"My first impressions: a) I’m awfully suspicious that it means nothing good for writers who want to get paid for their work using the current compensation model, b) If Amazon actually wants this to work they are going to have to become strikingly transparent in their processes… c) if I were a lawyer I would already be salivating at the class-actions suits to be filed the very first time it becomes clear that Amazon is reselling eBooks that are not, in fact, the sole versions of that specific, originally sold copy…"


Writer John Scalzi in response to last week’s news that, per GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, “Amazon has been awarded what appears to be a broad patent on a ‘secondary market for digital objects’—a system for users to sell, trade and loan digital objects including audio files, eBooks, movies, apps, and pretty much anything else.”

This is a hugely important development for librarians to track. I confess I’m confused how ownership versus licensing comes into play in a patent. Can Amazon resell ebooks if they don’t actually own them? Would the publisher have to grant that right in cases where Amazon is not the publisher?

Russell Blake’s comment from Scalzi’s post:

Amazon sells a license, not an actual ebook, so there can’t be a used ebook. If and when they change their Ts and Cs to reflect that self-publishers are agreeing to allow them to sell the actual ebook versus the license, then we’d all have to worry. But my hunch is that isn’t going to happen – self-pubbing at Amazon would basically dry up, and the trad pubs would never go along with it, so they’d be putting a bullet in their own, well-developed market. I personally don’t see that happening.

*Cut to Heather’s brain exploding*

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  5. ebookprimer said: The ownership vs licensing issue makes me suspect this is less about a future Amazon service and more about being able to block competitors from creating a radically different model.
  6. cloudunbound posted this