From The Digital Reader:
Paul Durrant, a fellow ebook enthusiast whom I know through MobileRead Forums, decided last week to push Kobo to explain the specific details of the T&C we all agree to.
Kobo’s contract with users is fairly standard boilerplate, and there was one particular clause which says that a “Registered Users” cannot share the ebooks, yada, yada, yada. It’s boilerplate, but if you cannot guess what it says click on the link above.
The thing is, the only person who is “Registered Users” is the one whose name is on the account. So naturally this raises questions about whether someone’s spouse can use the account. Now that is an interesting question, isn’t it?
A straightforward reading of the T&C says that you cannot share an account between several people, something which is quite common.
Paul wanted to know if that was really what Kobo meant to disallow when they wrote the contract. And after he sent several emails and received 2 irrelevant replies, this was what he was told:
Legally, only the account holder has license to use the material.
That’s a very interesting answer, because it means that there are potentially millions of Kobo users currently in violation of Kobo’s T&C. They are all at risk of having their account closed and losing access to their ebooks.
But what’s even more interesting is that apparently Kobo expects you to buy a separate copy of an ebook for each person in your household who want to read it!
Heck, that’s something I didn’t even do for paper books, and it’s certainly not something I’m going to start doing for ebooks. And while I’m sure it’s some publishers wishing for this more than Kobo, this still came from Kobo customer service and the Kobo T&C.
Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Eric for the tip.
Tech companies typically don’t think about their Terms and Conditions becoming the source of bad publicity. In fact, nobody from Marketing or PR even reads the things. From PG’s extensive experience with inside counsel at tech companies, he guarantees that almost none of these otherwise skilled lawyers ever considers customer backlash when drafting the T’s & C’s.
That may change.