I Thought About Getting an E-Book Reader, But I like to OWN Books, not just rent themSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

I Thought About Getting an E-Book Reader, But I like to OWN Books, not just rent them
 


23 March 2008 at 12:57:11 PM
salon

I like to read and I've been reading about e-book readers for the past few years. The idea of being able to download a book into a reader and take it everywhere, and have it function like a regular paper book has been really tempting. I haven't yet done it because a. there are some differences in e-book readers technically that make me want to wait for some better models and b. all the books I like to read aren't necessarily out in electronic form right away.

Interesting discussion here about how e-books work as far as OWNING the content that you pay for. With a book, when I finish reading it, I can put it back on the shelf, loan it to a friend, or pass it on the library. You can't do that with an e-book.

It's funny that in the name of protecting "intellectual property," big media companies are willing to do such violence to the idea of real property -- arguing that since everything we own, from our t-shirts to our cars to our ebooks, embody someone's copyright, patent and trademark, that we're basically just tenant farmers, living on the land of our gracious masters who've seen fit to give us a lease on our homes. 

In the fine print that you "agree" to, Amazon and Sony say you just get a license to the e-books???you're not paying to own 'em, in spite of the use of the term "buy." Digital retailers say that the first sale doctrine???which would let you hawk your old Harry Potter hardcovers on eBay???no longer applies. Your license to read the book is unlimited, though???so even if Amazon or Sony changed technologies, dropped the biz or just got mad at you, they legally couldn't take away your purchases. Still, it's a license you can't sell.
But is this claim legal? Our Columbia friends suggest that just because Sony or Amazon call it a license, that doesn't make it so. "That's a factual question determined by courts," say our legal brainiacs. "Even if a publisher calls it a license, if the transaction actually looks more like a sale, users will retain their right to resell the copy." Score one for the home team.


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