Amazon's Refusal To Let Libraries Lend Ebooks Shows Why Controlled Digital Lending Is So Important

from the libraries-need-books dept

The Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler recently had a very interesting article about how Amazon won't allow the ebooks it publishes to be lent out from libraries. As someone who regularly borrows ebooks from my local libraries, I find this disappointing -- especially since, as Fowler notes, Amazon really is the company that made ebooks popular. But, when it comes to libraries, Amazon won't let libraries lend those ebooks out:

When authors sign up with a publisher, it decides how to distribute their work. With other big publishers, selling e-books and audiobooks to libraries is part of the mix — that’s why you’re able to digitally check out bestsellers like Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land.” Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. Search your local library’s website, and you won’t find recent e-books by Amazon authors Kaling, Dean Koontz or Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Nor will you find downloadable audiobooks for Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime,” Andy Weir’s “The Martian” and Michael Pollan’s “Caffeine.”

I've seen a lot of people responding to this article with anger towards Amazon, which is understandable. I do hope Amazon changes this policy. But there's a much bigger culprit here: our broken copyright laws. In the physical world, this kind of thing isn't a problem. If a library wants to lend out a book, it doesn't need the publisher's permission. It can just buy a copy and start lending it out. Fowler's correct that a publisher does get to decide how it wants to distribute a work, but with physical books, there's the important first sale doctrine, which lets anyone who buys a book go on and resell it. And that meant that in the past, libraries have never needed "permission" to lend out a book. They just needed to buy it.

Unfortunately, courts seem to take a dim view of the first sale doctrine when it comes to digital goods.

However, a few years back, some very smart librarians and copyright professors and experts got together and created a system called Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), which aimed to (1) rectify this massive gap in public access to knowledge while (2) remaining on the correct side of copyright law. In its most basic form, CDL, involves libraries buying physical copies of books (as they did in the past), scanning those books (which has already been ruled to be fair use for libraries) and then lending out that digital copy only if they had the matching physical copy on the shelf. As the libraries and copyright experts correctly note, it's difficult to argue that this is any different than lending out the copy of the book that they bought.

But, of course, publishers have always hated libraries' ability to lend out books in the first place -- and have been itching to use the power of copyright to block that. Already, they charge libraries insanely high prices for ebooks to lend, and put ridiculous limits on how those books can be lent.

So, no surprise, last year, in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, the publishers sued the Internet Archive, arguing that its Open Library project, which runs based on the CDL principles, violated copyright law. And, incredibly, a ton of people have cheered on this nonsense lawsuit -- even those who hate Amazon.

Yet, if you really want to stop Amazon from being able to block libraries from lending out ebooks, there's a simple answer: fix copyright law. Make it clear that Controlled Digital Lending is legal. Or, go even further and say that the First Sale Doctrine also applies to digital goods, as it absolutely should.

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Filed Under: controlled digital lending, copyright, digital first sale, ebooks, first sale, knowledge, libraries
Companies: amazon, internet archive


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:15am

    How would we apply the first sale doctrine to infinitely reproducible goods? Im not trying to be difficult, just curious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    TripMN, 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:21am

    I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back to paper

    One of my greatest problems with ebook publishers and they're pro-copyright advocates is they are trying to take all of the advantages of the new format and only apply them to the advantage of the writer/publisher.

    Costs almost nothing to make copies? More profit for us, no drop in price for you. Also you aren't allowed to resell it because we can make infinite copies for free.
    Easier to transport/lend? We can send it to you at no cost to us, but you can't send it on or lend it out.

    At this point, about the only benefit that the public gets out of the new format is the ability to put them all on one device that carries bookshelves worth of books -- though the ebook companies have tried (unsuccessfully) to make it so you need a different device for each publisher / ebook store.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Well, this is the key, really. I think that one thing that always put me off getting into ebooks for a long while (and I but way less books in that format than I used to buy physically) is the lack of resale value. When I bought a new book, in my mind was always the resale / exchange value I had for the book. I bought a lot of second hand books / borrowed a lot of books from libraries, and then that value was always in my mind when I bought new, even if I was only buying a discounted mass market paperback.

    But, with eBooks? No way am I paying full price for those most of the time, because I don't have the extra value of being able to resell or exchange the book when I finish. So, the books is therefore worth less to me, so I pay less, and while retailers so often refuse to put meaningful discounts on the books I'm interested in, I buy less of them.

