Over the last few days, the EFF has been looking back at predictions it made at the beginning of the year to see how they have played out. Most of these have relatively little to do with e-reading (though the one on hardware hacking does touch on it orthogonally with mention of the exemption created for jailbreaking iPhones), but one of them looks specifically at books and newspapers.

At the beginning of the year, the EFF noted the increasing complaints of publishers and publishing magnates such as Rupert Murdoch about the effect the Internet was having on their bottom line, and predicted that 2010 would feature publishers “attempting to […] break the fair use doctrine by lobbying to change accepted copyright law, challenging it in the courts, or by placing other pressures on intermediaries.”

In fulfillment of this prediction, the article points to copyright troll Righthaven’s activities in suing a number of bloggers and websites that quoted from or reposted its articles. “As with the music industry’s failed ‘sue the customers’ gambit, this one has done nothing to help the newspaper industry, but has already caused damage to free speech and fair use.”

Though the EFF made a similar prediction about “battles around user control” arising around e-book readers, it notes that 2010 still saw early market growth, especially involving the introduction of the iPad. It expresses disappointment that the use of DRM in the publishing industry continues, but notes that it took some time for the music industry to give up on DRM so it may take publishers a while to come to the same conclusion.


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