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DRM and the Destruction of the Book 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the reading-is-fundamental dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "EFF reports that Cory Doctorow spoke to a crowd of about a hundred librarians, educators, publishers, authors, and students at the National Reading Summit on How to Destroy the Book and said that 'anyone who claims that readers can’t and won’t and shouldn’t own their books are bent on the destruction of the book, the destruction of publishing, and the destruction of authorship itself.' Doctorow says that for centuries, copyright has acknowledged that sacred connection between readers and their books and that when you own a book 'it’s yours to give away, yours to keep, yours to license or to borrow, to inherit or to be included in your safe for your children' and that 'the most important part of the experience of a book is knowing that it can be owned.'"
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DRM and the Destruction of the Book

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  • Silly me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:59AM (#30604392)

    And here I was thinking the content of the book was the most important part.

    • Re:Silly me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:40AM (#30604584)

      And here I was thinking the content of the book was the most important part.

      To be frank, you've missed the point. The content is just something that you use to achieve something. To be happy, to be sad, to share something with your friends. To fix your car; any time you want. To know what is wrong with your pet hamster and how to heal it. To learn to ski better. Up till now it has also been used to achieve richer authors but with very specific limits.

      The aim here is to use control of the content to be able to tax your ability to do all those things I mentioned above and more. When you remember something from your hamster book about a strange rare disease, you'll have to buy the same book all over again because now Amazoid E-Reader IV doesn't support the books you bought for your now broken kindle. Even if your book reader is still working, your key to the content will have long ago expired. If you are really unlucky, they may force you to buy the upgraded new edition.

    • Re:Silly me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:22AM (#30604876)

      When my granny died, her grandchildren were asked what knick-knacks of hers they wanted as keepsakes... I asked for a very old, red leather bound Robinson Crusoë that I remembered reading reverently with her as a kid, awed both by the story and the object, which was so much more impressive than my usual paperbacks or modern kid's books.

      So, to me, the object counts, too. Some are signed gifts, also.

      And, the idea is that I can give (very unlikely) or loan that book. I couldn't with an ebook.

      And I'm safe in the idea that it's forever mine, I'll hopefully read it with my nephew some day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ISoldat53 (977164)
      I got a nook for my brother for Christmas because he can't physically hold a book. I buy audio books and ebooks both. If the book is something worth reading again I buy the hard copy. ebooks are much less expensive than the regular format. I think this is an important feature that most of the discussion has overlooked. With all of the crap being written these days I don't want to keep a copy lying around. Audiobooks are great because they let me do something while I'm listening to a book. Another feature
  • Prior Art (Score:4, Funny)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:03AM (#30604402) Journal

    God spoke. He wants His commandments back. It might get very wet for a long time.

    • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:10AM (#30604422) Homepage

      Being able to give away, bogart, lend or to borrow, pass as inheritance, or roll up and smoke a book is possible because the book is yours because you own it and the Doctrine of First Sale [ucla.edu] formalizes these possibilities.

      One of the many things wrong with digital restrictions management (drm) technologies is that it tries to do an end run around the democratic process and eliminate these rights, some of which are codified in the Constitution [cornell.edu]. Some would assert that not only is the constitution the foundation upon which the country has been built, but also that it represents freedom and democracy itself. So these affronts by Bill Gatesists and the other 'freedom-hating' (tm) digital taliban, can be considered as affronts to the US itself if not also to higher ideals.

      It may sound harsh to some fanbois, but step back and take off that 'with a computer' clause and see if what they are doing is acceptable. If not, then you know what to do.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:31AM (#30604534)

        You conveniently forget that without these necessary DRM restrictions, nobody will be bothered to actually write articles and books in the first place. The same points you make were also claimed when DRM was applied to music - thankfully the technology has succeeded in this industry and put a stop to the years of silence and dull parties that previous generations had to endure.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by selven (1556643)

          You conveniently forget that without these necessary DRM restrictions, nobody will be bothered to actually write articles and books in the first place.

          Citation needed.

        • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:43AM (#30604606)

          Ya, I know. Projects like Wikipedia or Creative Commons just wouldn't work if the contributers weren't getting paid.

          Likewise, until the invention of intellectual property rights and copyright, no art was ever created. It's fortunate that we discovered these laws, or the world would have remained indefinitely with any music, art or literature.

          And the quality is really the difference. Trash created pre-DRM like Mozart or Wagner just can't compare to the majesty modern DRM'ed works like Justin Timberlake or Britney spears.

          These laws and systems are not only the sole protection of artistic creation, but they ensure a much higher standard to every art form.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by schon (31600)

            I love you, and I want to have your baby.

          • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@NoSPAM.gnu.org> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:06AM (#30605958) Homepage

            Trash created pre-DRM like Mozart or Wagner just can't compare to the majesty modern DRM'ed works like Justin Timberlake or Britney spears.

            Might there be a selection bias going on? We don't preserve everything from "back then"; we sure don't listen to all of it. I predict that in the future, people will still listen to, say, The Beatles. Or Elvis. Or rock out to that riff from Smoke on the Water. Maybe some Michael Jackson song will be preserved.

            Not all old music was great. Not all new music is crap. Not even all good new music is worth preserving for ever. But some is.

            The real problem is that record companies have shifted their function. It used to be that they discovered and selected talent; now they "produce" talent.

            South Park tells a story about this too; see the Guitar Queer-o episode: "The next time you bring me some talent, make sure they're talented". And then in Fingerbang: "These are The New Boys from the Back Alley Zone. They're the new hit." (I'm paraphrasing the name.)

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:43AM (#30604600) Homepage Journal

        What Doctorow says about books applies to music and movies as well. For decades, records and tapes were yours to loan, share, give away... you OWNED them.

        The constitution says that Congress can give a "limited time" monopoly on publishing to "authors and inventors". Period. It was included to protect authors and inventors from publishers. It gives Congress no power to protect publishers from anyone.

        Yet, somehow in the 1950s the record companies got copyright law to let them screw over the artists, making phonorecordings automatically "works for hire".

        If you want to pirate a Cory Doctorow book, just go to his website. They're available there for free download in many formats. The same goes for Lawrence Lessig's books, on his website. I urge everyone to read Lessig's book Free Culture. His and Doctorow's books are available under a Creative Commons license.

        The Constituton is, in fact, the cornerstone of all US law. However, Congress ignores it and the Supreme Court lets them. Of the four boxes, we'd better start being more effective with the first three before we're forced to use the forth.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:07AM (#30604416)

    Cory's Sacred Ancestors (or whoever the hell he was referencing) didn't have a clue about what effect the scanning and distribution of a book to 100,000 strangers on the Internet would have on the publishing industry.

    • Zhnore... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, that's what the church thought too when the bible was translated and the pressess started running. It'd surely destroy them.

      Same as records destroyed the music industry, and home recording, and VHS, and CD-burning, and DVD copying, and Bluray copying, and.. There's an oddly long history of continuous destruction of the publishing business, yet somehow they're still around to pester us with DRM!

      What pray tell ARE the effects?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Yeah, that's what the church thought too when the bible was translated and the pressess started running. It'd surely destroy them.

        It might have if theology were all that they offered, but they also offer community.

        Same as records destroyed the music industry,

        Records severely deprecated the sheet music industry, which would probably have been eliminated altogether by the internet and free music [score, tab &c] sharing sites if they had not somehow managed to convince the legal system that every instantiation of a collection of notes are the property of the sheet music publisher.

        and home recording, and VHS, and CD-burning, and DVD copying, and Bluray copying,

        All of these have a certain built-in hassle factor. You actually had a better chance of a properly

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:01AM (#30604712) Homepage Journal

      Cory's Sacred Ancestors (or whoever the hell he was referencing)

      He was referencing the founders of the United States who write its constitution. And your "effect the scanning and distribution of a book to 100,000 strangers on the Internet would have on the publishing industry" is entirely bogus. It is a positive effect, not a negative one. Doctorow gives his books away for free on his website, yet is on the New Your Times bestseller list. Care to explain that one, Einstein?