    At the risk of diving into buzzwords, I dare say that things like non-fungible tokens and other blockchain stuff might be the answer to this. Although I'm completely opposed to DRM on purchased material it does have its place on rented material so there's some way to make it work there. But, until this is worked out, there's a good chance that publishers lose a lot of long-term market, as they lose out on a generation who never get a hold of cheap or free legal ebook rentals and resales, which certainly drove readership in my generation and previous generations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:34am

    Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back to pa

    "Costs almost nothing to make copies? More profit for us, no drop in price for you"

    Which in the real world translates as "I have to pay a full month Netflix subscription for a new "hardcover" book? OK, I'll stick with Netflix. Not a long term solution, especially if you're trying to attract potential readers who might experiment with new authors rather than just buy whatever is coming out from existing household names.

    "At this point, about the only benefit that the public gets out of the new format is the ability to put them all on one device that carries bookshelves worth of books"

    In fact, the thing that drove me to eventually buy a Kindle was the realisation that I was overpaying for books I might vaguely want to read at an airport, whereas if I came with the Kindle I could have a full selection of books I really did want to read and save a huge amount of space in my hand luggage at the same time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:36am

    Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back to pa

    You can get DRM free Ebooks/PDFs, and then any phone/tablet/computer can be used as a reader. Outside of the big publishers, the Internet is full of DRM free and free content.

    The big gatekeepers, would like to kill self publishing, hence support for attacks on 230 etc,. and strengthening copyright laws. They don't want to kill digital formats, they just want to restore their role as gatekeepers over all published content, like they had before the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 15 Mar 2021 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re:

    <quote>At the risk of diving into buzzwords, I dare say that things like non-fungible tokens and other blockchain stuff might be the answer to this.</quote>

    Fuck, why? Do you actually care whether the book comes with a certificate of authenticity? (which is exceedingly expensive in terms of energy and cargo emitted to produce) Or do you just want to read the damn book for the information contained therein?

    I can see how the fine art world got suckered into NFTs; for them it's all about provenance (and what's trendy) and zero about whether the art is actually good or enjoyable or sanely priced. But it's dumb as hell to begin with and certainly shouldn't be pushed onto the mass market, where people can get exactly as much pleasure and knowledge out of a non certified jpeg as they can from an identical but certified one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:54am

    fix copyright law. Make it clear that Controlled Digital Lending is legal

    No! We should not be pushing DRM, and it disappoints me that the Internet Archive is doing it. The idea of "borrowing" digital data is absurd, and any "fixes" to copyright law should take that into account.

    The role of a library is to get information to people. DRM exists to take it away from them, and is dependent on secrecy for its own operation. It's therefore incompatible with the mission of a library.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    “Do you actually care whether the book comes with a certificate of authenticity?”

    I don’t but it does seem to be a sticking point for some publishers who are scared of digital lending options. If the price I have to pay for borrowing a book is that they get something that tells them that they can track piracy in ok with that, even if that would never come to stopping it while they pretend most people 30 years ago were paying for every copy they read.

    I’m not saying what I think should happen for the reader, I’m saying what publishers who don’t realize that random free copies of books have always driven readership seem to think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Glenn, 15 Mar 2021 @ 12:02pm

    Don't forget, though, that it's the authors of these books choosing Amazon and its policies knowing full well what it means. You can't complain about that, right? Well, you can and will, but it's still the authors' right to do so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    while they pretend most people 30 years ago were paying for every copy they read.

    Most paper books are read by at least two people, and very often more. Read by other members of the family, lent to friends, and donated to a charity shop, where the cycle repeats.

    In my library, I have about 30 second hand books for every book that I have bought new.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    TripMN, 15 Mar 2021 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back t

    Your first paragraph undermines your second paragraph. The internet is full of things you can download onto anything -- they don't want to kill it, they just want to control it.

    I totally agree with your statement that they want control, but they can't control it even with the current status of copyright, so they'll have to neuter it until its dead or so useless that people have to go back to the old way in which they are the gatekeepers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go ba

    If the gate keepers take control over all published works, they will have killed of self publishing, as thing will only be publishable if they say it can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back t

    Outside of the big publishers, the Internet is full of DRM free and free content.

