Quoted out of context

Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader Locked Up: Why Your Books Are No Longer Yours

Another possible complication stems from the inherent difference between transferring an e-book and transferring a hard-copy book. The transfer of a hard-copy book is just that; the physical transfer of one copy. The transfer of an e-book, however, requires the digital recreation or copying of that e-book. Because the first sale doctrine allows transfers of only your particular copy, and not reproductions or recreations, a digital transfer of an e-book is probably impermissible. Thus, users of Kindle and the Sony Reader can only legally transmit works by selling the physical media on which they are stored—be that the e-book readers themselves or the users’ hard drives.

So it sounds to me that what these people are saying is that finally there will be a use for all of those small-capacity flash cards and thumb drives and suchlike lying around in people’s desk drawers. (Yeah, there are still problems with the licenses and the DRM, but that’s really not the issue I’m talking about. If you want to sell the physical medium on which a particular work is stored, just plop in the 4-meg card that came in the box with your last-but-three digital camera, and away you go.)


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