Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Who Owns eBooks you have paid for? - more

In the original post, I thought Amazon only deleted the archived copies. It turned out that those copies on customers' Kindles were also deleted remotely. That is a complete new can of worms!

Let's suppose I have bought a copy of 1984 on my Kindle and have backed it up on a local offline storage. Will the copy, I later put back on Kindle, automatically disappear as well?

I was thinking of selling my current Sony eBook reader and buy a new Kindle DX. Now I am having second thoughts.

I hoped I would have saved some trees by going digital. But I am more afraid of Big Brother than Global warming. I better keep the dead trees!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Who Owns eBooks you have paid for?

New York Times posted a story about "Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers".

Apparently, the publisher has changed its mind after selling some electronic edition of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm and decided to take back the electronic copy and refund the customers.

This causes a few questions:
1. Is electronic transaction, in this case, buying a copy of a book in electronic format, final? If yes, the customer may choose not to sell his/her copy back, or may charge a different price for selling it back. In this case, if I were the customer, I would charge the publisher $1,000,000 to buy back my copy. If not, when is the transaction final?

2. I have not read the fine print re: buying eBook from Amazon. I suppose they must have the above scenario covered. I would still challenge the legality of such product recall. At least it is morally unacceptable. From now on, I will seriously consider buying anything from Amazon.

Information lives inside a Pandora box. Once released, it cannot be taken back. What Amazon has done was to remove the archived copies. Those who have downloaded the book into their computer and have made proper backup would have copies. Will the police come knocking on these customers door?

The whole issue of copyright and Intellectual Property needs to be re-examined. To me, I prefer no copyright and intellectual property. If you like to keep something secret, like the recipe of the famous Coca Cola, keep it as a secret. Otherwise, share your information and ideas. The world would be much simpler and happier.