Copy Right – Schmopy Right – A Rant About Digital Rights

Purchase: to obtain by paying money or its equivalent : to buy

Ownership: the state, relation, or fact of being an owner

In this digital age of eBooks, eMusic and eEverything I am starting to get annoyed. No that’s too mild a word, but I’m going to keep this post G-rated so I’ll leave out the explicatives.

I’m all for intellectual property rights and am totally against pirating books, movies, or any other creative effort. However, things are getting ridiculous! Somewhere along the way the concept of the actually owning something you have “purchased” flew right out the window.

I currently use amazon.com as my main conduit for purchasing books. But with all the self-publishing going on I have made my policy to always download a sample of a book before purchasing. I do this mainly because far too many authors and publishers throw a book up on Amazon or other eBook vendors without bothering to run a spell check, punctuation check, grammar, or formatting checks on their product. It smacks of paying my hard-earned money for the privilege of beta checking someone’s unfinished work. Hello authors, maybe it would be a good idea to throw a few free copies out there to have someone double-check your work so you don’t come off as a sloppy writer just looking to make a quick $2.99.

A few days ago I finished reading what would have otherwise been a great book. The problem was that the formatting was absolutely atrocious. Did no one read this read this book before after ePublishing it? There were places where apostrophes were replaced with a superscript “c.” Entire sentences had no spaces between words. There were random paragraphs, words and even just parts of a word in italics. At first I thought it was supposed to be someone’s thoughts but gave up and accepted it as random. Then there were words and sentences with random characters like % and @ and # and >>> right in the middle of it. Go figure.

Yesterday, I downloaded a sample of a book and returned it without even reading it. Why? You may ask. I’ll tell you. I got stuck at the copyright page and didn’t go further. It stated “you have purchased this book for your use only; you may not lend or gift this book to anyone else.” Excuuuse me?  I’m sorry but I have to ask the question of the author or publisher – “uh, just who the heck do you think you are?” In my opinion when I purchase something I consider it as now belonging to me and I may do with it as I please, up to and including burning it, lending it, giving it away, or throwing it out on the curb.

Maybe eBook sellers need to be a little more honest about what is really going on and remove the “buy now” button and replace it with a “rent now” button, because truly that is all that is happening. Leading the customer to believe that they have actually purchased something is a false assumption. In other words – a big fat lie!

Maybe I’m just a cranky dinosaur from the age of paper books, who knows? It just seems to me like somewhere there has to be a middle ground with this digital issue.

4 responses

  1. Well, know I know how to market my skills if I do hang out my shingle as a freelance editor/writer. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  2. You are correct. Some of the editing of e-books is incredibly sloppy. It bugs the life out of me, too. There are some that I have gotten as samples that I never download the entire book. I could not stand to sort through the entire book and be annoyed.

    1. So true. Sometimes I get a this mental image of a lizard dropping an egg and moving on never to return. 😉 When I publish something I continue to check on it and correct and revise if needed.

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