Most people don’t realise that their expensive ebooks are not actually theirs, but are actually merely rented or perhaps better said, leased to them.
As the recent case of the lady in Norway has highlighted yet again, (see below for link to that story) we do not own our ebooks, we merely have a license to read them but ownership remains firmly with the copyright holder and the online store your paid good money to for the ebook. This means, as Amazon so inelegantly demonstrated to the world it has the legal power to remove all your ebooks from your ereader at any time, without comment and certainly no repayment for the money you spent on buying them.
This of course as far as I know, only applies to ebooks that have the dreaded DRM protection (protection against illegal copying that means) and the origins of this weird situation lie in the fact that an ebook is nothing more than a digital file, exactly the same as the software you use on your computer, which, by the way, if you read the terms and conditions when you instal any new software, you will see it is also only a license to use, not proper and full ownership, that remains with the owner of the program, not you. But I have never heard of any software company removing software from customers computers.
Given that more and more ereader users are not necessarily computer literate, and with most modern ereaders having no need of a computer, it is absurd to imagine that they will understand this strange idea of licensing rather than full ownership. And are thus in the happy illusion that the ebooks on their ereader actually belong to them. As has been pointed out by quite a few bloggers in the last few days, Amazon, and most online ebook sellers use terms such as “1-click buy“, or “buy this ebook” and similar, all of which encourages people to imagine that they are actually buying the ebook in question… Nowhere will you see a button saying something like “buy the license now” or anything that would make you realise you are merely renting the ebook, not buying it.
This is tantamount to being misleading, and it seems to me that it is high time that this whole sorry mess was sorted out by our esteemed governments on the grounds of unfair trading and misleading advertising, if nothing else.
I have given a lot of thought to this matter, and still can find no compelling logical reason for its existence.. If it is somehow intended to stop illegal copying of ebooks, how does it do that? Any fool can “rent” an ebook from Amazon or wherever, copy it instantly (having removed the DRM protection, which is a simple matter), and then distribute the ebook at will, so it is a definite fail as far as preventing illegal copying. Otherwise I simply can’t think of any reason why we should be lumbered with this ludicrous and totally unfair situation.
Link to post about this: Amazon “steal” Customer’s ebooks
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Do you have any idea why we have to license rather than buy our ebooks, and can you think up a reason why this practice should not be declared illegal and stopped?