      He explains why in the forward to his book Little Brother. There's no way you're going to buy a book by an author you've never heard of, but there's no risk in checking one out from the library (there are way more than 100K libraries, each with a copy for everyone to check out and read), and if you like the author's work, THEN you're likely to buy.

      Nobody ever went broke from piracy, but many, many artists and authors have gone hungry from obscurity. Your argument is as bogus as Jack Valenti's "the VCR tape is to the movie industry what Jack the Ripper is to women". You see how that one worked out.

      Valenti's and your statements are entirely false, have been proven false, and there is not one shred of evidence that there is any truth whatever to them. Logic alone should tell you they're bullshit.

    • Cory's Sacred Ancestors (or whoever the hell he was referencing) didn't have a clue about what effect the scanning and distribution of a book to 100,000 strangers on the Internet would have on the publishing industry.

      Scribes didn't have a clue about the effect the printing press would have on their profession.

      Even if you're right, and the publishing industry as it stands today dies, so what? Or do you long for the days when books were wildly expensive and very few had access to them because they had to be copied by hand? New technology kills industries, new ones take their place.

    • by pmontra (738736)
      And why should we care about the publishing industry? Authors will keep writing even without an industry to feed and people will keep reading what they write. It has been like that for thousands of years so it's a viable model of business. People working in the publishing industry will find another job as any worker of companies that are run out of business by better competitors or shrinking markets.
  • I tend to agree with him some, but there is simply too much music, art and knowledge out there to take in the old fashioned way. and if you do own the physical media it becomes a clutter and storage nightmare

    i don't buy too much ebooks but in the last few weeks i bought a MS SQL T-SQL ebook app on my iphone to read on the train to work and some pdf's from mannning books. and the convenience factor is very nice in not carrying around the extra weight

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

      I tend to agree with him some, but there is simply too much music, art and knowledge out there to take in the old fashioned way. and if you do own the physical media it becomes a clutter and storage nightmare

      i don't buy too much ebooks but in the last few weeks i bought a MS SQL T-SQL ebook app on my iphone to read on the train to work and some pdf's from mannning books. and the convenience factor is very nice in not carrying around the extra weight

      That's true, PDF's and electronic books in general spare you the storage nightmare. On the other hand I hate reading PDFs off a computer screen and I have yet to find an electronic device that didn't suck as a ebook reader and that statement covers purpose designed ones like the Kindle as well. Perhaps if that rumored Apple tablet turns out to be more than just vaporware I'll have cause to reconsider... although... now that I think about it I rather doubt it simply because with these eBook readers they can

  • yesterday i also downloaded 100 free kindle books from Amazon. even if i were to buy them the chances of reading a book a second time in the near future after the first reading are slim to none. if the price is lower than physical than buying an electronic DRM'd book is no big deal. by the time my son grows up there will be more books to read so i don't really care if he never reads any of my old Tom Clancy books. besides, how often do kids do the same things as parents?

    • by peragrin (659227) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:21AM (#30604476)

      yea but with ebooks technically letting your wife read the book is illegal and wrong and she has to buy her own copy.

      40 years from now your kids are all grown up, and you pass away in your sleep. As they go through your stuff, they pick up the tom clancy paper backs and think about how you used to read them. Or they find a non working ebook reader and the DRM prevents them from knowing what kind of books you liked to read.

      Pick one. It will happen. no one lives for ever. Memories must be preserved some how. DRM laden technology will prevent it.

      • by selven (1556643)

        2045: Clinical immortality is invented! Also, technology can manipulate the brain now!

        MPAA: License "Shrek 9", keep memories of the video for 5 years ($35), 10 years ($55) or 20 years ($85). BTW, our "life + 75" copyrights last forever now.

