How Losing Your E-Book Reader Could Get You In Trouble

A new agreement targeting Dutch content publishers involves linking an e-book's digital watermark to the purchaser's account. That way, if a copy of the e-book ends up on a pirating site, the publishers will know who to come after.

How Losing Your E-Book Reader Could Get You In Trouble

What's the Latest Development?


E-book consumers in the Netherlands who buy their purchases legally may soon have to be very careful where their files end up: A distribution agreement between publishers and e-book platforms may require e-book files to have a digital watermark that can be directly linked to the buyer's transaction and account. If such a file is discovered on a pirate site, the watermark will lead the publishers straight to the buyer. The agreement, which will affect both new and past purchases, requires e-book sellers to capture and store buyer information for between two and five years, and to report that data if a file is found online. A third party, anti-piracy agency BREIN, will store digital transaction records.

What's the Big Idea?

Writer Jeffrey Van Camp illustrates the implications: "Imagine if someone stole your book on the subway and ended up giving it to someone else. Now imagine that the police...found that stolen copy and saw that it had 'owned by [Insert Your Name Here], purchased at Barnes & Noble' in the cover....Now imagine Barnes & Noble decided not to let you buy any more books because your copy was distributed illegally."

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