FTC Publishes Facial Recognition Guidelines – While the FTC can’t impose criminal remedies, it can seek an injunction and a corresponding fine if a company is found to violate a regulation. Because facial recognition software has become so commonplace that even your iPhoto or Facebook can run it, the FTC has sought to reign in uses that might invade one’s privacy “Some of the guidelines the FTC offers seem like no-brainers: Don’t put facial recognition technology “in sensitive areas, such as bathrooms, locker rooms, health care facilities, or places where children congregate,” for example. But beyond that, the FTC wants companies using facial recognition to build their apps and services with “privacy by design,” securing any biometric information captured of customers/users from unauthorized “scraping” by third parties. “ TPM Idea Lab
L’Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter – Six Italian scientists have been sentenced to six years in prison for providing “inexact, incomplete and contradictory” information regarding the tremors that preceded the April 6, 2009, earthquake. Ouch. This sounds like a terrible precedent. BBC News
Outlawed by Amazon DRM « Martin Bekkelund – This blog post which recounted the awful tale of an Amazon digital book reader whose account was closed was passed around yesterday. There is one major error in the article and that was the reference to the customer’s Kindle being wiped. In a follow up, the consumer said that her Kindle had been broken for some time, but that her account had been closed because it had been associated with another account that was closed for “abuse of our policies”. In the past, abuse of policies could be too many returns. Another interview revealed that Linn had bought a used Kindle. By the end of the day, Amazon had mysteriously re-activated Linn’s account.
So what is a reader to do? I recommend backing up. This process can be automated so that everytime you download a book in your Kindle computer app, the computer will create a back up copy and import it into Calibre. Brian author this post on using Belvedere and this is my post for Mac users. If the books have DRM on them, a backup that does not include stripping of the DRM would not be effective. There are DRM stripping plugins for Calibre but I can’t link to them as stripping DRM has not been clearly denoted as legal in the US except in some exceptions.
3 Alternate Explanations for Why Amazon is Forcing UK Publishers to Pay Unnecessary Tax – Amazon is charging a 20% VAT to publishers when it is only required to collect 3% because of where Amazon Europe is located (in Luxembourg which sounds like the U.S.’s Delaware) This VAT charge in addition to other discounts is reducing the amount the publishers receive to less than 10% of the price paid by the customer.
Nate has proposed three theories on this and one of them is that Amazon wants the small press publishers to use Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP is Amazon’s self publishing arm and some small publishers like Entangled are using it to great advantage, passing off large royalties to the authors along with royalties to the editors, publicists, and cover artists.
As I mentioned in the comments to Nate’s post, there are really only three drawbacks to using KDP: Amazon a) can reprice the book at any time and b) include it in their lending library and c) under the price matching clause, if other places discount the book, Amazon gets to as well and then you only get 70% off the discounted price. So if Kobo or Apple discounts the book to 1.99 then you get only 70% of 1.99 at Amazon. It’s essentially Agency pricing with MFN although Amazon can change the terms of the deals at any time. The Digital Reader
The Kill Zone: Et Tu, Amazon? – Amazon is doing something about sock puppetry. Thank god. Of course, a computer generated system is going to have its flaws and Michelle Gagnon is one of the authors upset about this because some of her true fans can’t post reviews any more and she has received warnings. Michelle Gagnon
If the fan has read and reviewed (probably positively) all her other books. That’s apparently one red flag. If you haven’t purchased the book, another flag. If you are friends and trying to review each other’s books? That’s a flag. According to Merrie Destefano, she tried to post a review of one of her friend’s books and one of her friend’s tried to post a review of Merrie’s book and they got the cold shoulder from Amazon.
I’m so glad you posted this! The same thing happened to me. I recently self-published a book on Amazon (I’m also traditionally published, as well.) One of my best friends tried to post a review. It was taken down. I tried to post a review of her book. It never showed up.
Annette Reynolds said:
This is beyond frightening, and the information needs to go viral. I have enough trouble scraping up reviews, and have just recently become involved with an Author Review Group on Goodreads.
Amazon is also threatening to remove books if there are repeated attempts at re-posting rejected reviews. Another commenter had this to say “I used to trust them, but now I wish we had another king. ” I wonder if she has tried to sell her books at other retailers or just hooked up with Amazon like so many other self published authors.
Yes, there are going to be honest positive reviews being taken down, but I’m willing to support this flawed system if it cracks down on the review abuses. I can understand why this panics authors but the actions of the authors in the thread to that post reveals why it is necessary.