Dutch ebook sellers promise to spy on everyone's reading habits, share them with "anti-piracy" group



(Sorry, lost it for a moment.)

I’m with Cory 100% on this. Speaking as an author who grew up on libraries and second hand books and still reads voraciously, this makes my skin crawl. This would appear to me to be paving the way for a big pushback against author/publisher contract boilerplate that forbids advertising within novels – something we’ve been able to take for granted for decades.

The lesson here is that if you don’t want to be spied on or extorted, then you need to read the pirated copy.


In the future, 'Spect I’ll be re-reading my personal library.

I find myself even more bothered by the methodology…Changes in punctuation can change the meaning, which could be of CRITICAL importance in a reference book. As could substituting “synonyms” based on some computerized list. To say nothing of changing the flow…“Would a rose by any different name stink as sweet?” —NO.


I’m unpleasantly surprised that the terrifying pirate scourge would lead to such a move, from inside the industry no less. Even if they have none of the principles that librarians tend to about reader privacy, how many embarassing ‘romance’ novels do they expect to move under a “Haha, yeah, all your purchases are personally identifiable to a callous and wholly unaccountable third party.” framework? (Also, are Dutch ebook vendors totally insane to accept, much less push, a model that is basically “Everything you thought was pretty sinister about Amazon’s hegemonic dominion, only with more state power and probably a lot less competence and efficiency!” That will be competitve.)

Also, just by way of perspective, even the odious 50 USC§ 1861, enabler of many delightsome abuses, treats books as a special category entitled to (pitifully limited, because this is the feds we are talking about here) additional protection:

“In the case of an application for an order requiring the production of library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, book customer lists, firearms sales records, tax return records, educational records, or medical records containing information that would identify a person”

Right up there with guns and medical records, so you know they think it’s important. Being worse than the feds on reader privacy is not a distinction of honor.

In the future, only pirated copies will be acceptable as citations in academic literature.


So the message is, if you want to maintain your privacy, make sure the copy you are reading is not legit? Sounds par for the course for DRM efforts. Legit users punished, illegitimate users get rewarded, and not mention, they get the content for free as well.


Or rewind the clock 30 years and go back to a pre-internet lifestyle. It’s ridiculous how effectively governments and corporations have managed to turn the most powerful system for information exchange in human history into a pair of shackles.

I shouldn’t have to wonder who’s recording what I’m doing every time I click a link, and yet I do.

You mean, “if you want to maintain your privacy, and not have deliberately introduced errors in your texts, make sure the copy you are reading is not legit?”
They’re giving people multiple reasons to pirate.


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I haven’t yet bought an ebook, though I have read a few ‘free ones’. Not sure if I ever will, though they are mighty appealing.

(I have resisted because I don’t trust the walled gardens/can’t or don’t want to afford an ereader/hate crap like this). Nobody tells me what to do with my paper books except my partner - and she wants me to sell or give them away once we’re done with them.

I am the director of the Dutch antipiracy foundation BREIN. The watermark has been introduced by booksellers to replace Adobe DRM to allow buyers to read their ebook on multiple devices. However buyers are not allowed to share copies of the book with the general public. Sellers would keep buyers details for a two year period. Such details may be requested in case illegal copies of the book are shared with the general public so that it can be examined how that happened. The focus of anti-piracy foundation BREIN is on structural piracy and not on any small scale matters. The contractual dispute on music for an anti-piracy trailer by the way did not involve BREIN at all.


Would you care to elucidate the difference between ‘structural piracy’(what is that, anyway?) and ‘small scale matters’ in a technological context where duplication is trivial (and where you are watermarking retail copies, which would have historically been the domain of ‘small scale’, unlike pre-release leaks of various flavors)?

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So, Tim, you’re guaranteeing us that BREIN will never be involved in suing someone if their ebook gets shared?


They’re doing their best to drive people into piracy, as a pirated copy would have a greater chance of being free of content “munging” (reminiscent of spam emails that use a thesaurus to vary words and produce bizarre pseudo-English) and officially-mandated spyware.

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I’m coming to the conclusion that the entertainment business is simply dead-set opposed to art, artists, and audiences. What say we all just end-run them? Self-publish everything - Radiohead showed it’s a viable business plan.

Also, thank God for dead trees. They’re not illegal yet!

In response to comments (due to a technical glitch as a reply to my own post :-)…
BREIN believes that the best way to win consumers over for legal platforms is to give them a great experience. Suing the consumer is not part of it. So we are glad that the reason for the introduction of the watermark is to enable reading on several digital appliances. We do want to address the large scale supply of illegal copies to the public. A buyer of an ebook of which illegal copies appear on the internet could have more information about that. In that case we may ask for contact details. The same possibility exists with respect to subscribers of access providers, who may be asked for details about who used a certain IP number at a certain time. Of course there must be justification to do so.

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