This is why I can't do business with Amazon

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nosystemd
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This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by nosystemd » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:34 pm

Actually I was a happy Amazon customer until they did e-books. The idea of a future where publishers control access to books after their purchase isn't something I can support, I've actually boycotted Amazon for years.

I think we need an alternative: https://www.alphr.com/business/1009730/ ... nd-arrests

Unfortunately the alternative will probably be robots instead of workers, since the only things that scale to their demands are robots and mistreated human workers. Disputed, but this kind of story keeps coming up-- I first read about it years ago. I do think a robot workforce is inevitable, I'm not excited about it, but this isn't how workers should be treated. The human workforce is broken, and it has always had major problems since the industrial revolution (or since Rome at the very least, but really longer.)

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Nitz Walsh
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Re: This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by Nitz Walsh » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:17 am

I want to sell paperback and hardcover books online but I live in Canadialand so the cost of shipping them is usually prohibitive.

I'm not a big fan of eBooks because you can forget passwords and they may or may not help you recover them. The readers can ban you from their services. And so on.

It's done wonders for self publishing though. Anyone can put out their books online, don't even need to proofread them or get them edited.
Woah Woah Tabarnac!

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Re: This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by raptor9k » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:15 pm

I love eBooks but I want DRM Free local copies I can backup to a couple cloud services I control (sortof). Physical books take up too much space and mostly do nothing but gather dust. I generally only handle physical books when I make a trip to the local library to find something new to add to the reading list.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Re: This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by nosystemd » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:49 pm

Nitz Walsh wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:17 am
I'm not a big fan of eBooks because you can forget passwords and they may or may not help you recover them. The readers can ban you from their services.
This is what bothers me the most, other than how they treat their workers. After you purchase a book, it should be yours. There shouldn't be any encryption key that is controlled by the publisher or distributor. They cant legally call something "ice cream" if it doesn't contain a certain amount of milkfat-- they shouldn't legally be able to call it "a purchase" if they retain more control over the title than the purchaser. (I would never say this if not for the existing ice cream thing, but I don't think misrepresenting a commercial good is that defensible.)

I have no problem with DRM-free ebooks, I write those myself. I generally put them under free licenses. My advice to people purchasing ebooks is only purchase the ones you can print out. Not that you'd likely want to print them out-- if you are able, then it's really yours. We need to keep first-sale doctrine. You can tell that Amazon doesn't respect it, for one because you can't give your copy (I mean transfer, not share/copy) to other people without the publisher/distributor enabling you to. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine

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Re: This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by Deacon » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:13 am

You’re purchasing a license to read the book. If you purchase a book, you’re only purchasing the ability to read the words, not the book itself to do with as you please (intellectual property). If you don’t want to have to remember a password or risk a company going under and leaving you empty handed one day in the future, but an analog version and stick it on a shelf and hope there’s never a fire or flood.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: This is why I can't do business with Amazon

Post by nosystemd » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:35 pm

Deacon wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:13 am
You’re purchasing a license to read the book. If you purchase a book, you’re only purchasing the ability to read the words, not the book itself to do with as you please (intellectual property).
This is not how copyright works, and it goes against first-sale doctrine, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2013 with Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Intellectual property for the most part, is just a bunch of words. (Of course you could say that about the Constitution as well. But it's worth mentioning that the part of the constitution-- Article I, Section 8, is not really compatible with the concept of "intellectual property" and thus Congress can't really write laws that treat copyright like property laws.)

What first-sale doctrine says is precisely that you can do what you please with the book-- with the exception of distributing copies. You can take all the pages out and sew them into a dress, if it pleases you to do so (I'm not a huge fan of defacing books, but not all art-made-from-pages offends me.) Without first-sale doctrine, the copyright holder would control your copy, too.

The reason you can't do what you want with ebooks is the anti-circumvention clause in the DMCA, which came much later. This is a ridiculous, unconstitutional provision, where the Librarian of Congress tells you what you can and can't do with your digital copies, against first-sale doctrine and also fair use. (Shifting from one device you own to another? Fair use for sure. Trading your copy with someone else? First-sale doctrine.)

Copyright was never intended to kowtow to publishers or authors-- it was meant to entice them to write so that their works would end up in the public domain:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
Copyright doesn't exist to compensate, but to encourage. And it is nothing like property rights, no matter how Jack Valenti dedicated his life to conflating the two things in his work for the MPAA.

There are benefits to copyright, but the intended benefits are mostly to contribute to a healthy public domain "the Progress of Science and usefful Arts, by securing for limited Times" (all work is intended to become public, not stay exclusive) that everyone is free to use.

DRM and DMCA put a damper on this by locking out fair use and first-sale. These are intended to be rights that consumers have, though a government that was not very savvy about digital created some really awful laws that ensured we have FEWER and smaller rights with digital works than physical ones.

Considering the freedom the internet offers in its vast potential, we should be relaxing copyright restrictions a bit, not increasing them a lot. Since the government is mostly run by corporate lobbyists, that isn't going to happen without major election reform-- probably bypassing Congress (legally) with an Article V convention. (Lessig does a talk about it at Dartmouth, worth watching. Explains a lot more than copyright.)

But the sad truth remains that-- whether it is constitutional or not (and we can actually argue that it isn't) you have fewer rights with ebooks than you do with books, because of DMCA anti-circumvention, mostly. It's a bad law, we shouldn't have it, it is regressive with the rights of all consumers-- and all readers, and it creates major problems for librarians and libraries.

One of my favourite topics. Copyright reform (and election reform) are both things I think we need for the country to be a "free country" again. We are talking late-90s that a lot of these changes took place, and before 1976 nothing was even copyrighted unless it was formally registered. The world has lost a LOT since then, with regards to copyright.

Just to be clear though-- before 1976, copyright law was pretty harmless. It was fine. It didn't affect the public that much. And when you look at the actual usage by the public, it makes sense that the laws should reflect our culture, not the unfettered greed of the film and record industry but the most reasonable practices of the average citizen. The entire concept of American copyright from the founding of the country up until 1976 or later, was the sort "balance" between owners and other citizens sought in England's "Statute of Anne," which was far more reasonable than perpetual copyright with no consumer rights.

The only time people hear about copyright formalities these days, it's from the perspective of the industry, not the constitution or the public.

I've read a couple books by Lawrence Lessig, I've spent years reading about this stuff, so none of this is really new but I will talk to pretty much anyone whose attention I can get about it.

I think Mr. Dean did a comic about how he missed the SOPA/PIPA blackout until after it happened, and that's why he didn't participate?

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