iBooks, DRM, Copying & Fair Use

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
Any Lawyers here? I'd like to explore a class-action lawsuit against Apple for infringement of fair use of copyrighted material in iBooks.

Most of my reading is done for the purpose of research. Apple has a feature within iBooks that allows me to highlight a passage and copy/paste it. However, this feature is disabled on copy protected books purchased through iBookstore.

To my view, this is prior restraint on protected activity. Its application materially harms my ability to use copyrighted materials as allowed by laws governing the fair use of such materials.

Thoughts?
 

darngooddesign

macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
9,310
210
Atlanta, GA
...Thoughts?
I think its ridiculous that everyone automatically blames Apple.

The DRM was probably the publishers ideas, so your suit should be with them, this is especially true if not all of the iBooks bookstore's books have DRM.

As a side note, Apple already has an anti-DRM precedent. They, Apple and Amazon, forced the music labels to drop DRM from the iTunes Store.

If you are in school, you will probably have graduated before a CA suit yields results.
 

diabolic

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2007
1,572
1
Austin, Texas
I think its ridiculous that everyone automatically blames Apple.

Since the DRM is not universal, your lawsuit should involve the publishers, not Apple.

As a side note, Apple already has an anti-DRM precedent. They, Apple and Amazon, forced the music labels to drop DRM from the iTunes Store.

How about you take some of the responsibility for purchasing a device that you can't use fully. How did Apple make you buy an iPad?
I'd agree that Apple isn't at fault and shouldn't be the target here. The functionality is available. I'm certain it's a publisher decision.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
I'm sure a lawsuit would include both publishers and Apple. Does Apple employ the restriction a priori on every copyrighted book or is it selectively used on only those books specified by specific publishers?

And btw, this isn't me hating on Apple. These are important questions as we enter this new realm of technology where an increasing number of books are delivered in eBook format. Apple could even choose to join such an action against publishers.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
Your proposed suit isn't really on the mark anyways. You're just complaining that it's more difficult to use a printed reference due to some sort of DRM that disallows straight copy/pasting. Nothing's actually preventing you from using that material by just typing out whatever it is you want to use.

Are you proposing a suit on the same grounds against print material, that also doesn't let you copy/paste text?
 

skubish

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Feb 2, 2005
2,669
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Sorry buddy but you have no case. Fair use just means you are allowed to use passages from copyrighted material. It doesn't mean Apple has to provide an easy method to do so.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
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SoCal
Most of my reading is done for the purpose of research. Apple has a feature within iBooks that allows me to highlight a passage and copy/paste it. However, this feature is disabled on copy protected books purchased through iBookstore.
As opposed to real books where copy and pasting is simple? So you're complaining that you can't highlight.

And what is the damages suffered? If highlighting is a problem, then buy the printed copy of the book, no one is stopping you.

I would give you a cookie for your efforts but it was already given out.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
Your proposed suit isn't really on the mark anyways. You're just complaining that it's more difficult to use a printed reference due to some sort of DRM that disallows straight copy/pasting. Nothing's actually preventing you from using that material by just typing out whatever it is you want to use.

Are you proposing a suit on the same grounds against print material, that also doesn't let you copy/paste text?
Sure, I get the distinction. I think the question remains.

Again, this isn't hating on Apple; I agree that the end target is publishers, but insofar as Apple may be complicit in an activity that restricts legal use that question should be determined.

Lawsuits are not merely punitive; they also serve the purpose of clarifying the law. As I said, Apple may even choose to join such an action.
 

darngooddesign

macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
9,310
210
Atlanta, GA
To be fair, I do hope that the restriction on c/p from eBooks is lifted. Fair use has not been eliminated as you are still able to use the content for research, but...

Traditionally, you would xerox the page, set it next to you and key in the content. If you can't print pages from iBooks, there is no equivalent method on a single window device like the iPad. Proofing your research would be a major hassle as well.
 

rorschach

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2003
2,062
584
Um, you can still retype the passage yourself. Nothing prevents you from doing that.

No law requires Apple to provide you with the means to copy passages from books. Otherwise they would have been violating the law before 3.0, because those OS versions had no copy and paste at all.

And there's the question of whether fair use is a "right" at all, or simply a defense to an accusation/charge of copyright infringement.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
To be fair, I do hope that the restriction on c/p from eBooks is lifted. Fair use has not been eliminated as you are still able to use the content for research, but...

Traditionally, you would xerox the page, set it next to you and key in the content. If you can't print pages from iBooks, there is no equivalent on a single window device like the iPad.
Bingo.

Wasn't it a good thing that DRM was lifted for music in iTunes? I think bringing pressure here serves that same beneficial purpose for the iBookstore.

It doesn't, though. Your right to fair use is not being infringed upon in any way other than a technical process that can be easily circumvented, thus you have no case.
I'm not as certain on this point as you are. Let me ask you though, are you saying that you wouldn't wan't the ability to use the feature universally?
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I'm not as certain on this point as you are. Let me ask you though, are you saying that you wouldn't want the ability to use the feature universally?
Now I'm the one that's confused. Lawsuits deal with questions of law, not with questions of desire. You can't bring about a class action lawsuit just because you "want" some feature or because you feel entitled to it.

