A Few Licensing Issues with Amazon

Many of the technologies we use every day come with a license agreement of some sort.  You might not even realize that it’s so because of where you are in the transaction chain – either as a buyer or as a seller.  Content, for instance, is created, licensed/sold, packaged, re-licensed/re-sold, bundled, re-licensed/re-sold, and on and on so many times that you can hardly figure out who actually created much of what you read online.  This is important, especially insofar as you want to be sure of who is providing the information that you use to make decisions, but also because as information is licensed/bundled/re-licensed over and over, it’s possible that the content creator isn’t getting what they earned as part of the transaction (namely, credit/attribution and/or payment).

Several services have popped up recently that are allowing content to move from one format to another – especially on Amazon-related products and platforms (ie: the Kindle).  More specifically, Amazon is now allowing blog authors to license content for packaging and distribution on the Kindle, with the blog author receiving about 30% of the revenue generated from the license price.  So, if I were to want this blog to be available as a Kindle subscription for say, $1.99, I would get $.31 for every subscription.  But there’s a problem, Amazon has a license agreement that I would have to accept in order to make this happen.  And this license agreement also gives Amazon the right to bundle and resell my content in other forms, too, without paying me for it at all.  [For a full conversation on this, see this great post by Edward Champion.]

Additionally, Amazon’s current system doesn’t actually even check to see if I’m the owner of the blog I’m submitting into the Kindle Blog service!  So I could create an account, submit any of your blogs as my own, and in just a few clicks, create Amazon entries for your blog’s content – even competing with the “real” listing (if you so happened to have agreed to the terms as well and started using the service).

So, for the record, while I love Amazon for a bunch of reasons, this blog is NOT being made available as a Kindle subscription.  It is, however, being posted ON Amazon as part of Amazon’s author services… so you can read the individual postings if you go to the Software Licensing Handbook page at Amazon.  But if you happen to see it on your Kindle device, you’re paying someone else for stolen content.

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