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OMG PIRACY!

August 8, 2012

A bunch of authors with no idea how LendInk.com worked thought that this was a piracy site, sent Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices and cease-and-desist letters, and got the host to kill the Web site. Perhaps LendInk.com will be back in the future, if it isn’t already (it’s been a few minutes since I checked), but maybe not.

I own a Kindle Keyboard, which is a fantastic way to read books. With the Kindle, I can:

* Buy ebooks from Amazon (and other sites, like Baen)

* Borrow ebooks from participating libraries through Overdrive.com (no late fees because, at the end of the lending period, the file is automatically "returned").

* Borrow one ebook per calendar month through Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). I may borrow one at a time, and I can get only one each month no matter what time of the month I borrow.

* Borrow and lend lending-enabled ebooks through Amazon. (In fact, you don’t need a Kindle or Fire to do this; you can use Amazon’s free e-reader apps.)

Lend Ink offered that last option; if you own the ebook, and if lending is enabled (a decision that’s left to the author or publisher), you can loan that title to somebody else. Oh, and if you’re a Barnes & Noble Nook user, Lend Ink users also loaned Nook-compatible titles.

Lend Ink, just like another, almost-identical site I use, did not host the ebook files. They were not pirating anything. They used Amazon’s ebook database, as a matter of fact. The site existed to pair borrowers and lenders so we could get our hands on ebooks. When users were matched up, the transactions took place at Amazon. That’s well within the rules and is not piracy in any way, shape, or form—authors/publishers consented to this lending feature, which borrowers and lenders used in ways that Amazon’s terms and rules deemed acceptable. 

Also:

One: Authors/publishers can opt out, making their titles non-lendable.

Two: While one of my purchased ebooks is out on loan, I can’t access it—just like when I loan a printed book to a friend.

Three: After the two-week lending period, the title is returned to my virtual collection. I cannot loan that ebook to anybody else ever again; the limit is one per title. Period.

Some authors hadn’t taken the time to read their contracts with Amazon. Instead, they merrily signed without making sure that they first understood the terms to which they were agreeing.

So, when some of these authors found out that Lend Ink exists, they thought, "OMG PIRACY" and started complaining. The site’s host shut down Lend Ink, as said Web site’s owner explained in this blog post.

Reading-comprehension failures abound over at Kindle Boards, where some authors refused to read what had been stated in the thread before spewing nonsense. I truly hate when somebody else’s willful ignorance ruins a good thing like Lend Ink for everybody. I suppose these clueless authors will go after the other lending sites next instead of, I don’t know, opting out of lending if it bothers them so much.

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From → Books

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