piranha: ruri from nadesico says "idiot" (her trademark) (idiot)
[personal profile] piranha
so fictionwise has a new ebook reader for sale. the small print says "Items not shippable to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea."

because... WE DON'T WANT THE AXIS OF EVIL TO READ?

on 2009-12-13 08:46 (UTC)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] hatman
I believe there are trade embargoes involved. "You can't have any of our money or any of our neat stuff until you stop being evil." Which applies even to books.

Also, possibly the axis of evil doesn't want its minions citizens to read non-approved materials.

on 2009-12-13 16:07 (UTC)
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] onyxlynx
That, of course, makes me want to smuggle in a few, if I were going there.

Which I'm not. Drat.

on 2009-12-13 16:55 (UTC)
sara: S (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sara
Legally speaking, my understanding is that a U.S. citizen (or, presumably, a U.S.-based company) can't ship anything at all to Cuba (for that matter, we can't legally go to Cuba; I know someone who went in via a third country, a few years ago, and it was quite an endeavor). It would not surprise me to learn that the same is true of Iran, Syria, and North Korea. That means nothing: no e-book readers, no sacks of rice, no cars, nothing.

I'm surprised they bothered to mention it on the page, but this is nothing new.

on 2009-12-15 00:13 (UTC)
prairierabbit: Bandstand by Illinois River (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] prairierabbit
The only exception, AFAIK, is food and medicine, if it is approved for shipment. I live in a state that has worked to send food crops to Cuba, at least when there has been a shortage.

on 2009-12-13 21:45 (UTC)
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] fairestcat
The actual problem is not that the US has trade embargoes against some of these countries, but that we have arms embargoes against all of them.

Cryptography and cryptographic methods were for a long time classified as "munitions" in US law and thus subject to significant export restrictions. The internet and the proliferation of and necessity for cryptographic technology rendered that fairly impractical and unenforceable, so that has changed now, but there are still interesting and complex restrictions on the export of cryptographic information to "rogue states" and the like.

And of course, e-books are still often encrypted to make piracy more difficult and so e-book readers employ some level of decryption and encryption technology.

Re: eye-roll inducing small print

on 2009-12-13 22:49 (UTC)
eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] eagle
Oh, hey, I didn't even think about that, but yes, of course, that's the explanation. You have to put crypto in ebook readers to do the DRM enforcement, and since crypto is a munition (it still is according to our experiences in Debian and some of the reactions of Sun around crypto code in Java; the only thing that's changed is that there are special exceptions for open source), you can't export anything with crypto to that list of countries.

It is, of course, all remarkably stupid and silly, since the algorithms for doing that crypto (and probably much better crypto than is used for DRM in ebooks) are widely available on the Internet and have been for forever. All the restrictions do are force people to go through ridiculous lengths to include people from Iran or Cuba in legitimate projects, which would, if it were easier, do a lot to weave their countries back in with the rest of the world and probably reduce tensions all around.

on 2009-12-14 00:21 (UTC)
jd: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jd
Yeah, I've seen on several software sites disclaimers that the particular program you're downloading (I can't remember any examples at the moment) is not legal to be downloaded or distributed in those countries.

on 2009-12-13 23:30 (UTC)
jassanja: Please don't take! (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jassanja
Just like I can't send home baked cookies all year to the US, but now in the last three weeks before christmas I can, because terrorists don't put poison in christmas cookies *nod nod*

As someone who worked/s at international customs for shipping, I can tell you there are a lot of crazy import/export law out there, but the US always manage to be the most fickle, as when/how some of them apply

on 2009-12-14 06:06 (UTC)
jassanja: (Happily Morbid)
Posted by [personal profile] jassanja
seriously? good grief. that is just silly

Actually is rather sad if you have an US custom officer seriously telling you on the phone that no terrorist would dare to put a biological weapon in a christmas cookie, because that would make Baby Jesus cry....

on 2009-12-14 17:15 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] dragonwolf
*facepalm*

That would be so much funnier if it wasn't so sad on so many levels.

on 2009-12-15 01:27 (UTC)
jassanja: Please don't take! (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jassanja
Pretty much my reaction as well

on 2009-12-15 15:05 (UTC)
maize: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] maize
If I had to guess, I'd say that the encryption/decryption technology used to allow the device to read DRMed books is illegal to ship to those countries.

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