'm not sure they should be able to make laws making circumvention illegal. But, aren't you complaining because you can't access someone else's work in a manner that you think is convenient?
The whole "our rights are being squashed because I can't share my ebook with you" argument reeks a little too much of entitlement for me to get behind it.
Are you "entitled" to lend a paper book to someone. Publisher say no, and they are backed up with the force of law in some countries.
Are you "entitled" to read a book out loud? The Authors Guild says no.
Are you "entitled" to sing a song out loud? ASCAP says no.
Are you "entitled" to sell a CD that you own? Music publishers say no.
Eventually I'll might get to something to which you do think you are "entitled", and smart money bets there is someone in the content industry who wants to deprive you of it, and someone in the legislature willing to make you a criminal if you if you try. The slippery slpe has been well documented for a long time.
BTW, if you haven't already recognized it, this discussion is about much more than just Amazon's TOS.
The fundamental is that technological advance has given us something good, that we did not have before, for free. The sensible question is, how can we best benefit from it.
Are we entitled to the invention of the car? Are we entitled to comfortably travel at faster than walking pace? The question seems meaningless, let alone unhelpful.
Aamazon built the kindle. It is their to decide what to do with it. You and I have no right to usurp their product because we want to alter the benefit. If you don't like the DRM or the features, don't use the product, or start a competitor to the Kindle.
Please don't expand my comment to any other industries. There are certain safety and utility businesses that require regulation. I don't think being able to electronically download a book over a propriety network using a proprietary device (that someone chose to purchase) is one of those.
Education, water, electricity, communication, and healthcare are all fine and proper examples of what happens when incumbents reach "escape velocity" and their past innovations turn into today's rent seeking.
In short, I'll just say this:
* "media companies" is an unnecessarily broad category. But saying "books' rights owners" would invalidate your entire point. Now, you could have pointed out that the MPAA and RIAA felt they had no choice but to lock things down and "attack". Then you could have pointed out the similarity in contexts between their situation and the books' rights groups. Then it would have been reasonable (although a huge stretch, IMO) to suggest that the books' rights groups may make similar decisions. But you chose not to, which leads me to my next two points:
* you cannot prove a negative (this is a big one, so you might want to re-read it)
* your tone is overly emotional and inflammatory, something that at once weakens your points and makes me not like you very much
I don't see why people would expect a business to be run in a method that yields no tangible benefits (why does amazon or penguin want you to share books?), but could have consequences (reduced sales).
Sometimes it seems like people are shocked when companies act in their best interests. It's very strange.
And that maybe we should care.
You are a human with free will. You can choose to do whatever you think is ethical and rational. If you think it's ethical to give books to other people, and you aren't going to suffer for it, then why aren't you doing it? I think it's really weird that we can sit here on Hacker News and talk about these arbitrary restrictions that Amazon has made as if they are actually restricting something. They are restrictions in name only.
If people are willing to give up their right to loan books in exchange for the convenience of eBooks, it sounds more like an exchange of freedom for convenience. But that's a choice people make, which is something I can't get too worked up over.
I also don't buy an argument that paper books are going away any time soon. There are huge swaths of people 40-and-up who will never read ebooks (and I suspect that is the demographic that reads more "books" than the younger set)
Not per se. But it is withdrawal of extra freedoms/features that electronic media and the internet provide e.g. nearly-free copying and distribution and random access.
There are many possible (and legal) applications that are made impossible, even for the buyer of a book. Think e.g. of corpus linguistics, applications for automatic annotation of phrases, etc.
The media companies are trying to turn what is new and provides enormous potential benefits to the population into what is old, because it is easier to stay with old business methods than to reinvent yourself.
This just means that these attributes (sharing, copying, etc.) are not something inherent to the medium. While I agree that these restrictions can prevent cool features from being enabled, it's a stretch for me to believe I'm entitled to those features.
It also sounds like you're projecting a little onto the media companies with your last paragraph. Isn't it just as reasonable that they are clinging to old business methods because the new ones may cause their non-existence? In that sense, they are acting in rational self preservation.
They are precisely inherent to any digital medium.
That's what some find so galling. Part of the point being made here is that you need to resort to cumbersome kludges to prevent people from enjoying the opportunities that are already enabled by the medium.
For the content you want, there may one day be no alternative, but I find it unlikely. The trend through all of RMS's posturing and windbagging has been more and more free exchange of information than there ever has been.
I understand what you're saying, but I feel like I should point out that there is a very large corpus of ebooks available that are not customer-hostile. (feedbooks.com, pragprog and oreilly, etc.) In fact, the Kindle hardware works great with them. It's only content purchased from Amazon which is objectionable.
2) you are comparing "copying" text from a sheet of paper to an electronic device. that doesn't make any sense at all. people who view text on an electronic screen are used to being able to select and copy it. that was never possible, nor will it ever be with a physical paper book.
Now that I've played devil's advocate, I'm not a big fan of the technological measures that attempt to prevent piracy. I believe that the solution is pricing digital media so that it's more 'disposable' - that is, price it so cheaply that pirating and even lending is too much trouble.
Piracy hasn't slowed down.
Like you say though, likely a moot point.
Folks, this is not an Orwellian conspiracy, but rather a limitation of matter and energy which is a consequence of the tradeoffs we make when we decide to use an ereader and put all our books in one device.