Amazon and the Kindle reveal their double-plus-ungood side...

From the article:

"This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned."

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Comment by Фелч Гроган on July 21, 2009 at 8:38am
Paper is for reading. Electronic is for searching and citing. Wherever possible, I get both.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on July 19, 2009 at 1:01am
A kindle device is a great thing IF -

* You decide what you download and what you choose to copy to the kindle

* A hashing signature scheme is introduced to ensure the integrity of the material you receive and to prevent text tampering without author consent

* Remote deletion is permanently disabled

* All software and file updates cannot proceed without your express consent, and all changelogs are published, freely available and subject to 3rd party review

Without any of this, a Kindle cannot be trusted.
Comment by Jason Spicer on July 19, 2009 at 12:42am
Well, that's bogus, for the reasons you state, as well as for the reason that Amazon could go out of business, leaving you with an inert device.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on July 19, 2009 at 12:33am
DRM is only one aspect. Kindles are live 'net devices - you own it, so the theory goes, but Amazon has administrative rights it. They can read, write and execute code on it for whatever reason without notification or permission. Is that acceptable to you the "owner" ? This is the whole issue that you only read about in the bowels of tech and consumer rights forums. The whole concept of "ownership" is being subverted so you have no rights.
Comment by Jason Spicer on July 18, 2009 at 11:53pm
I'm not so sure I'd go as far as ripping them off, but I have definitely decided to boycott DRM as much as I can. I agree that the Orwellian angle is something to take seriously, but pragmatically speaking, when companies go out of business, they have an unhappy habit of taking their DRM servers offline. So even though neither the user nor the author of the content have changed their minds about anything or are in breach of any contract, the simple disappearance of the middleman renders the content void. Counting on a company to stick around forever is just unrealistic.

I actually don't think DRM will last too much longer. It's just too easy for those who don't respect it to hack, and too clumsy for users who do respect it to use. This is a recipe for rapid obsolescence, as Sony found out with the iPod. Granted, the iPod supports DRM, but Sony was so scared of losing control of their content that they let Apple walk off with the MP3 cake--Apple was willing to take a greater risk with content by making it downloadable, rather than tied to a physical medium. And now more and more music is available DRM-free.

The copyright-holders are slowly figuring out (many kicking and screaming all the way) that reasonable prices and convenience will be rewarded with paying customers. There will always be free-riders, but it's stupid to punish all your paying customers for the transgressions of a few. It's a case of penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Comment by Jared Lardo on July 18, 2009 at 11:48pm
The irony is so thick that I can swim in it.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on July 18, 2009 at 11:30pm
I have a flat, non-negotiable rule - if I can't back a file up or copy it between devices, then that file is mere vapour that can't be relied on and I want to have nothing to do with it. If a vendor decides that you as a consumer have no choice in the matter and only deserve to receive a broken and hobbled product because you can't be trusted, then as far as I am concerned, they have removed any moral or ethical barriers to stealing the product instead of buying it. They are responsible for loss of revenue, not me. In the case of of authors and artists I actually like, I always purchase a hard copy anyway - if it is available. Again, the onus is on the vendor. Vendors that refuse these basic decencies deserve to be boycotted and/or ripped off. Original content creators should likewise avoid them like the plague.
Comment by Jim C. on July 18, 2009 at 10:38pm
In no small bit of irony, as I type this message, the advertisement at the right of my screen reads, "Meet the all new amazon kindle."

Below that it says something about 240,000 books, magazines, blogs and newspapers. Maybe if I look tomorrow, it will say 239,998.
Comment by Sue B on July 18, 2009 at 10:12pm
I've always been suspicious of the kindle devices, glad to know I was right...(great now I have more things to worry about)
Comment by Фелч Гроган on July 18, 2009 at 9:54pm
To anyone out there that still thinks DRM, copy protection and related technology is a good and necessary thing, let this be a lesson. It's not - it is the greatest and most arrogant assault on your rights as a consumer ever conceived. The idea is that you pay full price for products - but you never own them.

The second, and more disturbing, aspect of Kindle type devices is the capacity for live editing of reality. Again, Orwell is appropriate to highlight this. Consider waking up one morning and reading "We are at war with Iran, not Iraq. We have always been at war with Iran, never Iraq."

We are in dangerous territory. People are largely ignorant of the technology and we have no watchdogs with real teeth. The technology is going to walk all over us if we do not regain control. We will have no rights as consumers.

It has long passed the point where the act of breaking DRM and content control can be in any way viewed as a crime (except by the beaurocracies with vested interests) - it has become a moral obligation to trash this technology, because it is Orwellian. Big Brother is here - and he's not a stifling all powerful government agency. He is big media and their horde of copyright lawyers that scrutinise every move you make online. Think that's hysterical and doesn't affect you ? Think DMCA take down notices harrassing YouTube freethinkers and the RIAA suing children and dead people.

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