I don’t know why it is, but sometimes when Cory blogs about an ebook issue he takes a side and makes stuff up in support of his position. And I can prove it.
There’s a new post over on Boing Boing today that simply took my breath away. Cory covered the recent BREIN/digital watermark story that Torrent Freak broke earlier this week, only Cory is describing the story in terms that have no connection to reality:
In the Netherlands, ebook sellers have announced that they will retain full reading records on their customers for at least two years, and will share that information with an “anti-piracy” group called BREIN (a group that already has the power to order Dutch ISPs to censor the Internet, without due process or judicial oversight; and who, ironically, were caught ripping off musicians for their anti-piracy ads).
I am not often shocked by the insanity of anti-piracy efforts, but this one has me agog. As a former bookseller, I can’t believe that people in the business of putting books into readers’ hands would casually spy on their customers’ reading habits, and, worse still, turn them over to a sleazy third party with a track-record of bullying, corruption, and censorship.
His description doesn’t even have a vague pretense of being accurate.
The contract covers customer info like names and mailing addresses, not their reading habits.
Are the ebooksellers going to pass along the bookmarks, highlights, and annotations created by a customer? Is BREIN also going to get the pages read, stopping locations, and other data? That, folks, are a customer’s reading habits.
A digital watermark can’t even be used to collect that type of info – it’s simply technically impossible.
What’s more, he slams the ebookstores for tracking their customer’s reading habits when he has absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Heck, for all we know they don’t even have the ability.
I am frankly appalled that Cory wrote that tripe, but I am not surprised. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen him make stuff up in support of a story.
I first noticed this pattern back in March when the news broke that WHSmith was having trouble properly labeling ebooks on their website. Due to a bug WHSmith was telling customers that all the ebooks they sold had DRM, even though that wasn’t true.
But that’s not how Cory reported on the story:
Yeah, that’s not in any way factually correct, which is what I wrote at the time (in a tweet to Cory and also in my post).
What’s even worse is that his posturing on ebooks has spilled over into other stories that have absolutely no connection and where ebooks are not relevant. Here’s one example:
One, that’s not true, and two, that story had to do with Amazon mucking up an account. eBooks had nothing to do with the problems Amazon caused.
In case it’s not clear, I am not criticizing Cory for his position. For the most part I agree with him, but I also have strong objections to his methods. They are unnecessary.
The worst part of this, IMO, is that there was no need to make stuff up. There have been plenty of stories in the past couple years where one could accurately report the facts and then take a side (anti-DRM, anti-Big Brother, etc). There have been so many stories that I don’t think I can link to them all.
I don’t know why he feels the need to do this, but I do wish he would stop. Surely I am not the only one who has noticed, am I?