Amazon Uses DMCA To Try To Block Other Ebooks From Getting On Your Kindle
from the joining-the-dark-side dept
Slashdot points us to the rather unfortunate news that Amazon has sent a DMCA takedown notice to MobileRead, concerning a link that site had to a small piece of software that would allow ebooks purchased elsewhere (other than Amazon) to work on the Kindle. There are a number of issues here, all of which seem troubling.
First, MobileRead never hosted the software in question, but merely had links to the tool and some instructions. Such a takedown is only supposed to be used for sites that actually have the infringing material. However, thanks to the wonderful chilling effects of the DMCA, MobileRead removed the links.
Second, it’s not at all clear how this script violates the DMCA. It doesn’t remove copy protection at all. It just serves to open up the device for other eBooks to be used on the device. All too often we’ve been seeing the DMCA used in cases like this, where companies are treating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clauses to mean that they can stop just about any script they don’t like from being available. This is clearly not what the DMCA was intended to do.
Third, the script was useful for allowing legally obtained ebooks from other stores to be read on the device. In other words, it was not a tool for copyright infringement, but for reading legally obtained works. This is a massive problem with the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause: it makes circumvention itself illegal, even if the circumvention is used for non-infringing purposes.
Fourth, Amazon’s decision to send a DMCA takedown, in light of all of the above, is bothersome. One would hope that a company like Amazon wouldn’t be quite so aggressive in trying to block out competition, in such ways — especially to the extent of abusing copyright law. There have been a bunch of lawsuits in the past that have pretty much all said using the DMCA solely for anti-competitive purposes is not a legitimate use of the DMCA — hopefully, someone can send Amazon’s lawyers the various cases to make it clear to them that they’re on the wrong side of the law here.