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eBooks are international

Amazon's 1984 goof (deleting copies of books from Kindles without advance notice) illustrates one way technology moves faster than law. In a lot of countries, George Orwell's books are no longer protected by copyright. Apparently, the retailer who loaded 1984 and Brave New World into the Kindle store was in one of those countries. Thanks to Disney's excellent lawyers and lobbying efforts, copyright in the US lasts a lot longer than in the rest of the world.

Variable copyright is easier to enforce in selling printed books. International borders matter a lot less when selling a product that is downloaded than when selling one that is shipped or snail mailed. Right now Kindles only work in the US, but this will be interesting once Kindles and Sony Readers are downloading books wirelessly to many places in the world. If it's Amazon UK doing the selling, presumably UK copyright law will apply, and so on.

Life is about to get more interesting (or just plain complicated) for ebook sellers.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
I know e-copyright sounds like a big problem, but I don't understand why they don't just use the absolute latest date for copyright expiration (regardless of the country whose law it is) to anything published on the web?

That way, the people who lose potential income from sales aren't the copyright owners, but the vultures who want to make money from other people's work.

Just my opinion.
Sep. 5th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
Well, I would agree, but I suspect the vultures will not sit idly by. Vultures so seldom do.

Sep. 6th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Glad I got in here to read your posts on ebooks. It's on my mind lately since I've released my latest on Kindle. The Kindle user forums express a lot of unhappiness about the pricing. Little do they know how some authors' copyrights are stomped.

$9.99 (as you talked about earlier) is a ridiculously high price for something made out of air.

There are ebooks out there for a lot less. I've set $1.99 price on all my Kindle books.
Sep. 6th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
"made of air." I like that description. I actually prefer made of air books these days; I had stopped buying hardbacks even before I got my Kindle. They take too much room and cost too much money.

We live in interesting times. I just hope the new technology ends up helping authors.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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