The Rights of Readers and the Threat of the Kindle

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.-- Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO,

Can we trust private companies to replace the work of libraries? Do we long to curl up with an electronic device and divorce ourselves from that much-loved book smell? More importantly, what happens to our rights as readers and authors when books go digital?

For the Conference on Intellectual Property, librarian Alycia Sellie and technologist Matthew Goins will challenge the status quo of book digitization and argue that current digitization projects rob readers of well-established rights that they have held historically with print. More than just an issue of convenience, we will outline what changes when books go from print to restricted digital format. We will examine the restrictive licensing agreements and closed technologies used in current digitization projects that deny readers these long-held rights of fair use.

Exploring not only the current state of digital books, ebook readers and digital restrictions management, Sellie and Goins will talk about the history of printed books, freedom of the press, and the rights of publishers and readers. We will address implications for libraries, individual readers, and also those concerned with copyright, and access to--as well as ownership of --information. We will examine those private corporations who have invested in digital book projects and whether their principles are something that we as consumers and informed readers should accept or avoid.

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