Really interesting article in Electronic Frontier Foundation site. The article talks about various rights issues that the user should think about before buying a digital books.
Some of the issues covered by author
Does it (your e-book reader/service/tool, etc.) protect your privacy?
Does it tell you what it is doing?
What happens to additions you make to books you buy, like annotations, highlights, commentary?
Do you own the book or just rent or license it?
Author points out the fact that when you buy these e-books you most of the time are just buying the license to the book
Many readers expect that the same rules will apply to their e-book purchases. However, electronic books have often been treated as “licensed” content, subject to legal and technical restrictions (primarily, DRM) that block readers’ ability to resell, lend, or gift an e-book. More ominously, last year Kindle readers realized that their provider (Amazon) could actually reach down into their devices and pull books from their virtual shelves
Is it burdened with digital rights management (“DRM”)?
Does it promote access to knowledge?
Does it foster or inhibit competition and innovation?
Complete article here
In a dramatic turn of events Stephen R. Covey author of the famous personal improvement book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” has given the rights of e-books to Amazon (through Rosetta Stone). The publishing rights are still will S&S. This book itself sold 136K book this year so far (Nielsen BookScan).
The new arrangement between Amazon, Rosetta stone and the author would help the authors to make money. Rossettastone apparently will pay the author 50% of what it earns from Amazon.
This is definitely going to make the already bitter war between author and publishers get even worse.Authors feel that they should get a bigger share of profit from the sale of e-books since the cost of publishing and distributing e-books is way less than the p-books.
Full story NY Times
The big debate around who owns the digital rights to the books published in pre-digital age has further intensified. Few months back a district court actually ruled in favor of the authors. But this is not going to end the debate
Major publishing houses like Random house have claimed that they own digital rights to most of their books:
“On Friday, Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, sent a letter to dozens of literary agents, writing that the company’s older agreements gave it “the exclusive right to publish in electronic book publishing formats.””
Most of the new contract that these publishing houses are doing now covers digital rights for next 15 years.
This conflict has led to rise of several business ideas/ventures that are using innovative ways to deliver the authors maximum value and trying to launch e-books for these pre-digital books. One of such company is Open Road. One of the last time someone tried doing this, resulted in a lawsuit:
“In 2002, Random House sued RosettaBooks, an e-book publisher, for copyright infringement when Rosetta signed contracts with authors — including Mr. Styron — to release digital versions of previously published novels”. The case never went to trial but Random house gave Rossetta rights to 51 of its titles.
Complete coverage on NY Times