July 18, 2009

"Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others"

Amazon sold a couple of Orwell novels on its Kindle device. When the electronic editions turned out to be unauthorized, Amazon removed the books from customers' Kindles without their knowledge or permission. Electronic refunds were provided.

in a piece whose title I have used, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue quotes a reader:
As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.
When the Kindle came out, I said:
Not mentioned in the pitch is that the buyer pays $399 for the privilege of being subjected to Amazon's digital rights management.
This event might be the kind of glitch that is likely during a new product's shakeout period, but imagine what malicious gifted hackers could do.

Addenda 20090719. 1. For that matter, why--rhetorical question--is Orwell still under copyright?

2. Interesting thought here: what if DRM is not used to delete books, but to modify them?

It's my impression that the Victorians bowdlerized Shakespeare and other writers who offended their delicate sensibilities. Why not do the same today? For example, rewrite American classics to harmonize with Dominionism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, Afro- or Eurocentrism, etc. The Clinton administration has already insinuated propaganda into prime time programming: see here, here, and here, for example. Recall the Bellesiles case.

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