    With the exception of Macmillan, whose Tor science-fiction imprint is 100% DRM-free in all online stores.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 2:24pm

    "Lending" digital information doesn't make a lick of sense

    It's absurd that smart people have to waste their time designing ways to ritually mimic lending a physical book on a computer to work around perverse copyright laws, instead of doing something actually useful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 2:33pm

    'They only need to pay once and it's theirs? Not happening!'

    As has been noted many times in the past if libraries were not already long entrenched in society there would be no way in hell they would have been allowed to flourish or even exist in the modern world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 2:41pm

    Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back to pa

    At this point, about the only benefit that the public gets out of the new format is the ability to put them all on one device that carries bookshelves worth of books -- though the ebook companies have tried (unsuccessfully) to make it so you need a different device for each publisher / ebook store.

    Not quite, probably the biggest benefit is the self-publishing one where would-be authors who never would have been published under the traditional gatekeeper run system are now able to not just share their works but make some money off of it too.

    When publishing required a hefty investment in space, materials and hardware only a select few were willing and able to do so, and as a result they were in a position of deciding the terms of who got published and how, but with digital it's easy for anyone to set up shop with minimal work, devastating that choke-hold that those gatekeepers had and vastly undermining their ability to set terms and decide who does and does not get published, which in turn has resulted in a much wider and richer literary field.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 2:56pm

    Re: 'They only need to pay once and it's theirs? Not happening!'

    Of course. Think about the reaction they'd get:

    "People can consume our goods for free and then put them back without paying for it? What is this, COMMUNISM?!?!?!?!?!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Rekrul, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go back t

    I haven't looked at it in years, so I don't know if it's still active, but I used to regularly browse a Usenet newsgroup that was devoted to X-Files fanfic. Some of the stories approached the length of short novels and many of them rivaled anything that was published under license through official channels. Sure, some of it was crap, but I used to have some really good stories. Sadly, I lost a bunch of them and Google has so f**ked up the Usenet archive that they bought from Deja News that I now consider it unusable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Rekrul, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    How would we apply the first sale doctrine to infinitely reproducible goods? Im not trying to be difficult, just curious.

    That's easy, you just write software to intentionally BREAK the normal functioning of computers and other electronic devices.

    It's like walking into McDonald's and asking to use the WiFi and they require you to plug in a USB device that will drain your battery twice as fast. Or you rent a car and they chain a 1,000lb weight to the back to make sure that your mileage sucks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Rekrul, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:46pm

    This reminds me, I need to go borrow some air...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Michael, 15 Mar 2021 @ 4:47pm

    Piracy is the answer

    Getting a Master's in Library & Information Science meant learning a lot about the idiocy built in to our copyright laws, and made me 100% not care about piracy.

    Libraries (and therefore users and taxpayers) are constantly getting shit on by publishers and aggregators, and Congress -- and the Librarian of Congress -- do jack shit because they're 100% owned by the publishing companies.

    I teach people to safely pirate all the time, and recommend it to everyone, for everything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 15 Mar 2021 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don’t but it does seem to be a sticking point for some publishers who are scared of digital lending options. If the price I have to pay for borrowing a book is that they get something that tells them that they can track piracy in ok with that

    Well, I hate to break it to them, but NFTs won't help with that in the least. Pirates are the people who most could not care about an NFT because they are going for the content, not the certificate. And if you say that the certificate would be looked for, then it sounds like you've invented DRM with extra steps. Why would it suddenly start working?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 15 Mar 2021 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we go ba

    I hear that the Internet Archive got some Usenet backups but I haven't managed to get it working. Deja News was really fantastic, though.

    Anyway, there is a decent shot that someone archived the group to a website so don't give up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    R.H. (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In the case of ebooks, the NFT would be your "proof of purchase" that a reseller would require (assuming that the reseller cared at all about copyright) if they wanted to buy your copy to sell on to yet another person.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    John Mitchell (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 7:28pm

