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[publishing] The value of ebooks; or contents vs container

The perennial “ebooks should be free, charging for them is theft” argument is now playing out at io9.com. Still thinking through the licensing issue I raised recently, I said the following:

When you buy a print book, you aren’t buying the content, you’re buying the edition. Otherwise everybody who bought a hard cover would be entitled to a free paperback, a free audiobook and a free movie ticket if the book were filmed. It would unethical for you to steal the paperback, pirate the audiobook and sneak into the movie. Why is it ethical for you to pirate the ebook?

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