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Take Clean Reader App Out of Your Store!

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Clean Reader Violates an Author's Moral Rights

Clean Reader is an app that allows readers to quickly and easily cover up or replace offensive language in books. While the app itself is free, the customer must purchase books from their partners at Page Foundry and Inktera. Therefore, Page Foundry and Inktera power the Clean Reader app.

Clean Reader Doesn't Seek Permission from Authors Whose Altered Works They Profit From

Clean Reader states that they have specific contracts with authors, but such contracts do not exist. When authors give Page Foundry or Inktera permission to list their books they are in no way agreeing to have the content of their books altered as per Page Foundry’s terms of service. Herein lies the crux of the matter, Clean Reader attempts to skirt copyright law by providing a technology that places an overlay over the original manuscript, but the end result is the same: The book's context and the spirit in which it was written is forever changed when the book's text is displayed inside their app. 

Further, since the app requires a product to be purchased in order to function, it is not a free app as advertised but one that makes money by altering copyrighted material distributed through their catalog without the express consent of the authors. This is a clear violation of copyright laws and opens the door for litigation.

Inktera’s terms of service state specifically that:

[Unless otherwise expressly authorized in this Agreement, any reproduction, redistribution, transmission, sale, broadcast, public performance, sharing, rental or lending, adaptation, sub-license, modification, promotion, commercial use, sale, transfer, assignment or other use of the Content provided through the eStore or its Services, including, without limitation, any use that requires a synchronization license with respect to the underlying musical composition, is a violation of copyright law and is expressly prohibited.]

Indeed, Clean Reader has specifically avoided seeking the  explicit permission of authors whose books they carry. Authors who discover their writing has been censored by this technology without their knowledge or consent are left to "opt out" (AFTER THE FACT). At no point were Authors contacted or advised that by agreeing to have their works listed on Page Foundry or Inktera they also agreed to allow said works to be censored and modified without their consent, participation or even their awareness. 

Purchased eBooks do not belong to the consumer. When a user buys an eBook they are buying the rights to read it–that is all. Partnering with an eBook provider does not give Clean Reader the right to arbitrarily alter the text of said books without the express agreement of the copyright owner. 

Changing Words Changes Books

Authors write words for specific reasons. They anguish over a sentence so that it expresses exactly the intended idea. Even simply deleting ‘swear words’ alters the very vision the artist has strived to provide. A book and its specific language belong solely to the author who wrote it and should remain unaltered. 

Clean Reader inserts itself as a filter between the author’s words and the reader. This subverts the fundamental rights of the Author to protect their work morally and ethically if not also legally. The creators of Clean Reader are trying to censor works without permission and are using this technology as the method.

Changing words, changes the context of scenes, characters and a book as whole. It is indisputable is that Clean Reader distorts the author's work, and by so doing not only changes the experience of the work but also undermines the author's intention and reputation.

Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords requested on March 25th that all Smashwords titles be removed from Book Foundry and Clean Reader. He wrote, "Books are works of art, and the art is manifested by the author's word choice. You can't block, change or censor words without changing the book. I also think such an app is counter to the best interests of book culture. Books should be judged, celebrated and debated in their naked glory as their creators intended. The sanitization of books IMHO leads to greater ignorance and intolerance in the world. Books don't need sanitization when proper categorization and honest book descriptions will do the trick."

Please take Clean Reader out of your stores. It is morally vile, logically flawed and erodes an author's right to their work. 




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