    The first sale doctrine (and Section 109 of the Copyright Act) ensures that copies these works can be passed around indefinitely from one person to another without the consent of the copyright owner. Unfortunately, it only applies to a lawfully made "copy" -- a material object in which the work has been fixed. When that material object is a hard drive of cloud server, you can't really pass around the portion containing the bits of that particular work. I am co-inventor of a method for digitally lending content without reproduction (Patent No. 10,338,827) and of Digitally transferring content across media without reproduction (No. 10,635,328). These patents would permit digital lending without needing the consent of the copyright owner, since the reproduction right is not infringed. It's a real shame that in the world of digital accessibility, the selection of movies to watch is far less than what a well run video store would have offered. Streaming services offer only a small fraction of the movies a typical video store would have carried. Libraries used to be able to lend books until the cover fell off, and then re-bind them and keep on lending. Now, the need the publishers's permission to keep lending. It is important that we allow the benefits of the first sale doctrine to continue to flow in the age of digital delivery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Boba Fat (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 9:01pm

    Re: first sale doctrine?

    I've pondered a three-step process: 1. Register the work with the Library of Congress or equivalent, 2. Collect a fee on the sale of all writable media, 3. Distribute a percentage of that fee to the author of the work, based on how often it's shared or downloaded.

    That last step needs some work, though. How would you track it? There are many preferred sources for digital goods - Amazon, publishers, Play Stores, Project Gutenberg - which would account for the majority of copies. Maybe they'd just publish their stats?

    And you'd need some way to detect and discourage plagiarism or fraud, while still allowing derivative works. But if I was going to read a novel or a news article, I'd prefer to get the provably original version from a reliable source, and PKI works well for that. So that's probably not as big a challenge as trying to prevent all copying, which is what we have now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Most paper books are read by at least two people, and very often more"

    Exactly. People lend books between each other all the time, they sell them, exchange them or give them away and while nobody can know exactly what journey a book has taken, many of them spend decades passing from reader to reader.

    If you lose this from the equation just because the book is in a new format, you've potentially lost a lot of readers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You miss the point, I think. The point raised was tracking the original copy in line with the first sale doctrine, which is expressly what NFTs are about. If that's the hurdle publishers need to get over in order to allow lending, then that seems to be the most relevant current solution.

    Pirates are irrelevant to the argument, since they're pirating whether or not books are allowed to be rented.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:08pm

    Re:

    "it's the authors of these books choosing Amazon and its policies"

    Yes, and they're choosing to allow books on the largest market in the world, which host a huge number of potential customers, rather than lose those customers in order to make a point. In the same way they have always chosen whether to offer books to certain retailers whether or not they agree with the policies surrounding the way they sell books. The only difference now is they some authors have a wider range of options if they're not choosing to go through a traditional publisher.

    "You can't complain about that, right? Well, you can and will, but it's still the authors' right to do so."

    Free speech is funny like that. Authors can write a book and make business decisions, everyone else can offer an opinion on that book, how it's sold and everything else surrounding it. The same rights cover all parties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we g

    Which is of course part of the aim. Imagine being able to legally kill off 90%+ of your competition and force new talent to use you to get their works published. Whichever part of the entertainment industry you're talking about, that something the legacy corporate giants dream about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: first sale doctrine?

    Your proposal is laborious, especially considering the number of authors making some money by building a fan base, either via publishing platforms, or through their own website. You also have to consider that most authors will never make a living from writing new works, just like most musicians do not make a living from music.

    Also, there are more works published in an hour than the middlemen publishers would accept for publication in a year. That and tracking all downloads and calculating payments would tax a system like Googles search engine, never mind a government agency. What would more likely result is another collection agency where the Income goes to the big names who need it least, and most authors lose same fan support because people would think that they are getting a share of the media tax, when they are not..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 4:35am

    Re:

    method for digitally lending content without reproduction

    Where you have just reinvented streaming with drm and limited local storage, which is use by some video streaming services for the webs favourite type of content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    nasch (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    The idea of "borrowing" digital data is absurd

    So you don't want them to lend out ebooks. That means they would have to give them away. They can't afford to purchase and then give away copies, so you're suggesting they should buy a copy of a book, and give away unlimited copies of it online? How long do you think they could last before they got sued out of existence doing that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    TripMN, 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But its not about the readers or the information sharing, silly. It's about the money! Don't forget about the poor poor starving writers and the money they should be making from every word that goes into an eyeball and is processed by a brain. If they could charge per word read, just think of the profits!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    TripMN, 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: first sale doctrine?

