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Sarah Houghton-Jan is the Assistant Director for the San Rafael Public Library. She runs a blog titled Librarian in Black. And Sarah Houghton-Jan is angry:

I care about digital content in libraries.  And I am about to lose my cool in a big way.  No more patience, no more waiting for advocacy groups to do their work, and certainly no more trusting vendors to negotiate good deals for us with the publishers.   I am angry, I am informed, and I am ready to fight.

The reason for Houghton-Jan’s anger is that the US publishing house HarperCollins introduced a limit of 26 lifetime uses per copy (see “Library eBook Revolution, Begin“). To be clear: per ebook copy. Such an attempt of using private licensing agreements together with Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies for controling usage is not new in the realm of electronic books (see “The Kindle Controversy“). Only the boldness of HarperCollins terms of use is. What Pamela Samuelson fears in the context of Google Books, namely that it could be treated as a “precedent” by publishers for charging libraries per-page-copying fees more generally (see “Pamela Samuelson on the Future of Books in Cyberspace“), seems now to become reality anyway.

Sarah Houghton-Jan, however, chose to not only complain but to channel her anger into an impressively productive form of protest, which recently spread all over the web: The eBook User’s Bill of Rights. The main points read as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

After Amazon had decided to give authors and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of their e-books available for the Kindle 2 (see “The Kindle Controversy: No Right to be a Reader?“), public protests were mostly directed at the US Authors Guild, which had demanded these changes. A “Reading Rights Coalition“, which represents people who cannot read print, even protested outside the Authors Guild headquarters in New York City at 31 East 32nd Street on April 7.

Yesterday, Richard M. Stallman, the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, critized these protests on the public Access-to-Knowledge (A2K) mailing list as being “directed at the wrong target”. He would rather see Amazon in the focus of critique: Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
October 2020
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