      • by alen (225700)

        with amazon you can have multiple devices on the same account. with apple itunes it's up to 5 computers and i don't know what the limit is for iphones, ipods and apple TV's. wife and I buy an app once and put it on our iphones. no problem.

        your theory is flawed since as DRM has increased the amount of art, cinema, music and literature has increased as well. there is simply too much art to take in these days. Hulu is DRM'd and yet they give away the content for free. same with cable TV. the signal is encrypte

      • I'll go with the second option. No one in my family needs to see my gigantic collection of women "riding" horses.
      • by alen (225700)

        in fact i'm browsing the Steam store now and you are wrong. the content is all DRM'd but publishers like Lucasarts are selling 15 year old PC games there that people loved back in the day and it would be impossible to sell them at retail since sales would be so low. Lucasarts has also released their classics on the iphone. i'm playing Secret of Monkey Island. DRM and electronic distribution lowers the cost of entry for content that would otherwise never see the light of day because the cost of selling physi

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Sheesh. Epic comprehension of nature and scale of problem fail.
  • by argStyopa (232550)

    "The most important part of the experience of a book is knowing that it can be owned"
    Huh?

    I thought that perhaps the story told within said book is slightly more important than the media.

    Then again, having bothered to (try to) read some of Doctorow's mystifyingly much-lauded short stories, perhaps I can understand his point of view would be different.

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:29AM (#30604524)

      Doctorow is a pundit first, and a story-writer, oh, somewhere around seventh or eighth. Bill O'Reilly writes novels [amazon.com], too. But nobody reads them because they want to sit down with a good mystery, they read them because they are a fan of the pundit's punditry and buy up everything associated with his "brand."

    • by burne (686114) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:29AM (#30604528)

      Last time I checked the message was firmly attached to the medium. I have 250 year old books who still confirm to that basic principle.

      In your eagerness to outsmugg Doctorow you missed his message completely, focussing on the medium itself. I 'own' a couple of e-books from the palmpilot-era which, thanks to DRM, are unreadable now. I can remedy that with an emulator, but the current generation of DRM 'promises' online checks which will fail when technologies change or companies fail.

      I get to keep the medium, a bunch of scrambled bits, but somebody will steal the content of DRM-ed books, one day.

      DRM will destroy books. Individual ones, and 'book' as generic term. Knowledge will no longer be transfered, it will be rented out for a limited time only.

      • by alen (225700)

        at the rate prices are falling who cares?

        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:00AM (#30604708)
          You have obviously never read "1984". Either that or you don't quite understand its implications.
          If there are no permanent records that are immune to alteration (hint: no electronic record is immune to alteration), those who can alter the records determine what is history and what is fantasy.
          • by alen (225700)

            i've read it, several times. physical book every single time and i don't think it ever changed. even saw the movie.

            from what i remember there was no digital distribution system in the book and they simply rewrote paper copies and destroyed old copies of newspapers and whatever. just like today, people throw away the newspaper after reading it so you can change the past in future news. and i don't keep every copy of every newspaper i ever read.

            with a digital distribution system it makes "1984" a little harde

          • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:31AM (#30606280)

            The truth can be buried in a big pile of disinformation. Goebbels proved that and Orwell observd it. Nothing really new there.

            If you want to believe that history is "determined" by people who "alter the records," more power to you. I'd rather believe that history is intelligently designed by 45 people who work at the Wal-Mart in Branson, Missouri.

      • by tthomas48 (180798)

        Don't worry too much. It's defnitely something we should push for, but it'll go the way of Apple's DRM. The content providers don't want a single book store, so there will be competing DRM formats. The inevitable cheap hardware clones won't want to pay for the DRM licenses. The DRM will go away and we'll be back to an open format.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I thought that perhaps the story told within said book is slightly more important than the media."

      Of course. But you only get to find that out if you can read it.

