The news is out, Amazon is getting ready to pimp your copyright for your book. This will affect many authors and publishers alike. They are planning, as it is reported, to sell used versions of your electronic works? How will they differentiate what is new or what is used to begin with, but that is another story which can be told down the line, as I want to speak on the immorality of Amazon’s willingness to pimp their own customers.
Coming from the music industry I watched as the dolts ignored the sale of used CD’s and then downloads until there was almost no music industry. This is a very serious start and something that is a very slippery slope and I hope the publishing industry jumps in real fast to INSIST that there is a royalty for re sale, like in art, to the author when these are sold.
First of all I sure hope publishers and Authors stand up in order to force Amazon in any way possible including lobbying congress to change the law as well as getting in the face of Amazon. Secondly If Amazon can muster the smarts, considering they have a large clientele of authors and publishers selling books there, I postulate that it is in Amazon’s best interests which also will serve as a moral platform for their business model, to provide authors with an offer of royalties to be paid on these sales.
Unfortunately the law currently is not on the side of publishers and authors as once a title is sold Amazon is not legally bound to pay anything further to the copyright owner. The U.S. Copyright Act at Section 109(a) states that “the owner of a particular copy –lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell, or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy–.”
I would further add, that as this is further infringement, not legally speaking of course, but morally so, on the wallets of the creators of books, that since Amazon is now widening the breach and attempting to add to their coffers off the sweat of the original creator, that it would be appropriate to include printed and audio books in any actions by the authors and publishers.
I would also be on the watch for the issue of “is it real or is it Memorex” as who is and how to define a “used” digital file from a new one. The implications are severe as if one is selling a book as a digital version, the lines may become blurred at accounting time for what is new vs. second hand.
The music industry stood idly by as Warehouse Music, now deservedly defunct, started selling used CD’s without any remuneration to the copyright holders of the music. The music moguls further failed to react and capitalize on Napster and others as the world downloaded free music without a penny even to the creator even on the initial sale which led to the downfall of the music industry as I then knew it as a prominent member of it. Only know are the new “moguls”, as the old ones were since fired for their laxity and lack of foresight which led to their failure to act, is the music biz recovering.
My message to authors and publishers is to get off your collective booty’s and organize. Then hit Amazon so hard with your first punch that they can’t get up. While they do not have at the moment a legal obligation to pay you, they do have a moral one. Other creative endeavors such as fine art have this protection so why not you?
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