Date: 01 May, 2011
Posted by: admin
Initial musings on UK copyright law in response to a piece of the negatives of ebook readers.
I came across this statement in a comment attached to a post about reasons not to buy an ebook reader.
3. Software upgrades or obsolesence could force you to buy your library all over again
Copyright law [here in the UK] should be changed to enshrine format shifting and to ensure that purchase of a copy allows a person to use a copy of the work, not just the specific physical instance. Just as one might make a DVD backup to allow one to keep a pristine original of your toddlers favourite (which is currently unlawful in the UK) one could retain a backup of an ebook in case you lose the device. Or in case you need to change to a new device you could run a format change operation on the ebook allowing you to still enjoy it with your new device.
Thus one could download all ones already owned paper books and be protected against claims of copyright infringement. Similarly once a purchase was made that ebook could be acquired for (nearly) free again should one suffer loss of the physical instance.
It would also mean that the price of an ebook rendering would be anchored down with the price of an existing paper copy – want the ebook, buy the paper version and format shift to the ebook. You would be effectively licensed to download the ebook (if it exists) or make your own copy for use on your device (which you could also pass on to those who own the right to use the work). You wouldn’t need to destroy the paper copy as long as it was kept as a backup, ie not loaned out or used when the ebook was being used.
This would move licensing in the right direction, to spread knowledge.
( E&OE. Probably big holes in this, it is not a full consideration as yet just my initial musings).