Australian bargain site Cudo is offering, for 8 more hours at the time of this posting, a $99 budget e-book reader bundled with a CD of 4,000 written works—whose list of titles includes hundreds of works that are verifiably still within copyright, and enough duplicates and wrong author-title matches that it looks as though the seller simply grabbed the highest-ranked e-book torrents off any site they could find.
I have to agree with John Scalzi here: this is some pure, high-quality premium-grade stupid, soliciting a list of so many copyrighted titles on a major bargains site like that. Add to this the fact that the site is apparently co-run by Microsoft and Channel Nine, and the pickings seem ripe for lawsuits.
Metafilter notes that the list of titles has since been withdrawn from the e-book reader listing, which makes me suspect that wiser heads may have already prevailed. I doubt they’ve actually shipped any of these readers yet (they’d want to wait until they were all sold then batch-ship), so presumably there’s still time for the flagrant violation CD to be replaced with a CD full of as many titles as they can grab from Project Gutenberg and Google Books.
There isn’t a violation (or at least not as big of one) if they don’t actually send the discs out, after all. There might be some customers made unhappy by the switch, but I doubt they’ll sue for as much as the authors of the pirated works might.