      Worst case, if publishers had their way it might someday be possible for them to withdraw a book from publication (like Amazon and '1984'), and all the existing copies would go "poof". It's the digital equivalent of a good old fashioned book burning. And while the story may be more important, it's kind of a moot point if the nature of the media

  • by Tei (520358) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:16AM (#30604460) Journal

    Everything is consensual. Whe share ideas and needs, and make deals.
    No, I don't want to buy the idea of books as licenses, I like the idea of ownership of the phisical book, with the strings attached to give it to other people, even make a copy. The idea that I don't like, is to elevate a inventation to the sacred level. We born in a blank slate, almost everything is learned, and everything that we learn was invented or created. Theres nothing superior to us, sacred, where we ower fidelity.

  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:26AM (#30604500)

    A physical book has a sort of built-in DRM! If you give it away, you can't read it anymore. It can't easily be copied (it requires a lot of scanning and printing to do that). Isn't that kind of thing also part of the intention of DRM?

    IMHO though, the world has changed, we now live in a world where information can be copied without any physical restrictions. So I hope that one day humanity will be able to live in that world, instead of trying to enforce old ways onto us with DRM. I'm sure that in a world where information can be copied freely, there can also be culture, people who make money, artists, and so on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      Well, sorta. Of course, "DRM" (Digital Rights Management) isn't really a relevant term, but there are certainly reality-based restrictions on copying a paper book. In most cases, it's cheaper to buy another copy than it is to make your own copy.

      But your point is well-taken. A physical book allows you unfettered access to one and only one copy of itself. If you give it away or if it's stolen or destroyed, you've lost it.

      And, yes, that thinking is very much part of the intention of DRM. If you buy one co

  • for the most part i agree with him, but what did they say?

  • Basically, he is saying that when we buy a book, it belongs to US to do with what we want. BUT, with the new DRM files, you do not own the item. Not the content. Not a paper. Not even the CD. The reason is that NOW, the gov. and courts are putting limits on what, who, when, etc. of what is OUR belonging.
  • While I appreciate reading books I much more enjoying using my local public library than spending a shitload of money on books whose value depreciates faster than .. well anything. And yes I know I am paying for those books through my taxes, but the range and depth of the libraries catalog far surpasses anything I could achieve if I spent the same amount of money privately.

    So I am confused now - I support reading books, but don't support maintaining a huge private library. Does this mean I am bent on des

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Lending libraries are in fact the perfect application for DRM, because it gets you out of having to return anything while still respecting the publisher's exclusive right to distribute copies. My lady has been taking advantage of our library system's membership in an online audiobook rental system, which is quite convenient (and accessible even over dialup connections on an overnight timescale, although now we have low-grade broadband.)

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:42AM (#30604598) Homepage
    I have many books that I got as a child, and several that my parents had as kids. I read them to my own kids. I will give some of them to my kids where they may be read to my (future) grand kids.
    1. Will e-books allow this ?
    2. What happens when the reader breaks or is replaced by a new model, will the e-book work ?
    3. What happens when the e-book manufacturer goes out of business or simply decides that it is not worth while to support the reader or the books that I have paid for, will I be able to read them ? (This happened in August 2008 when MS stopped support of MSN Music, so you lost the ability to recover your keys if they became corrupt through no fault of your own).
    4. What happens when the e-book gets old and runs out of copyright, will you be able to give a copy to anyone who asks ?

    I suspect that the answer to all of the above questions is: no.

    • by alen (225700)

      not 100%, but with free virtualization on the desktop and soon on mobile phones a reality keeping old software around for decades to come shouldn't be as hard as say 15 years ago

    • by javelinco (652113) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:33AM (#30606304) Journal
      Let me start out by saying that I agree with you. And it's a good argument - it gets the emotional parts of the issue right out in the open. However, I see some things here that are going to be used, effectively, as a counter argument:

      1. How many books do you own that you can pass on to your children? How old are those books?
      2. Have you ever had a book destroyed through wearing out, getting destroyed by dog, fire, water, etc.?
      3. Have you ever lost a book, had it borrowed or stolen?

      I'm sure you can all see how these questions erode the argument. And the counter argument, pushing the statistical likelihood of a book being lost or destroyed before passing it on, versus the DRM getting screwed up - it's not very powerful. No one knows the real answer to that question - but people think they do - and so the argument loses those who already have an opinion.

