Halifax Library Boycotts HarperCollins eBooks

Comboman writes "It's taken a couple of weeks, but libraries are starting to take action against publisher HarperCollins' plans to make their eBooks self-destruct after 26 reads. I'm happy to report that my home city of Halifax appears to be the first in Canada to boycott HarperCollins' eBooks (though libraries in other cities are likely to follow shortly).

Debbie LeBel, the manager of acquisitions for Halifax Public Libraries says she is not buying new e-book licenses from HarperCollins even though demand for eBooks has grown steadily in recent years and HarperCollins titles account for about one in every five e-books in the collection of more than 6,000."


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  •  
    identicon
    Mike Doherty, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    That's my library.

    Artificially crippling technology is just stupid. I'm proud that my library is standing up to HarperCollins.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:30pm

      Re: That's my library.

      Unfortunately, the whole concept of 'loaning' an ebook, or of purchasing 'multiple copies' of the same ebook, is already such a crippling.

       

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      Adam Bell (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

      Re: That's my library.

      Mine too. I'm really proud of them.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re: That's my library.

        Mine too. I'm really proud of them.

        Awesome! Less books available for my neighborhood! YEAH!

         

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          coldbrew, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: That's my library.

          So, you have a problem with people taking a stand (it is legal, ya know), and boycotting a poorly thought out decision?

          So they can't boycott. They can't pirate. They must consume, and they must pay. Great attitude.

          Many of you ACs claim people should refuse the content if they don't like the way it is offered, but when that is the choice made, you complain about less books?

          I guess the only answer is to pay these media companies whatever they say, right?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: That's my library.

          Less e-books. Not books, e-books. There is a difference, for example, every book that I've ever come across were incapable of self-destructing.

           

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          mrharrysan (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: That's my library.

          FUD, FUD, Mike this, Mike that, blah blah blah. whatever

           

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: That's my library.

          Awesome! Less books available for my neighborhood! YEAH!

          You mean fewer books, not less. And only if your google-fu is weak.

          It's the fact that the libraries can't help you with the latter that worries me the most. It used to be that a librarian was the go-to person for finding information. We're getting to the point where your neighbor's kid may be a better bet.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2011 @ 7:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That's my library.

            As a librarian I have to say that a surprising amount of kids have no idea how to conduct research beyond one or two poorly executed google searches. I spend a lot of time teaching people the difference between reliable and unreliable data sources, getting them to the information they need.

            Don't write off your local library just yet.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

      Re: That's my library.

      I'm proud that my library is standing up to HarperCollins.

      Yeah, less books for people to read and to learn from! YEAH! Pirates win! YEAH!

       

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        Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

        Re: Re: That's my library.

        We can see through you really easily. If the goal was to get as many books into as many hands as possible, then piracy is winning. Never fear, if someone can't check the book out from the Halifax library, perhaps they should check it out on the Pirate Bay Library. I hear they have a really good lending policies and you rarely have to put a hold on a book. If they have it, it's available for you to pickup. And in this case, since you were only going to check it out at a library and not pay for it anway, nobody can complain about theft or lost sales.

        Or was the goal to get only 26 people (or less) to read more books?

        Kind of makes your argument look shallow, eh?

         

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        Jesse (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re: That's my library.

        Oopsy daisy, troll got pwnd.

         

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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    plans to make their eBooks self-destruct after 26 reads

    Ahhh. Just download copies that dont expire.
    Whats next? Cars that only allow 26 rides.
    Phones that only allow 26 calls.
    Women that only allow 26 sexual encounters... well, that may not be so bad.

    How about when you buy a car with AC and cruise control, then the manufacture decides that a few are using the cruise to break the law, then decide to remove that function, and not so many always use AC so lets get rid of that too.

    What a joke.

     

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      Jesse (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:39pm

      Re: plans to make their eBooks self-destruct after 26 reads

      ...How about when you buy a car with AC and cruise control...

      A car with it's own Anonymous Coward?!! I want in!

      "Psst. Haven't you heard? Every time you drive right on past a music store, you are killing Big Content *cough* artists!"

       

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        Gwiz (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:56pm

        Re: Re: plans to make their eBooks self-destruct after 26 reads

        A car with it's own Anonymous Coward?!! I want in!

        There's a recall on that. Please return your car to the nearest dealership to have the defective AC removed.

         

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      Joe (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 6:15am

      Re: plans to make their eBooks self-destruct after 26 reads

      "Women that only allow 26 sexual encounters..."

      They already have those, they're called 'wives.' ;)

       

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    The question remains: Did this librarian act out of her own volition, or was she contacted secretly by a copyright subversive-type person?

    I demand all phone records, emails, voice chats, letters and GPS records to know. Someone please start tracking Nina Paley and Matthew Goins. These anti-copyright operatives are surely behind this.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    LOL! Clearly this just FUD and Debbie is a secret pirate/technologist in disguise!

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Ah... the library...

    Or alternately, the libary. It's where all us freetards get our learning. (Sorry, "learnin'.")