    Canada has at least prong 2 of your system and has had it for more than a decade (I'm not sure when it was put in place since am American). They taxed all electronic media (writable CDs/DVDs, USBs, HDs) with a specific amount that was collected to be distributed to artists due to piracy concerns. Maybe go see how that worked out for everyone and report back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    nasch (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    Unfortunately, it only applies to a lawfully made "copy" -- a material object in which the work has been fixed.

    Citation needed. I see no mention that the copy must be a physical object.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/109

    I am co-inventor of a method for digitally lending content without reproduction

    I don't believe you. Once you send that content somewhere else, it isn't the same bits, even if you deleted it at the original source at the same time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:10am

    Re: Piracy is the answer

    "I teach people to safely pirate all the time"

    Your solution to a system that unfairly favours corporate publishers at the expense of independent authors is to tell people never to give any money to independent authors, and to bolster the ideas that prevent digital lending from being widely discussed as an option?

    I hope you understand the flaws in your plan here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    "It's a real shame that in the world of digital accessibility, the selection of movies to watch is far less than what a well run video store would have offered. Streaming services offer only a small fraction of the movies a typical video store would have carried"

    I'm not sure which video stores you went to, but I'm jealous of the massive palaces you must have been visiting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Rekrul, 16 Mar 2021 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so we g

    I hear that the Internet Archive got some Usenet backups but I haven't managed to get it working. Deja News was really fantastic, though.

    I liked that it would show you the results like a newsreader and there was the option to view an entire thread on one page. Then Google bought it and suddenly you could only see 3-5 results on a page depending on your screen resolution. You could only view a portion of a thread in some weird tree view. The first search you did hid "similar" results, which in practice meant it would hide the original message and show you the replies. Everything was sorted in order of relevance rather than in chronological order. They masked all email addresses despite the fact that people already did that and when they didn't, it's because they wanted people to be able to email them.

    I emailed them at the time and made a bunch of suggestions, but they never implemented any of them. They took something fundamentally different than the web and forced their web search interface on it, ruining it in the process. I used to visit Deja News almost every day. I haven't even looked at "Google Groups" in years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Rekrul, 16 Mar 2021 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    Your solution to a system that unfairly favours corporate publishers at the expense of independent authors is to tell people never to give any money to independent authors, and to bolster the ideas that prevent digital lending from being widely discussed as an option?

    I hope you understand the flaws in your plan here.

    What's the solution then? Trying to get copyright law changed to something more fair is like pissing into the wind. If you're not prepared to throw millions of dollars at politicians to get them to vote the way you want them to, your opinion literally doesn't matter to them. You could present the government with a petition signed by 300 million people (almost the entire population of the country) in favor of more equitable copyright laws and it would go straight into the nearest trash can unless it also came with a shipping crate full of cash.

    Steamboat Willie is officially set to become public domain (if it isn't already) on January 1st, 2024. You can bet your ass that before that date comes up, Disney will be in front of Congress begging for another copyright extension. You can also bet your ass that the government will give it to them. If not for Steamboat Willie, they will most definitely, abso-frigging-lutely be there before 2025 which is when the copyright on later versions of Mickey Mouse expire. There is no way in hell that Disney is going to let that happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    "What's the solution then?"

    Encourage sales and other legal and moral uses of those works that have been sold, accepting that there will be a non-zero number of people who will never pay - as it has always been. No change to copyright is required, the problem is the corporate dominance of the industry mentioned above - which is best dealt with by supporting independent authors.

    That's certainly better than the "never pay anyone" solution suggested above. Do you have a problem with this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Don't forget about the poor poor starving writers and the money they should be making..."

    Especially the dead ones. Consider that people like Tolkien, James Joyce and Graham Greene have no other source of income. Any criticism of copyright surely advocates stealing the bread right from out of their mouths.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    "That's easy, you just write software to intentionally BREAK the normal functioning of computers and other electronic devices..."

    Oh, the Sony Rootkit, you mean?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: first sale doctrine?

    "I've pondered a three-step process: 1. Register the work with the Library of Congress or equivalent, 2. Collect a fee on the sale of all writable media, 3. Distribute a percentage of that fee to the author of the work, based on how often it's shared or downloaded. "

    It's not exactly a good solution - and we know this because, well, it exists in the form of levies in a few places in europe. There's a wiki entry on "Private copying levy" which covers this.

