Archive for December 26, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Copyright Exhaustion Does Not Apply to E-books

Rory O’Neill:

In a highly-anticipated decision, issued today, December 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that offering ‘second-hand’ e-books for sale qualifies as an unauthorised “communication to the public” under the 2001 InfoSoc Directive.


This is because e-books do not deteriorate with use and are therefore a perfect substitute for new physical copies of the work.

In a way, e-books with DRM do deteriorate because there is always the risk that the DRM provider will get out of that business or stop supporting the platform you care about.

Via Howard Oakley:

According to the publishers in that recent case in the CJEU, you get a perpetual licence (not ownership) to access their copyright content, which never deteriorates in the same way that physical books do. As a result, the publishers claimed successfully, you aren’t free to sell on your licence, and can only do so if they, the copyright owners, agree.


What amazes me about all this is that the many penalties and drawbacks of eBooks aren’t the result of the medium itself, but have been cunningly devised and implemented by eBook publishers. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to license eBooks in the first place.


At one extreme it seems unfair that I could buy a book and then pass it on and eventually the whole world reads it and the creators only got one sale. At the other (and very real) extreme, it seems unfair for my ebooks to die when I do; I can’t bequeath them.

In the latter case, “going out of print” means “when all the purchasers have died, this thing will cease to exist, and you are not even allowed to pay for it to keep it alive”.

Ebooks aren’t only selling less than everyone predicted they would at the beginning of the decade. They also cost more than everyone predicted they would — and consistently, they cost more than their print equivalents.


The case of US v. Apple encapsulates the dysfunction of the last decade of publishing. It’s a story about what we’re willing to pay for books — and about an industry that is growing ever more consolidated, with fewer and fewer companies taking up more and more market share. What happened to the ebook in the 2010s is the story of the contraction of American publishing.


Putting the “Author” in “Authoritative”

John Wilander:

We’ve had a reasonable debate over the right to be forgotten. The next one will be about the right to lie. Not the right to lie in court or as part of some fraud, but the right to everyday lies and white lies. Digital surveillance deprives is of this important part of life.

For whatever reason, I might be ashamed or shy about my age/looks/past/job/health/sexual preferences/race/ethnicity/beliefs/political views/abilities/education/family history etc. It’s valid to lie about such in everyday life. Tracking and ML should not interfere with that right.

Via Peter Hosey:

When we try to automatically verify someone’s identity using whatever scraps of information they’ve given us, or to let them board a plane with their face, we treat the data we have on someone as being necessarily, implicitly the same as their actual truth. We assume/trust/bet that the data we have matches the truth; that they are the same as each other, and therefore the record can tell us the truth.


Back in the present, our system of mass-surveillance/data-brokerage/(whatever facet you want to look at) is one that promises convenience. It promises to enable its users, its querents, to learn (or verify) information about a subject without their involvement (which implies without their consent). It promises to enable the construction of other systems, automated themselves, to fulfill the function of querent, to ask the questions about us that the record-keeping system promises to be able to answer.


The more data we assemble on everyone, the more we can automate. And the automated systems feed data back, and contribute more.


Update (2019-12-27): Sander Van Dragt:

Generally speaking, tracking takes away your ability to represent who you are yourself in the current moment. Your identity is how you are perceived by others. People won’t appreciate this until they’ve lost it, but anyone who has been the victim of for example online bullying or stalking will recognise it.

ClassDumpRuntime and dsdump


My Obj-C classdump library is now open source. It was developed primarily to handle C++ and other less common types. The type parser isn’t the fastest it could be, but in my tests it’s significantly faster than existing parsers.

Derek Selander (tweet):

This article attempts to explain the complete process of programmatically inspecting a Mach-O (Apple) binary to display the compiled Swift types and Objective-C classes[…]


Apple News No Longer Supports RSS


Want to add an RSS feed of a site to News app? Can’t find a site you like in the Apple approved list on News app? No problem, here’s how you can add them yourself from Safari in iOS and subscribe directly[…]

David A. Desrosiers:

Apple News on iOS and macOS no longer supports adding RSS or ATOM feeds from anywhere. Full-stop, period. It will immediately fetch, then reject those feeds and fail to display them, silently without any message or error. I can see in my own server's log that they make the request using the correct app on iOS and macOS, but then ignore the feed completely; a validated, clean feed.

They ONLY support their own, hand-picked, curated feeds now. You can visit a feed in Safari, and it will prompt you to open the feed in Apple News, then silently ignore that request, after fetching the full feed content from the remote site.


Update (2019-12-27): Matt Birchler:

I wish I could remember who it was, but there were some folks who thought I was crazy to use Apple News and an RSS reader since Apple News could aggregate my RSS feeds too. I didn’t use it at the time because I thought it was a bad RSS reader and didn’t do what I wanted. Now I’m happy that I didn’t put my eggs (of feeds) in one basket; a basket that doesn’t have an export option.

See also: Hacker News.

Dave Verwer:

I was all ready to celebrate this change until I realised that the News app still captures the click when you visit an RSS feed, but then just refuses to do anything with it.

Apple News isn’t (what I consider) an RSS reader, yet insisted on capturing every RSS feed I clicked on. Now it’s even worse. Just let it open in Safari like it used to so I can get the RSS URL myself and add it to my actual feed reader. I really hope this gets fixed.

Simon Willison:

What bothers me is that in Mobile Safari the Apple News app still hijacks clicks on Atom/RSS feeds - so if you click a feed icon you’ll be bounced to the News app, which will then display an error message.

I don’t think there’s a workaround for this. Atom links just look broken.

Stefan Arentz:

This is fine, there are plenty great RSS readers for iOS. What is not fine is that Apple News is still claiming the rss:// scheme. What Apple needs to do is implement a proper system wide setting that lets you pick the applications that you want for http, rss, mail, etc.


Stefan Arentz:

On iOS 13.3, tapping on an RSS link in Safari ..

Update (2019-12-28): See also: Hacker News and Slashdot.

Update (2020-01-30): Brent Simmons:

Is there no way, on iOS, to specify the default RSS reader — that is, specify the app that handles the feed and feeds URL schemes?

It looks like Apple News always handles it, no matter what, and then doesn’t actually do anything with it. Which cuts out every RSS reader.

Doug DeJulio:

This is even true if you remove the News app. I did, and when I hit a “feed:” URL, it asks for permission to reinstall it.