Friday, October 20, 2006

Why Can't I Just Forward an E-book to a Friend?????

If you're published in ebook format, likely one of the problems you fight is the issue of people forwarding your ebook without your permission.

In print, the First Sale Doctrine applies, which means that once the book is sold, the purchaser can do whatever she wants with it, including lending it to a friend, selling it, or giving it away. (Or, destroying it, for that matter, but Fahrenheit 451-style scenarios are a topic for a different day.)

But this isn't the case with ebooks. Why? you might ask. Shouldn't the First Sale Doctrine also apply to ebooks? Why can't you just give it away once you're finished with it?

The answer is really quite simple. One of the copyright holder's exclusive rights is the right of reproduction (the right to make copies). When you forward an ebook to your friend by email, you are not only distributing the book, but you are making copies.

Consider a print book. When you give it to your friend, you are parting with your one copy. You no longer have it in your possession--your friend does.

But with an ebook, there's a copy contained on your hard drive, a copy in your sent mail, temporary copies made in transmission, and a new copy on your friend's hard drive. There's no longer just one book, but several. Then when your friend sends it to her friends, get the point.

So, don't forward along ebooks. You're infringing copyright if you do.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:27 PM :: 10 comments

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