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I take great issue with the statement that it is hard to see how the improvement in distribution technology will hurt the maker of goods. One must either be blind, ignorant or deliberately obtuse not to see that small scale reproduction of intellectual property which makes up the book readers' domain is much easier for an individual to do electronically in a convenient format than to set up a printer or binder to print one copy. This is true even when taking into account copy machines for the copying of published material or the print on demand technology now making the rounds. The example of the music industry is unfounded. The music, once it is in a common digital format can be duplicated and distributed costlessly just as easily by file sharing as by any other means. It is this type of behavior which destroys publishers and denudes copyright owners of income to support the time spent creatively. Further this type of distributed control of distribution is viral and almost impossible to rid once started. Lastly any attempt to control this through any key type of encryption in its most general sense is doomed by the constant exponential increase in computing power and the unwavering attempts to crack codes by various parties against a necessarily technologically relatively static encoding technique. To the extent that the royalty owner receives only a small portion of income it is the producers (of the book not the content) and distributors who bear the brunt of lower incomes. It is apparent the genie is long out of the bottle on this one. The music distribution industry was in decline before the iTunes store came into being. File sharing without royalties accounts for over 90% of files distributed. Just as the printing press destroyed the thirty five hundred year old scribal industry by lowering the costs of production so too will paper technology be affected. Similarly, just as regulation of printing was an utter failure each time it was attempted whether by a monopoly of printers or by central authority so too will regulation of the electronic press fail. E-readers are doomed as an independent gadget. Why should one pay $500 for what is basically a retarded computer when one can purchase a full strength computer with a little bit of software that can duplicate E-readers' capabilities along with all the other communications, audio and video technology crammed into the same box for more or less the same price. Independent software allows the user to avoid having publishers reach into their library and destroy it at will.
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Feb 20, 2010