Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lending e-books is immoral

I'm linking to the Slashdot post for this story because I think a lot of the score 5 comments are pretty good; but basically somebody had the nerve to set up an e-book lending website and was almost shouted out of existence by authors.

I've talked before about the preposterousness of "loaning" electronic files.  It is a thing which does not make any sense.  Would you like to borrow this PDF file?  Most people find that statement to be a nonsense, but for some reason their common sense turns off when you replace "PDF" with "e-book" or "movie" or "mp3 file".  Madness.

But these guys were actually working with the DRM system, and still nearly got thrown off the internet, as it were.  It seems to be a natural human reflex to want to shut down web sites they don't agree with.  This is to be resisted.

Who would shout down a physical book library?  The sad thing is it was authors who did this.  People who should know better.

To paraphrase one of the Slashdot posters in the linked story, it's as if we invented automobiles, but then passed legislation that automobiles could not go faster than 15mph because they would put all the horses out of business.

Electronic files are free by their nature.  There is nothing any human can do about that.  And it is not my responsibility--nor yours--to come up with a new business model for the folks who are used to selling data on plastic discs or dead trees.  Do they worry about your ability to make a buck?

For what it's worth, I would pay for a good service that would give me access to the files I want, with good quality and speed.  But don't expect me to use your crappy spyware ridden DRM application to access them (Pandora, Spotify, Netflix, etc.).  Won't do it.  Can pirate instead.  You need to accept this.

Should piracy really be the safer option for electronic commerce?

God these people are stupid.

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