E-Books, More About

Gary Leach bangfish at cableone.net
Tue Feb 23 18:37:45 CET 2010


> As far as I know, songs are also rentals. By "buying" a song of The  
> Beatles,
> one will never own it. One only owns the vinyl it is printed on. The  
> same
> for Disney comics. Buyers only own the paper on which someone else's
> (Disney's) intellectual property is printed.

I don't believe the "rental" idea really applies here. You don't  
(normally) rent a vinyl record or a printed comic book and then return  
it after a certain period. You buy and subsequently own that copy--and  
the key word here is "copy." It's what the entire issue of copyright  
revolves around.

Copying used to mean producing a physical duplicate, on paper or vinyl  
or tape or what have you. These copies were--as they still are, for  
the most part--sold, not rented. Sales and rentals are two very  
distinct commercial transactions with their own rules and regulations  
and never the twain shall meet. Just because the office chair I'm  
sitting on was built to a design I had no input into, do not own, and  
certainly have no right to duplicate, does not mean I don't own the  
chair. It is precisely the same for a comic book or a vinyl record,  
inasmuch as these are purchased in sale transactions that establish  
the purchasers possession in perpetuity of that copy for its intended  
purpose, i.e. reading or listening.

>  With digital copies this
> situation becomes very clear: one only owns the mp3-player or the e- 
> reader.

I'm not so sure about this myself, but I admit it comes to the point  
and you may very well be right in terms of how things will ultimately  
shake out. There is, after all, little to nothing that's distinctly or  
even definably physical about a digital copy. It's one reason I've  
been very reluctant to do more than download legit e-book freebies up  
to this point. If I actually pay money for an e-book, what am I buying  
and under what terms am I buying it? Or am I indeed just renting, or  
engaging in some new form of transaction that has yet to be adequately  


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