eBook Users' Bill of Rights

Feb 28 2011 Published by under information policy

The following is cc0. via Bobbi Newman.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks. I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours. Now it is your turn to take a stand. To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others. Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work

One response so far

  • Bob Heu says:

    No, I think that is ridiculous and totally inappropriate.

    What is more appropriate is a bill of unrights:

    Thou shalt not pirate ebooks.

    Much shorter. The difference is the difference between *allowing only certain things* and *disallowing only certain things*, leaving freedom as the default.

    Basically an unrestricted form like an (editable) PDF but which could not be pirated in a practical way, would be okay with me but any other restrictions are not. So content providers can get fair compensation, but no messing with the details while no one is looking.

    Is there anything else that really needs to change when it comes to ebooks compared with what a plain PDF would provide?

    And why stop at Ebooks? Seriously, corporations won't - we need this sort of thing for all content.