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whose ebooks?

28 Feb

I have been a proud Kindle owner since July 2008 (yes, my first generation Kindle is still going strong), so while I don’t borrow ebooks from the library, I’m a big supporter of ebooks in general.  I can’t ignore the discussion of HarperCollins’ ridiculous new ebook policies that has taken over the library blogosphere and Twitterverse.  If you haven’t read up on it yet, check out Bobbi Newman’s blog post which sums up the issues well and links to many other blog posts and articles on the subject.

What’s most concerning to me is that HarperCollins may be targeting libraries and library patrons today, but will their plan of attack hit ebook owners in the future?  The thought is horrifying.  Hopefully the collective response against HarperCollins will show other publishers that this strict route is not a good move.

Below is the eBook User’s Bill of Rights, drafted by Sarah Houghton-Jan and Andy Woodworth (I think).

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks.  I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours.  Now it is your turn to take a stand.  To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others.  Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in access, ebooks

 

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