The fallout from last week’s LendInk incident rumbles on. The site’s owner Dale Porter has defended the site, insisting that it was doing nothing wrong in facilitating legitimate ebook lending, while one author who initially tweeted against the site claims to have received threats from anonymous readers. In short, this whole saga is threatening to turn into a colossal mess.
The facts seem to be fairly clear. A group of authors mistakenly believed that LendInk was enabling piracy. They worked together and, according to Porter, were able to get the site’s hosting company to suspend the site. But in reality, LendInk was working 100% within the rules of lending that are established for ebooks on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In other words, a legitimate site was helping authors reach new readers through a lending arrangement that those authors had (perhaps unwittingly) agreed to, and now the site is down with no ETA on its return.
Piracy is obviously a huge problem, but so is the tendency of many people (not just authors) to just click the ‘I have read the terms and conditions’ button when they publish and not actually take time to consider the terms of the agreement they’ve just accepted. Sadly, it looks like everyone loses in this story: readers lose a site that allowed them to lend to one another, and authors lose a site that could have helped them reach potential new customers.