    It has not exactly turned out well. The usual result has been levy collector agencies who refuse to show how much they've collected, how much they've distributed, and how much they skim off the top for "administrative costs". On top of an ever increasing overreach on what constitutes "writable media", with hard drives, SD cards and smartphones now carrying that levy in many places. Resulting in no few smart individuals simply purchasing blank media - USB drives, SD cards and SSD's - in bulk from China and other places which do not charge that levy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I wonder if they are trying to kill them so

    "Imagine being able to legally kill off 90%+ of your competition and force new talent to use you to get their works published."

    One of the many reasons people choose to don the tricorn hat én másse and sail blithely off to the bay singing 🎵"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me..."🎵 with a clean conscience.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: 'They only need to pay once and it's theirs? Not happeni

    "Think about the reaction they'd get"

    You only have to think about the reaction the first ideas of public libraries did get from the publishing houses then defending copyright maximalism; "If anyone can go and read books for free there'll be no incentive for authors! No one will ever write a novel again!! The sky is falling! Culture is dead!"

    In fact not a whole lot different from the spiel contemporary copyright maximalists holler from the rooftop about how piracy will mean the end of culture, disregarding the fact most of the high points of human culture emerged under a copyright-free era.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    "Your solution to a system that unfairly favours corporate publishers at the expense of independent authors is to tell people never to give any money to independent authors..."

    Strictly speaking that's not what he said.

    I can think of any number of titles, books, and media that I've paid for and downloaded later on anyway;

    If I've already bought records of a song in form of vinyl, tape cassette and CD then I'm not inclined to pay yet again for the privilege of obtaining the mp4 or FLAC version of it.

    I've bought any number of games...but the copy I install will always be the one with a noCD crack or neutered DRM. Which usually crashes less and works faster anyway.

    I used to be an avid reader of hardcopy books but I'll be damned if i pay yet again for the .pdf and ebook versions of the Bigglesworth and Foundation series.

    The fact that according to the copyright cult I'm a horrible pirate unless I pay every damn time I format shift - and in Sweden, have to pay a steep levy on all my blank media to "compensate" for my fair use...well, there are other reasons but if I had to mention the most major reasons I have a clean conscience visiting the bay, these rank high among them.

    "...to bolster the ideas that prevent digital lending from being widely discussed as an option?"

    The new public library is more or less bittorrent anyway. Has been for many years.
    While I agree that creative artists should be encouraged and sponsored to do their work, any solution which involves tallying and charging for individual copies of a given work is unsustainable, simply because it involves trying to render each copy unique by way of measures which are intrusive and must function by way of usurping control over the private physical property of unaffiliated people.

    Thus another way must be found which doesn't try to flag parts of other people's property with ownership tags, the way all DRM does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    "No change to copyright is required, the problem is the corporate dominance of the industry mentioned above..."

    Actually, yes. As long as humans are human, copyright as written will always produce a large industry of con men and frauds eager to abuse it. There are fundamental issues with copyright as a concept in and of itself.

    You can not build anything worthwhile out of an information control tool. Censorship and heresy law doesn't improve just because the executive levers are left in the hands of private stakeholders rather than governments and churches.

    Copyright needs to be split in two and reformulated into; The right of origin/authorship - which is the natural right of an Author to stand as creator of a work. This is best tacked on as part of trademark law.

    And the right to charge a fraction of any commercial exploitation of a work. Which may not support a burgeoning industry of middlemen but should suffice to provide the few chosen artists among the many called with a living.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Rekrul, 17 Mar 2021 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    Encourage sales and other legal and moral uses of those works that have been sold, accepting that there will be a non-zero number of people who will never pay - as it has always been. No change to copyright is required, the problem is the corporate dominance of the industry mentioned above - which is best dealt with by supporting independent authors.

    You don't see a problem with the fact that NOTHING published today will become public domain until after everyone alive at the publication date is dead? Or that copyright will probably be extended at the behest of Disney and Hollywood to be even longer? Or that copyright can make digital works vanish? Or that copyright licensing is such a twisted mess that it can keep works unavailable even when companies want to offer them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    I'm slightly different than you: I'd happily pay again for an audiobook or eBook of a Paper Book-on the condition that the eBook or audiobook is free of DRM. Otherwise I don't buy them and only purchase the paper book, which we all know is DRM-free by default.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    Reread my comments again - I've said absolutely nothing about copyright. My comment was to the person who thinks that pirating from independent authors is a good way to stop corporate dominance of the lending system.

