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Help the FSF fight for user freedom!

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The Danger of E-Books

In an age where business dominates our governments and writes our laws, every technological advance offers business an opportunity to impose new restrictions on the public. Technologies that could have empowered us are used to chain us instead.

With printed books,

Contrast that with Amazon e-books (fairly typical):

Even one of these infringements makes e-books a step backward from printed books. We must reject e-books until they respect our freedom [2].

The e-book companies say denying our traditional freedoms is necessary to continue to pay authors. The current copyright system supports those companies handsomely and most authors badly. We can support authors better in other ways that don't require curtailing our freedom, and even legalize sharing. Two methods I've suggested are:

E-books need not attack our freedom (Project Gutenberg's e-books don't), but they will if companies get to decide. It's up to us to stop them.

Join the fight: sign up at http://DefectiveByDesign.org/ebooks.html.


  1. See both my speech “Copyright versus Community in the Age of Computer Networks” and my 2012 open letter to the President of the Brazilian Senate, Senator José Sarney, for more on this.
  2. [2019] To show our rejection of Amazon's e-book reader, we call it the Swindle.

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