Cory Doctorow, one of the few bloggers who didn’t return emails during my Kindle investigations, has posted his thoughts on the Kindle at Boing Boing. Doctorow says that he won’t be buying it because “it spies on you, it has DRM…, it prevents you from selling or lending your books, and the terms of service are nearly as abusive as the Amazon Unbox terms….”
Well, that’s all fine and dandy. But it still doesn’t explain why Boing Boing is listed as one of the Kindle blogs. It would appear that Doctorow prefers profit over principle. If Doctorow truly wanted the information to be free, then why did he sign on for Kindle in the first place? Based on all the evidence dredged up, it appears that the participants had at least nine months to say yes for this thing. In one case, a blogger was able to negotiate a private agreement. Further, Boing Boing was in a very close position to determine information, seeing as how John Battelle, the founder and chairman of Federated Media, is also the “band manager” for Boing Boing. So it’s not as if Doctorow didn’t have rampant opportunity to examine the Kindle’s specs, much less negotiate an airtight agreement.
Further, Doctorow remains conspicuously silent about Amazon stealing content from other blogs and distributing it and selling it without permission from bloggers. You have to wonder how Doctorow would feel if the roles were reversed or if he weren’t collecting a small sum of cash. While it’s true that Doctorow hasn’t shrieked, “Thanks Amazon for all the cash!,” I still find his “contrarian” post diffident and supremely hypocritical.
A true activist stands by his principles. For the record, a few major publishers have offered me considerable money to advertise on Segundo, with the proviso that I only interview their authors. One even suggested that I could download leftover audio snippets of authors from their digital archive and I could edit my questions in. I found this to be quite unsavory, and I politely declined these offers.
Doctorow is clearly a technological enthusiast, and it saddens me that he would rather use his position in the blogosphere to uphold corporate hypocrisy. It seems that Boing Boing isn’t about looking out for the little guy. It’s about looking out for Number One.
(Thanks, Christopher, for the head’s up.)