E-Book Rant

By Cheri Marie

I admit I was late to the game when it came to e-books and copyrighted material and how the ricochet effects the public domain and financially secures the large publishing houses/Amazon and the like. I stubbornly refused to give up my paperbacks/hardcovers, as I was in love with snuggling into my recliner with book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Two Christmas’ ago I received a Kindle 3G, hence my immersion into the world of e-books, which also brought me to the forums on Amazon.com. My pragmatic and practical/common-sense-self struggled to grasp the emerging controversy concerning purchases from authors via the Kindle way.

The arguments, either for or against, were raging as to why, a person would pay multiple times for the use of the same book. I finally got it. When you purchase an e-book you really do not own it. If I wanted to loan out or give the book away to someone else I had to purchase it again! Which I did, as a friend was out of work so I bought more copies of several different e-books I had purchased previously and sent them to him via email. Shaking my head in disbelief, it reminded me of the days of the Mobsters in my city of Las Vegas Nevada, of which this racket called e-books was reminiscent of the shakedowns those criminals were famous for. Read about the authors guild here.

My feelings or beliefs on this subject came to a head one day about a year ago on Facebook. I was part of a group of reviewers on a page called Literary Escapism. This page was run by a woman, whose name escapes me, but her views do not. We got into a tussle one night concerning her belief that you must purchase e-books multiple times to support your favorite authors as they need to be paid as much as possible for their work. Excuse me?? She was referring to not being able to share books any more because they were now e-books that are downloaded and not bought at a book store, and that again, I do not own the e-book in which I paid a little less than the price in a retail box store.

So we were at the mercy of Amazon and the publishing houses that are now forcing people to buy these e-books which are encrypted so you cannot share the file. Of course I HAD to go there! My reasoning was that before the invention of e-books, a person bought a paperback/hardcover and the book was a physical entity that you owned outright. It appears that I do not own any of my digital content and cannot even pass them on to my children. I could have saved said book for years! Or, sell it at a garage sale, rummage sale for a charity, give it away because I can no longer stand the sight of it, throw it out, use it as toilet paper or whatever the hell I wanted to. It was purchased once and once was enough, thank you very much! Why in God’s green earth would I be obligated to buy the same book over and over again simply because it is no longer a physical entity! And here in lies the rub where DRM’s are concerned.

The publishing houses used Amazon to outsource the DRM’s on each e-book making them software, thereby buying the license to use rather than own. By doing this the publishes handed a monopoly to Amazon.

I found this article and not only does it explain Amazon’s choke hold over us all, but at the end of the article I read that things might be looking up.

Finally this woman got the hint, that no matter where her argument went in favor of this insanity that she should would not win the day with me. Through the next couple of days she deleted everything I posted even posts that did not concern the debate we had. I finally got the hint and removed myself from her page and moved on with my life.

There would be many an Amazon forum friend who would feel the same as she did. I was shocked but I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Most of my thread friends were much younger than myself, so I put their reasoning down to youth coupled with the fact they were too young to remember having held a physical book let alone paid for books themselves. I have gone round and round on this debate with several people over the last couple of years and from what I have gleaned from reading on the net this craziness has taken on legs that are so huge that will now impact everything we buy.

The large electronics companies are not going to allow the resale of their electronics, that you purchased new, and then resell them either online or in garage/rummage sales. In other words, you will not be allowed to resell your phones, tv’s, Ipads, laptops etc. etc. Sony was taken to court in the EU over trying to stop the resale of its purchased digital games. If you scroll down to the comments the argument rages. I had read a comment somewhere else that Sony was thinking about “taking us down the yellow brick road” here in the States as well.

This new corporate greedy thought process was brought on by e-books and how can we screw the consumer six ways from Sunday. Thanks Ammy!!!

Not only do you not own any of your digital music, movies or e-books outright, but your accounts can be wiped at any time from the company who holds the rights to your account that holds all your digital purchases. Say Amazon decides it no longer wants your money for whatever reason. It can send you a notice saying your account has been wiped, your content removed and you are never allowed to purchase from them again! I had no idea my purchases were merely rentals! Remind me to really read the fine print before I sign up for anything ever again please.

I then met my new BFF GenX while all of this new information on e-books was rolling around in my head. To say she enlightened me as to what exactly is going on in the internet world is putting it mildly.
I became immersed in everything internet, including her valiant fight for the public domain. I learned that people will try to claim a copyright on a movie when they had no claim or legitimate reason to claim it in the first place. All of this for a fast buck. She works tirelessly to stop the shrinking of the public domain along with attorney’s who will most likely not make a dime for months of work per case. Duke Law here.

 Everything is changing so rapidly where the internet is concerned that very soon we will wake up to an internet that no longer has free anything! This is what the corporations want, no free for you or me. If your child needs to do research you will have to pay for it and through the nose. This is why GenX and everyone else here does the work that they do.

The fact checking on copyrights for online books or a movie that they upload for all of you is constant and never ending. The search for a certain copyright is mind numbing where the site IA is concerned. http://archive.org/

Another site that Gen and others work on is Cinema Vintage.

“This retro channel is a non-profit made from the public domain here, they make no money and never let a false claim go undisputed.” This pretty much says it all. This channel gets hit with false copyright claims as well as the Internet Archive and Gen spends upward of 20 hours per week per each site. Each site/channel has the most amazing short/silent films, including films made in the late 1800’s. Cinema Vintage has videos giving instructions on what to do if someone makes a false copyright claim. I will leave you a few links on this subject.

Fair Use Stanford
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Complete Guide To Fair Use/Youtube: Social Times
Fair Use Tube.org

I was ranting about all of this the other day while on Skype with Gen and she said to me, Write it down. So, here it is for what it is worth, just appreciate the ones who work so hard behind the scenes to give you books and movies and all the hours that go into giving you a little respite, by either giving you something for free when you could not have afforded otherwise, or if it is just for pleasure at the end of your hard and stressful day.

I know, I vented plenty, but my main focus was merely to enlighten and for all of you to understand me a little better and my journey into the tech world,  and the fact that my computer skills were sorely lacking. Ha, Gen can verify this! I’m am now trying to get caught up and achieve a better understanding of everything digital.

It reminds me of the days wayyy back when I used to enter data for 3 major banks in Chicago. I’m talking about programming punch cards on drums to enter installment loans people! That’s how long ago this was. Computers and I never got along, I was fired from this job because the massive computer that ran and read these cards hated me. Whenever I was in the ice cold computer room this stupid machine would start spitting out thousands of cards at me. Needless to say this happened too often and I was history! Computers and I have had bad mojo towards one another and they tend to freeze up or shut down, including debit card readers at your local stores. So, I’m trying hard and hopefully computers and I can come to some sort of agreement soon.

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