Dec 8, 2022

Chris Hoofnagle on Book Digitization and Ownership

From LA Times

Column: Here’s why you can’t ‘own’ your ebooks

By Michael Hiltzik

The internet engineer and entrepreneur Brewster Kahle took a shot at the book publishing industry a few weeks ago by pointing out something well-known to technologists but unappreciated by the general public: that ebooks and other digital artifacts have shorter lifespans than the physical items...

By downplaying the terms of sale, ebook purveyors such as Apple and Amazon are plainly misleading their customers, law professors Aaron Perzanowski of the University of Michigan and Chris Hoofnagle of UC Berkeley wrote in 2016. “Sales of digital media generate hundreds of billions in revenue, and some percentage of this revenue is based on deception,” they wrote...

Perzanowski and Hoofnagle called on the Federal Trade Commission to force publishers to “align business practices with consumer perceptions.” That still hasn’t happened. Until it does, insurgents such as Kahle will have an incentive to test the limits of copyright law by taking it into their own hands.


Chris Hoofnagle is a professor in the UC Berkeley School of Information and School of Law. He also serves as faculty director of the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity. 

Last updated:

February 17, 2023