Despite all the fine print, most of us know that this is a scam. Declaring a sale to be a license is ridiculous on its face (imagine this: you finish a bowl of soup at the deli and when you get to the bottom of it, you find a EULA that says, "By eating this soup, you agree not to attempt to season your own soups in a similar fashion, nor to share this soup with any other person").
It's such a silly notion that even Amazon can't keep its story straight. Take this press-release in which Amazon trumpets that its "customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books." Purchased, not "licensed."
(Yes, you can purchase a license. But that's not what the copy says. It doesn't say, "Amazon customers purchased limited licenses to more Kindle books...")
It's a rip-off, pure and simple. And Amazon's digital divisions won't let copyright owners get out from under it. When I tried to negotiate the distribution of the Random House Audio edition of my novel Makers through Amazon's Audible store, they refused to allow me to add legal text to the recording telling users that they could make any use of the audiobook that was permissible under copyright, negating their EULA. In other words, Amazon isn't doing this because the publishers insist on it: even when my publisher, Random House, the largest publisher in the world, told them that they didn't want the crazy EULA, Amazon insisted.
Don't get me wrong. Amazon's "hard goods" business is the best ecommerce system in the world. I did half my Christmas shopping there. I buy everything from books to box-files from them. They are customer-focused, efficient, and smart. But I won't buy any of Amazon's digital offerings until they clean up their act and deliver the same customer rights to e-goods buyers as they do to hard-goods buyers.
- A fair EULA for downloaded works - Boing Boing
- Amazon Unbox to customers: Eat shit and die - Boing Boing
- Why do downloads make Amazon go crazy? - Boing Boing
- Sketch comedy troupe proposes a EULA for friendship - Boing Boing
- Thomas Edison's crappy, price-fixing EULA - Boing Boing
- Malware gets a EULA - Boing Boing
- DHS perfects the abusive EULA - Boing Boing
- Crazy EULA makes you agree to a bunch of other EULAs - Boing Boing
- Stupid DRM, abusive EULAs, hopeless ecommerce: why I'm not even ...
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.