Sunday, 6 March 2011

How HarperCollins made a pirate out of me

Upon finishing reading the latest book I bought at Amazon for my Kindle ebook reader, I stumbled upon the following copyright statement at the ebook's very end:
By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage or retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-bools.
Obviously, the stupidity of the above statement knows no bounds. We can read it and admire the thought some well paid lawyers obviously put into the text, as with the handling of both "mechanical" or "electronic" means; or with them making sure that nothing invented in the hereafter may be used to copy the book. However, I read the statement and take notes on how the mere act of me buying this ebook violates it: buying the ebook from Amazon meant the book was downloaded to my Kindle reader, my PC and my smartphone. It also means its files are stored on several of my hard drives. There is nothing I can do about it; that's just the way ebooks work, you know.
So that's how HarperCollins made a pirate out of me: they sold me an ebook of theirs.

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