Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Time Machine Investigates the First-sale Doctrine

The Time Machine Investigates the First-sale Doctrine

Talk about being on the horns of a dilemma. As a publisher, I know there are far too many pirated versions of what I publish freely available to anyone who wants to spend a few seconds searching. Do I want to make it even easier to share? On the other hand, as a consumer I want to own, and lend, what I buy. The music industry seems to have resigned itself to this. If I buy music online, I download it and for all intents and purposes own it. I can burn it to a CD, or it send as an email attachment. Movies, too, are like music. Should I buy a DVD, I can lend it like a book, although I'm more likely to rent a movie online than buy and download it.

EBooks, as we know, aren't nearly as consumer friendly. Amazon keeps everyone imprisoned its inaptly named 'walled garden.' And while there's limited sharing within the Amazon and B&N universes, it's not true sharing. And I really don't understand the limitations on library lending. It seems the controls are similar to those for print books; a library can only lend as many copies as it has rights. Once the ebook limit is reached, I go on a waiting list, just as for print books.

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