      Just some thoughts.
  • by nenya (557317) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:59AM (#30604696) Homepage
    ...why anyone takes Cory Doctorow seriously?

    He's a political activist and passable young-adult sci-fi author who contributes to a geek blog. He's an expert on nothing. He has not formally studied anything. He mouths off about copyright all the time, but his grasp of law and legal history is laughable. Yet he consistently makes headlines for saying asinine things about subjects about which he has no expertise.

    How do I get people to pay me for saying stupid things about fashionable subjects? What he does is way more glamorous and takes way less actual, you know, effort than what I do.
    • by old_skul (566766)
      Agreed. When I saw this article my reaction was "Oh look, the blowhard is at it again."

      He should stick to blogging and the occasional soapboxy young adult book.
    • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:31AM (#30604962) Homepage Journal

      He mouths off about copyright all the time, but his grasp of law and legal history is laughable. Yet he consistently makes headlines for saying asinine things about subjects about which he has no expertise.

      How do I get people to pay me for saying stupid things about fashionable subjects?

      Hilarious irony. You claim he has no expertise on the subject of copyright and then asks how you can get paid for stating your opinion. Doctorow's expertise on the subject is precisely that he manages to get paid while giving his books away, which is something authors in favor of DRM books claim they couldn't possibly do.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cornicefire (610241)
      Is anyone buying any longer? The last time I checked, his book _Makers_ wasn't selling very many copies at Amazon despite the endless ads on BoingBoing. I think everyone is used to getting him for free.
  • This is worse then Nazi Germany / USRR with remote Censors and a way to tack who has what book.

  • I took up Cory's offer and created an iPhone version of _Makers_:

    http://www.wayner.org/node/66 [wayner.org]

    Please send along any comments about the interface.

  • Isn't it about time for a "Oh-no-it's-Cory" tag?
  • by KwKSilver (857599) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:35AM (#30605006)
    This kind of stuff would have made Winston Smith's day job so much easier. Rewrite history then push it out so as to override previous copies. And the rulers of the Fahrenheit 451 world could simply revoke the digital certificate of ... every book or every book with ideas they want suppressed. Sound like the media cartels' wet dream? It is, it is. And that of would-be tyrants? Even more so.

    I was getting halfway interested in the Kindle until the 1984 debacle. That shows that DRM has a much darker potential than its proponents will ever acknowledge. Fuck all that shit. (Not picking on Amazon; I like it and have had an account there for years.) Corporations cannot be trusted to have any interest in freedom of any kind for the public. No doubt their accountants would show it as a negative (if intangible) item on their balance sheets.
  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:11AM (#30606042)

    This is a good place to point out that Amazon unilaterally had all copies of 1984 deleted from all customer's devices, totally screwing many people up in the process. Sure the refunded the purchase cost. Big deal. They also apologized later for doing it. But this sent a very clear message that they cannot take back: They can trash your 'property' on a whim, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it as long as you abide by their DRM restrictions.

    They say they won't do it again. Sorry, but once trust is lost, is VERY difficult to regain.

    At least, it is for people who actually pay attention and think. What upsets me the most is that most consumers don't care enough to change their purchasing habits even after they've been bitten.

    Except in very rare circumstances I avoid audio CDs, after what Sony did. I also don't buy Sony products anymore. Sony should have But when I see how many people still purchase Sony products, how PS3s are flying off the shelves, it makes it really hard to care. When the forementioned incident happened with Amazon, schadenfreude is the best description of how I felt. There have been SO many well reported incidents across SO many industries, that people have effectively waived their right to be outraged when such things happen to them.

    Society at large flat out doesn't care. Those that know what's going on and care enough to do so will ALWAYS find a way to crack things like DRM so that they can at least protect themselves. Those that choose to ignore the damage that DRM causes, can go cry in their rooms because they should flat out have known better.

    I can only hope that if enough people get hurt by DRM they will eventually complain loudly enough to stop this nonsense.

