Sunday, October 26, 2014

Amazon's control of Kindle represents a dilemma for consumers, even self-published authors

Timothy B. Lee has a valuable story on Vox Sunday morning explaining the effect of Amazon’s management of the Kindle device and its leveraging of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), link here .  Lee comments on a Matt Yglesias column on Vox maintaining that Amazon has done the public a favor by “crushing book publishers”.  What about self-publishers like me?

He points out that the law didn’t affect much the ripping of music CD’s (just as a I and a friend used to make tape copies of records back in the 1960s and justified it by the idea that we both bought “so many records” as my father would say).  But DVD’s and other devices like Kindle (and Nook) have anti-copying technology that is protected by law.  Lee notes that it would be now illegal for Apple to add a “rip” feature to iTunes. 

Lee points out that consumers with large collections are confronted with choices between repurchase of material in new protected format, or having many formats.  

Nevertheless, there are legitimate reasons to copy DVD’s.  There is software to rip DVD’s for YouTube postings, but that sounds illegal according to Lee’s article.  I have DVD’s of my family’s home movies from the 1940s.  I own these (or the estate does, which is effectively me now).  But I could run into trouble making YouTube and Vimeo videos of these, which I want to do.

I still wonder why Kindle disappeared for my first two books, leaving overpriced versions of older non-fiction as the only one’s available.  I can address this myself, but wonder is it best to reconvert them to Kindle and Nook myself (possible) or simply offer well-assembled PDF’s.  Tablets now can read Kindle anyway.  I'd like all my works to be on one consistent format.  

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