HarperCollins' absurd plan to pawn off limited ebooks to libraries

richardcadler's picture

HarperCollins stirred up a hornet's nest yesterday with a crazy DRM scheme that would allow a e-book to be lent 26 times, but no more.

Librarians, needless to say, have been less than pleased by this idea, and there has been a flood of blog posts decrying it over the past couple of days. Here's a sampling:

BoingBoing
ReadWriteWeb
Slashdot
Librarian By Day
Librarian in Black
Library Renewal, part one
Library Renewal, part two
Wizzyrea
Olivia Waite
David Lee King
La De Da
Go to Hellman
Free Range Librarian
Information Activist
Christina's LIS Rant
Tales from Indiana

Proving yet again, that you just don't want to stir up librarians.

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richardcadler's picture

And now the inevitable talk

And now the inevitable talk of a boycott, which seems unlikely to be an effective response, as this other post by the Analog Divide points out.

richardcadler's picture

E-Book Users Bill of Rights

One interesting byproduct of the flap over the HarperCollins lending cap:

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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

richardcadler's picture

And apparently, a boycott of

And apparently, a boycott of sorts against HarperCollins is on, but Loose Cannon Librarian's account and explanation of it just leads me to think this is now a very messy situation without any truly acceptable options.

Hard to say how this will resolve itself, but a boycott still seems like not quite the right response (though I'm at a loss to say what else librarians could try at this point).

richardcadler's picture

And still more on this 1)

richardcadler's picture

1) Boycott? A Bad Idea 2) An

richardcadler's picture

Cory weighs in

With a piece pointing out that Durability is a feature not a bug.

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