Sunday, March 23, 2008

In the age of ebooks, you don't own your library - Boing Boing:

Reporting on a Science and Technology Law Review article about copyright and ebooks, Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan has written a great piece on the way that hardware ebook readers (Kindle, Sony Reader) run on stores that only license -- instead of selling -- books to you, even though they encourage you to think of the books as a purchase, saying things like "buy it now for the Kindle!" Books that you own can be loaned, re-sold and given away, and the ongoing health of the book trade and reading itself relies on this -- how many of your favorite writers did you discover at a used bookstore, or when a friend passed you a copy of a book?

It's funny that in the name of protecting "intellectual property," big media companies are willing to do such violence to the idea of real property -- arguing that since everything we own, from our t-shirts to our cars to our ebooks, embody someone's copyright, patent and trademark, that we're basically just tenant farmers, living on the land of our gracious masters who've seen fit to give us a lease on our homes.