    Do you have any objections to the words I actually said?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    YMMV.

    "I'd happily pay again for an audiobook or eBook of a Paper Book-on the condition that the eBook or audiobook is free of DRM."

    But how many times? I have ABBA's old records on vinyl (bought and paid for), on cassette tape (bought and paid for), and on CD (bought and paid for).

    Then Björn Ulvéus went out and lambasted his fans as filthy pirates for downloading and well, he did get his wish. I can no longer hear their music without sour notes creeping in so I don't listen to them at all any longer. Thus die childhood idols.

    Also, when the digital version usually costs more than the physical copy? That's when I look at every other industry which usually has to justify price hikes based on production cost and tell myself there's no way I'll sponsor the entitled farcical shit-show of special snowflakes who believe that storytelling and singing should be a limited and controlled substance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    nasch (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    I've said absolutely nothing about copyright.

    Here is what you said about copyright: "No change to copyright is required".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy is the answer

    Yes, no change to copyright is required to have ways to bypass the corporate controlled lending system without ripping off independent authors.

    So, what's the problem?

    Changes to copyright would be nice and they should be considered, but that was not the conversation. The dumbass above was not saying "pirate the works unfairly pushed by the current copyright system", he was saying "pirate everything". You don't need to change copyright to support independent authors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    LR, 31 Mar 2021 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re:

    I don't believe you. Once you send that content somewhere else, it isn't the same bits, even if you deleted it at the original source at the same time.
    It's actually worse than that. The question of what constitutes a digital copy is highly subjective. After all, from a strictly literal standpoint, any time you view that file you have stored on your hard drive, it has to be copied into your video memory. Any safe network transmission involves buffering data, which means multiple copies of data within the machines' architectures at both ends of the transmission. If standard equipment is used anyhow. There was a lot of discussion of how this was going to be interpreted when DMCA was being debated. The thing about it being a semantic and legal argument rather than one that can be interpreted from a logically intuitive standpoint means two thing:

    1. A patent of the sort discussed could only truly be implemented if media is restricted to being read by proprietary devices. No reading ebooks on your PC or cell phone.
    2. Any attempt to work within the system with regard to digital copyright is so completely at the mercy of the courts that a single high profile case can undo decades of work, simply by reinterpreting the key points.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    LR, 31 Mar 2021 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re:

    There is significant truth to this. Not so much in terms of sheer volume as the nature of content provided. Streaming services have always pushed content producers for exclusive rights. Meaning most films you see on Netflix can't be viewed on Amazon Prime at that point in time. The contracts usually expire and the content gets passed around. And On-Demand TV services are classified differently than streaming providers, but the marketplace is highly fragmented. Meaning a video store could be expected to have most high profile releases at the point of release to video. While any one streaming service only carries a fraction of high profile new releases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Alice, 31 Mar 2021 @ 12:30pm

    How is CDL illegal?

    I don't see where the publishers re getting their legal power from. Internet Archive have explained what Controlled Digital Lending is, and how the physical copy of the book becomes locked if the eBook is loaned. I read a lot of American titles that cannot be found in the UK without great expense. With Internet Archive's Open Library, I can borrow these titles for a short period of time. (Despite loving books, I don't have endless space.)

    These publishers just need to mind their own business.

    As for Amazon...Well, they just need to go jump in a lake and stay there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. icon
    PaulT (profile), 31 Mar 2021 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That just depends on what your interests are, though. In terms of sheer numbers, no physical video store could possibly hold the number of titles that a streaming video store could hold. If your interests are in independent, foreign or older /more obscure catalogue titles then you have access to way more than a physical store could ever provide, and in fact it's not uncommon for "lost" films or titles never before released in the West to suddenly pop up for the film fan. If your interests only go as far so looking that the handful of titles that major studios are pushing that week, you're going to have a problem sticking to a single source.

    There's a problem with fragmentation of the market, exclusives on certain platforms, etc., but there's definitely no problem with the amount of titles available on each individual service, unless your tastes are narrow enough that you won't even bother with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    Tuppence (profile), 3 Apr 2021 @ 9:31am

    CDL

    Why not use Public Lending Rights like Australian libraries do to compensate
    Writers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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