Book sales depend crucially on buzz and word of mouth (which is why authors are often sent on grueling book tours); you buy a book because you’ve heard about it, because other people are reading it, because it’s a topic of conversation, because it’s made the best-seller list. And what Amazon possesses is the power to kill the buzz. It’s definitely possible, with some extra effort, to buy a book you’ve heard about even if Amazon doesn’t carry it — but if Amazon doesn’t carry that book, you’re much less likely to hear about it in the first place.
So can we trust Amazon not to abuse that power? The Hachette dispute has settled that question: no, we can’t.
The agreement comes against the backdrop of a bitter fight between the retailer and another major publisher, Hachette. Amazon told Hachette it wanted e-books to be cheaper while also reportedly seeking a greater share of the revenue from each sale. The negotiations were widely viewed by traditional publishers as an attempt to establish a new benchmark that would increasingly diminish their roles.
Simon & Schuster, however, seems to have struck a deal it feels it can live with. It will generally be able to set its own prices for its e-books, said the person, who declined to be named. Nor does it seem to be surrendering too much on margin.
Kevin Smith, a scholarly-communications officer at Duke University, argued in a blog post that even though the publishers had revived their case, the appeals court had ruled against them on several important points:
The court agreed that potential copyright violations should be addressed on an “item by item” basis, rather than a “big picture” approach that would probably require Georgia State to purchase a “blanket license” to post e-reserve materials.
The court agreed that when evaluating whether e-reserve copying counts as fair use, it should be relevant that university libraries are nonprofit, educational institutions.
The court rejected the lower court’s “10 percent rule,” which drew a bright line on how much of a copyrighted work the university could make available free. The appellate judges instead advocated for “a more flexible approach that takes into account the amount appropriate for the pedagogical purpose.”
The court agreed that if a publisher had not made it possible for libraries to license excerpts of a copyrighted work, then libraries do not harm the market for the publisher’s products by copying the desired excerpts and making them freely available.
“These losses, which constitute the heart of what the publishers were hoping to achieve when they brought the lawsuit, are probably final,” wrote Mr. Smith.
“When intellectual property law experts cannot agree, we should not expect our history and math faculty to do justice to the fair use analysis each time. Instead, faculty will divide into two camps. One group will “throw caution to the wind” and use whatever content they wish in whatever form they desire, hoping never to raise the ire of the publishing companies. The other, out of an abundance of caution, will self-censor, and fail to make fair use of content for fear that they might step over a line they cannot possibly identify, and can never be certain of until a judge rules one way or the other. Either way, our students and the publishers lose out.”
“If memories adjust to current context when evoked, then they become a part of the developmental process rather than a record of the past. This makes studying childhood more difficult, but it refocuses us on the importance and fascination of development itself. Rather than try to relate events recalled during a specific moment of adult retrospection to an adult’s sexual desire as assessed during that moment of recall, we need to take multiple dips into a set of children’s lives to examine a wider variety of boyhoods, girlhoods, and developing identities as they emerge and evolve in real time.”
“Over the next twenty years the earth is predicted to add another two billion people. Having nearly exhausted nature’s ability to feed the planet, we now need to discover a new food system. The global climate will continue to change. To save our coastlines, and maintain acceptable living conditions for more than a billion people, we need to discover new science, engineering, design, and architectural methods, and pioneer economic models that sustain their implementation and maintenance. Microbiological threats will increase as our traditional techniques of anti-microbial defense lead to greater and greater resistances, and to thwart these we must discover new approaches to medical treatment, which we can afford, and implement in ways that incite compliance and good health. The many rich and varied human cultures of the earth will continue to mix, more rapidly than they ever have, through mass population movements and unprecedented information exchange, and to preserve social harmony we need to discover new cultural referents, practices, and environments of cultural exchange. In such conditions the futures of law, medicine, philosophy, engineering, and agriculture – with just about every other field – are to be rediscovered. Americans need to learn how to discover.”
““You should be able to buy the things that you need without risking your identity, your credit score or your savings,” Mr. Obama said during an appearance at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before signing the directive. The order requires government agencies and offices to upgrade the technologies they use to protect consumer data. That might mean using payment terminals and cards that have difficult-to-clone microchips and that use personal identification number verification.”
“Google is updating its search engine technology to make websites that violate copyright law appear lower in search results. The Internet giant announced Friday that the update will roll out next week and target websites that have been flagged multiple times for copyright infringement.”
“Imagine booting up your iPhone for the first time and seeing four competing offers for your business from different operators—with short or no contract duration. Or an even deeper integration where Apple bills you as a virtual operator and constantly shops for the cheapest connection—perfect for those who travel overseas frequently.”
“Bulk access technology is indiscriminately corrosive of online privacy and impinges on the very essence of the right guaranteed by [the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights],” Emmerson, a prominent human rights lawyer, concludes. The programmes, he said, “pose a direct and ongoing challenge to an established norm of international law.”