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    If books don't have the option to burn themselves after a set amount of time then the pirates will have won!

     

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    davey, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    What a coincidence

    that Rupert Murdoch, the king of the self-styled defenders of liberty, is leading the fight to take away the right to lend out books you paid for. Who else would it be but a self-righteous corporate pirate parading around as a freedom fighter? Libertarians are such a gas.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2011 @ 2:51am

      Re: What a coincidence

      Yep, I would boycott Harper Collins just for the Murduck/News Crap link on Dead tree slices as well but they are the publisher for one of my favorite authors.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:53pm

    I question why we pay libraries to hold licensed ebooks, they are simply inefficient middlemen in a distribution chain. Wouldn't the money best be spent giving all members of the public dressers and a certain allotment of books free via library 'tax'? Everybody wins.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

    The 11 people in Halifax that use the library will be upset.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 6:18am

    Couldn't these eBooks be turned into .txt or .pdf files and preserved indefinitely?

    This message will self-destruct in 26 seconds.

     

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    Wayne Martin, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    This Is A Non-Issue

    Most books don't see 26x checkouts in their life time. The number of books that will require re-licensing will not be that many. What's at issue here is whether or not e-books sold to libraries will eventually be "hacked", so that the DRM mechanisms are voided, and then the resulting files passed around so that Harper Collins will lost future sales.

    While disdainful of HC's attempts to stay profitable, one can only wonder what this library would do if it knew that some of its patrons were "jail breaking" e-books? Would they turn the names of those patrons over to the FBI (or appropriate law enforcement agency)? Or will the Halifax library just look the other way, and perhaps smile quietly?

    What most publishers should do is begin to consider this for p-books also. There is no reason that people who buy books should have to be taxed once to pay for public libraries, and then taxed again with higher book prices to subsidize the sales to libraries.

    The cost to libraries for paying for these 26x expirations will be small, over time. This is really a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. Libraries spend vast sums hiring people to move paper around, or to act as "hall monitors". Most public libraries spend only about 5%-10% of their budgets on books/periodicals. Paying a little more for books, and maybe a little less for staff, would be a good thing.

     

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      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 7:14pm

      Re: This Is A Non-Issue

      "What's at issue here is whether or not e-books sold to libraries will eventually be "hacked", so that the DRM mechanisms are voided, and then the resulting files passed around so that Harper Collins will lost future sales."

      This is a non-issue.

      All DRM will be/has already been hacked. If a book is currently for sale digitally, it is already on file-sharing networks, regardless of whether it's in a digital library or not. If, by some extraordinary turn of events a book is in the library but not available for sale digitally anywhere in the world, then yes, its DRM will be broken and it will be put on file-sharing networks.

      The only time a library patron could even conceivably have to download a DRM breaking tool and break it themselves are for books so obscure nobody has bothered to do so previously.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 20th, 2011 @ 7:37am

      Re: This Is A Non-Issue

      So paying $20/year/book for their entire works archive should be a viable strategy. What happens if someone checks it out, and reads it more than once per checkout? According to HarperCollins' logic, that should be illegal, too.

      And I would be the first to start the beatdown on the copyright cops. I'd ask if you're insane, but it's clear that you are. Self-destructing p-books for libraries only? This plan is about 30 Rush Limbaughs on the scale of insanity.

       

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      identicon
      Renee, Mar 27th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

      Re: This Is A Non-Issue

      Look at this video from Pioneer Library System to see this non-issue refuted.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je90XRRrruM

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2011 @ 11:41pm

        Re: Re: This Is A Non-Issue

        Interesting to know the numbers - but I don't think it'd even be appropriate to set a limit based on normal wear outs (I'm not suggesting you support this, just extending the argument)

        Given fair use, I imagine the library can maintain copies of their books on tape/CD for whichever ones do not have copy protection (thanks DMCA...), and they talked in the video about repairing books that start to show wear.

        Also, new technology is supposed to be an improvement, not purposely crippled to enforce "the way it used to be".

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2011 @ 4:53am

      Re: This Is A Non-Issue

      "Most books don't see 26x checkouts in their life time. The number of books that will require re-licensing will not be that many."

      I strongly suspect any book by Dan Brown would be checked out many more than 26 times. The forced withdrawal of the ability to read his output would be a huge loss to manki...

      Oh wait.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Locking up knowledge

    The issue is much bigger when you deal with scientific knowledge. How many technical reports and scientific journals are locked up behind paywalls and protected with DRM and Draconian License Agreements?

    There is a legitimate need to cover the cost of peer review and editing, but to lock up knowledge in this way is not the right path to take. Indeed, many libraries sped a fair proportion of their budgets on subscriptions to these e-journals, but say the library maintained a sub. for 10 years, but dropped it in the l1th year. Can you now go back to the library and ask for access to the 8th year?
    Better yet, they go out of business, and now what can you do?

    Support the Public Library of Science! http://www.plos.org

     

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