I personally don't care about copy/pasting DRM on the iPad because I don't have an iPad. I can see lack of copy/paste being annoying, but it's still only a minor roadblock if you actually need to use the material.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
No law requires Apple to provide you with the means to copy passages from books. Otherwise they would have been violating the law before 3.0, because those OS versions had no copy and paste at all
Except that even then the lack of the feature was being universally applied. Here it is being selectively applied.

Anyone know how the kindle handles this?

Now I'm the one that's confused. Lawsuits deal with questions of law, not with questions of desire. You can't bring about a class action lawsuit just because you "want" some feature or because you feel entitled to it.

I personally don't care about copy/pasting DRM on the iPad because I don't have an iPad. I can see lack of copy/paste being annoying, but it's still only a minor roadblock if you actually need to use the material.
I'm not suggesting that desire is a basis for the lawsuit; I'm just exploring your reaction here. Is it rooted in a desire to protect Apple? Publishers? Content creators?
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,610
35,070
USA
Except that even then the lack of the feature was being universally applied. Here it is being selectively applied.

Anyone know how the kindle handles this?
They only have certain books in their bookstore. Accessibility isn't universally applied.

Some kindle books are permitted to be read aloud while others block the feature.

The above to examples and yours all fall into the category as that's how it is. It's not illegal. They aren't preventing you from hand typing anything.

And APPLE isn't selectively doing anything. The publishers are.
 

bradg33

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2010
45
0
Um, you can still retype the passage yourself. Nothing prevents you from doing that.

And there's the question of whether fair use is a "right" at all, or simply a defense to an accusation/charge of copyright infringement.
I think this is one of the key questions. Is "Fair Use" an affirmative legal right, or is it merely a defense? If it's merely a defense, you have no "right" to use the material and can't prevail in a suit for being denied such access.

Further, it's not really much different that PDF's that haven't been OCRd on your computer. You can't copy and paste from those.

As others have said, the inability to copy and paste isn't infringing on your right, if it is a right, of fair use; all that the lack of this feature does is fail to assist you in exercising that "right." You are still free to use the material, you just have to manually re-type it just like you would have to if it were a hard-copy book.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
I personally don't care about copy/pasting DRM on the iPad because I don't have an iPad. I can see lack of copy/paste being annoying, but it's still only a minor roadblock if you actually need to use the material.
2 points:

You don't care at all about questions of fair use? Just because you don't currently own an iPad?

Yours and other responses here seem to assume that prior technology (printed pages) should be the guiding principle here. I don't. I suddenly live in a world where ebooks are my norm & copy/paste has long been a norm in the digital world.

I think the knee-jerk reaction to defend Apple here (Hey! I'm a fanboy too!) is causing some to argue positions they might otherwise not take. No?

In the not too distant future, many books will ONLY be available as ebooks; there won't even be a printed version. If I can't print the page, and I don't have two computers side-by-side, how will I even copy that which I'm allowed to copy by law?

Making a task onerous so as to discourage legal use should violate fair use in my view.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,075
963
New England
If I can't print the page, and I don't have two computers side-by-side, how will I even copy that which I'm allowed to copy by law?
The old fashioned way? Pen and paper. (a.k.a. the only way you were able to make copies from any book before the advent of the photocopier in 1949).

B
 

bradg33

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2010
45
0
2 points:

You don't care at all about questions of fair use? Just because you don't currently own an iPad?

Yours and other responses here seem to assume that prior technology (printed pages) should be the guiding principle here. I don't. I suddenly live in a world where ebooks are my norm & copy/paste has long been a norm in the digital world.

I think the knee-jerk reaction to defend Apple here (Hey! I'm a fanboy too!) is causing some to argue positions they might otherwise not take. No?

In the not too distant future, many books will ONLY be available as ebooks; there won't even be a printed version. If I can't print the page, and I don't have two computers side-by-side, how will I even copy that which I'm allowed to copy by law?

Making a task onerous so as to discourage legal use should violate fair use in my view.
While you make some valid points here (though I don't necessarily agree with them), you're still operating under the assumption that fair use is an affirmative right. I'm not so sure it is.

Also, you take issue with the idea of not having 2 computers side by side in order to copy the text and being unable to print the page. What if you're at a library that doesn't have a copy machine? Is the library violating fair use by not allowing you to copy the page so that it's easier to make "fair use" of the material? Also, with a computer (iPad/e-reader aside) you can multi-task. Word processing window on one half of the screen, text on the other. I can do that even on my 13" MacBook Air. The iPad is far, far, far from meeting "normal" computer standards and by design isn't really made to write research papers.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
You don't care at all about questions of fair use? Just because you don't currently own an iPad?
Did I say that?

Yours and other responses here seem to assume that prior technology (printed pages) should be the guiding principle here. I don't. I suddenly live in a world where ebooks are my norm & copy/paste has long been a norm in the digital world.
I'm not going to try any further to convince you that your lawsuit is frivolous. Go see an attorney, maybe you'll listen to them when they bring up the exact same points myself and others have brought up. It's your time, not mine.

In the not too distant future, many books will ONLY be available as ebooks; there won't even be a printed version. If I can't print the page, and I don't have two computers side-by-side, how will I even copy that which I'm allowed to copy by law?
You'll open a word processing program on your computer and type. Just like you would normally.

Making a task onerous so as to discourage legal use should violate fair use in my view.
DRM is ostensibly to prevent illegal use, so you're not going to get far down that avenue either.