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Throughout 2001, conflicts pitting established media giants against high-tech upstarts have focused the attention of publishers on new technologies and e-rights. This report reviews highlights of recent developments and concludes that the dangers of new technologies that bypass publishers of books may be overstated.
But Will “Bookster” Rise from the Ashes?
Although it centers on music rather than books, the Napster case is important to authors and publishers. That’s because the kinds of technologies used for trading music online are already beginning to be applied to electronic books.
Napster has, of course, generated reams of general coverage in major print media. As it relates to book publishers, one of the most alarming aspects was reported by Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen in The Nation on March 12, 2001: “The shuttering of Napster will not achieve the music industry’s goals because the technology of music-sharing no longer requires the centralized registry of music… that Napster provided. Freely available software called OpenNap allows any computer in the world to perform the task of facilitating sharing; it is already widely used.”
For publishers, this raises the specter of a Napster-like online sharing site for electronic books that might emerge in the future, using OpenNap-style technologies. Some e-books can already be found on peer-to-peer netw…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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