  • Quirks and eBooks (Score:5, Informative)

    by kagaku (774787) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:23AM (#30606206)
    My first run in with eBook "quirks" didn't take long to happen. I received a Kindle for Christmas, and having already scouted out some prospective books to purchase I had some novels in mind. The first book I read was Flood by Stephen Baxter - I just finished that last night. Flood is followed by its sequel - Ark (by the same author). However, upon trying to buy Ark I couldn't find it anywhere on the Amazon kindle store. I recalled seeing it when browsing before (that's why I bought this series first, because I noticed both books were available in kindle editions) - however now it was missing. Trying a few different things, I logged out of my Amazon account. Low and behold, the ebook appears for sale! Kindle edition and all - however I noticed a very small notice (almost fine print) below the "Buy with 1-Click" button that read: "Due to copyright restrictions, this title not available in the United States". WTF! It took changing my address to that of a Canadian friend of mine in order to be allowed to purchase this book - thankfully they still accepted by US-addressed credit card.

    Copyright restrictions and such on sale of books/music/movies is extremely stupid in my opinion. In the end all it took was changing my address twice - once to Canada and then back - but it's the principle of it all. I'm happily reading my book now; a book that just to purchase I had to be dishonest about where I lived simply so I'd be allowed to purchase it.

    DRM is another issue I'm worried about, however with the advent of tools to strip the Kindle and nook DRM, I'm not to worried about moving my books to a new platform once a better read becomes available.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:30AM (#30606266) Homepage Journal

    When ever I think of the book being replaced by its digital equivalent, I think of a scenario 200 years from now after a war destroys a whole nation. The people coming in to see what they can find a library with eBook readers and paper books. The paper books are still a little dusty, but everything on that civilisation up to the first decade of the 21st century is documented and available. The eBook readers on the other hand are another story, with publisher no longer in existence and DRM still in place, the content simply complains that the book can't be read dues to "text license expiry". 200 years of information on this society has now been lost to the sands of time.

    Certainly this scenario is a little negative and could occur for other reasons, but the point I am trying to make is that convenience makes for a shitty legacy, especially with DRM in place.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:45AM (#30606422) Homepage

    is not having to pay for it. Once someone has it in digital form, without some restrictive DRM, it can be shared freely with the planet. That means I can get it for free, without paying. No money.

    If Cory sees his financial future in people having his written works without paying for them, good luck. Freedom is nice, but eating is nicer. Freedom can be enjoyed a lot better with a full belly.

    Now there is no reason a copy-limited work cannot be resold. There are ways to manage this that do not prevent resale or other transfers. The problem is that if you allow "loaning", "backing up", "format shifting" or anything else that allows multiple copies to exist at the same time you will also have "sharing". And once you have sharing, you will have redistribution. And redistribution means nobody has to pay.

    Right now, any ebook that is pretty popular can be found on various sharing web sites. And do not for a moment think that my Kindle is somehow immune to displaying these "shared" ebooks because of something Amazon did. Nope, I can read these shared books on my Kindle.

    Hope you like working for free Cory.

  • My $0.02 worth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @02:12PM (#30608566)

    I read fifty (50) plus books a year, and have since about 1987.

    I keep some, re-read some of my faves three or four times.

    When I am "done" with a book, it gets donated to a local library or given to a friend with an interest in such books.

    IMHO, DRM in combination with the stupid copyright extension act passed some years ago, to me means that more and more books (whether they are entertainment only, or text books or whatever) that should make it into the public domain may never be seen again in any form, of then than already existing books, which will deteriorate over time.

    There should be a law requiring that any book published (real book, publication, etc. whether "real" or electronic), non-DRM protected electronic copies should be forwarded for safeguarding by the Library of Congress and at least 8 (if not more) of the major libraries in the country. That way, once the stupid extended copyright expiration happens, these can then be released to the public domain properly. In other words, make it possible for the books to made public domain, as opposed to being obliterated entirely from human knowledge.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

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