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eBook (ePub) Users Bill of Rights

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

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.

Rights to this: CC0 – Public Domain

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  1. I agree with much you say, yet I would hesitate before reprinting your Users Bill of Rights in my blog, as you’ve not indicated any license. That means the default for Canada, and most of the rest of the world, would be that it is covered under copyright.

    Under existing copyright law I am not willing to risk republishing something that may well result in charges of infingement or takedown, either now or at some future time.

    The EFF calls this a chilling effect.

    If you truly wish to freely disseminate this you could give it a Creative Commons (or other) license, which could even be a CC0 license placing it directly in the public domain.

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