Regarding that oblivious Australian online retailer Cudo, co-owned by Microsoft and Channel Nine, that offered a cheap reader bundled with a CD full of hot, piping stack of copyright violations, it looks like there’s some positive movement.
Here’s a nice piece on the matter from The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper (disclosure: I was contacted by the reporter for background information). The gist of it is that Cudo a) asserts it is not going to ship the copyright violating discs and will apparently upgrade the eBook readers while they’re at it, b) is trying to shift the blame for their screw-up to the vendor they were working with on the sale, c) is getting pummeled for its idiocy by publishers and the government. Here’s a relevant quote from the piece, from NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts: “I don’t believe that group buying sites can walk away from quality or compliance of the goods and services sold through their sites.”
Spoken for truth, Minister Roberts. Due diligence is not a particularly novel concept. The time for Cudo to kick this stupidity to the curb would have been before it blithely offered up thousands of copyright violations, not after thousands of folks paid for them. The fact that this ridiculous CD of copyright violations made it out for sale suggests that the people at Cudo are either ethically challenged or incompetent, or both. It’s nice that folks were around to complain loudly and publicly enough to get some forward movement on this, and to get Cudo to act in the interests of writers, however grudgingly. But it’s not at all clear, given the site’s earlier actions (like removing a link to the listing of the works on the copyright-violating CD from their sales page, but not the sales page itself, which continued to advertise the CD as part of the package), that if Cudo hasn’t been embarrassed into doing something — and faced with potential lawsuits, let’s not forget that — it would have done anything at all.
In short, this episode has not left me impressed with Cudo at all. I’d like to chalk this up to stupid mistakes. I’m not entirely sure I can.