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Ebook

Technorati-friendly tag for “ebooks” in the plural.

Appeals court judges ask probing questions in Apple e-book anti-trial case
December 16, 2014 | 7:56 pm

Yesterday, the appeals court heard testimony from Apple and the Department of Justice relating to the e-book anti-trust trial appeal. To my surprise, two of the three judges seemed amenable toward Apple’s point of view. They expressed concern over why the publisher collusion was such a bad thing when it was for the sake of stopping monopolist Amazon, and hinted that Judge Cote might have erred when she ruled that Apple’s behavior constituted a pro se anti-trust violation—a violation so obvious that it doesn’t need the “rule of reason” test applied to it. Apple attorney Theodore Boutros asked for...

Apple music DRM case wraps up with final witness
December 14, 2014 | 11:07 am

The Apple iTunes DRM case proceeds apace. After finding a replacement plaintiff to supplant those who were found not to have bought iPods during the required time period, the case moved forward, hearing reluctant testimony from a former iTunes engineer who worked on blocking the interoperability of competitors’ music DRM with iPods. (The engineer basically rehashed the same arguments Apple’s made all along: Apple had to lock out competitors because the music labels demanded it.) This was the case’s last witness; it will go to jury deliberations next week. As I’ve said before, this case could potentially have profound...

Judge Cote rules DRM removal for fair use is not copyright infringement
December 10, 2014 | 8:52 pm

The Apple anti-trust case continues to have some interesting fallout. The EFF today issued a press release concerning Judge Denise Cote last month dismissing some charges in a related case, trumpeting that Cote had ruled that stripping DRM for fair use purposes is legal. I’ve read the 20-page opinion, and I’m not so sure. Here’s what I know. The case pertains to Abbey House, the operator of the “BooksOnBoard” e-book store. In March, 2014, Abbey House (and two other defunct e-book store operators) filed suit against Apple and the Agency Five alleging that their implementation of agency pricing...

Apple iPod DRM case heats up, but might still fizzle
December 7, 2014 | 12:37 pm

The wheels of justice grind slowly, and sometimes a bit of grit gets stuck in the gears. This seems to be the case with the ten-year-old lawsuit against Apple over the DRM policies it used to enforce on iTunes Music Store music and iPods. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s started moving again, and the testimony and depositions have been interesting to follow. But now it looks as though, just as it’s getting started again, it may come to a complete halt. Locking Out Competitors At heart, the case has to do with the way Apple continually...

My eBook Predictions for 2015
December 5, 2014 | 2:25 pm

ebook predictionsMy crystal ball was a little off in 2014---there were baby steps toward some of my predicted trends, such as the growth of the niche stores and the rise of the para-professional. But I was way off in other areas. I gave the magazine industry more emphasis than it seems to be meriting, and I was way off-base in my predictions for the library market. So, the question is, can I redeem myself for 2015? Here are my ebook predictions for the coming year. 1) The 'Internet of Things' trend will finally hit the public consciousness in a big way. I...

eBooks in Star Trek?
December 4, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ebooks in star trekThe Beloved and I have a nightly Netflix ritual and lately, we have been working our way through the Star Trek canon. Deep Space Nine is his favourite of the Treks, so we started with that one. And it's been so interesting to see how much of their predicted technology has actually come true! One episode in particular caused me no end of amusement. It involved an alien race who attempts to study humans by impersonating characters it observes in their lives---Dr. Bashir's romanticized version of his co-worker, Dax; Commander Sisko's favourite baseball player, lifted from a 'holosuite' adventure; and Rumpelstiltskin,...

My 2014 eBook Predictions—How did I do?
December 3, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ebook predictionsAt this time last year, I was fresh off my successful crystal balling of 2013. All my ebook predictions had come  true and I was basking in the glow of my talent as a trend-spotter. As it turns out, I was basking a little too much. Most of my predictions for 2014 fell short of the mark. Perhaps I had too much faith in the ability of the market to innovate---in many of my predictions, I see the first emergences of baby steps, but I had anticipated a more fully realized progress. In others, the market simply shifted in areas...

Diane Duane holds Cyber Monday sale; may have to close e-book store
November 30, 2014 | 4:58 pm

Diane Duane’s e-book store is running a 50% off sale for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. All e-books in the store are half-off, no discount code required. But as Duane explains in a blog post, this could very well be her last Cyber Monday sale, because of the new VAT MOSS regulations coming into effect as of the New Year. As Duane points out via a quote from a Huffington Post article on the matter, the new regulation—and its removal of the minimum threshold at which UK businesses need to worry about VAT—is going to hit many UK small businesses particularly...

Zelig and the art of winning a Pulitzer: Q&A with J. Ross Baughman, photojournalist
November 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

nazisphotographedbyjrossbaughmanImagine you’re with the Secret Service. A young Ohioan calls up and says he’ll be joining the Nazi Party. “I wanted you to know.” Wait---the story gets even better. The Ohio man already has been within shooting range of presidential candidates. J. Ross Baughman isn’t a real Nazi, however. Instead he is a photojournalist for my old newspaper, and he is about to infiltrate the National Socialist movement. My friend is merely trying to keep his name off the Secret Service’s watch list so he can continue his campaign coverage. A letter co-signed by his editor does the trick. The Nazis think...

New European VAT law could threaten small e-businesses
November 29, 2014 | 10:19 pm

New European Union regulations regarding value-added taxes (a sort of European equivalent of sales tax) will take effect January 1, 2015 that could cause problems for businesses selling electronic goods and services. Referred to as VAT MOSS (for “Mini One-Stop Shop,” the web portal each member state will run to make payments easier), the new regulations put the onus on businesses that provide “telecoms/broadcast/electronic services” to EU customers to keep track of and charge each customer VAT at the rates that apply to the country where that customer lives. Previously, businesses were free to charge at the rate that...

Copyright Office posts DMCA exemption petitions
November 25, 2014 | 6:17 pm

A few weeks ago I discussed the need for a DMCA exemption for e-books, in light of the US Copyright Office requesting petitions for such exemptions. The Copyright Office has now posted all 44 petitions it received as PDFs. There are a number of interesting petitions there—not least of them my own. Now that I read my petition again, I see a few typos and other tweaks I wish I could go back and fix (and they miscategorized it under “Audiovisual Works – Multimedia E-Books,” rather than “Literature Distributed Electronically”), but on the whole I’m satisfied with it....

Moscow Metro goes cultural afficionado with free classic ebook downloads
November 8, 2014 | 10:31 am

Whatever your opinion about Russia's politics, LGBT tolerance, etc., you can't deny Russian commitment to the great heritage of Russian culture and Russian literature. And the Moscow Metro has pulled off the kind of cultural initiative that many other global metropolises can only envy - free ebook downloads of classic Russian literature for subway passengers, as part of an initiative to introduce free wifi across the network. Access is by scanning a QR code at the station, which then allows access to the virtual library, according to the report in The Guardian., with titles including, perhaps appropriately, Nikolai Gogol's "Nevsky Prospect" and...