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Penguin Yanking Kindle Books From Libraries 206

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the every-time-you-share-jesus-kills-a-kitten dept.
New submitter moniker writes "Penguin Group is removing Kindle ebooks from libraries using Overdrive citing 'security concerns' as a weak excuse, while most likely taking a shot at Amazon. One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content."
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Penguin Yanking Kindle Books From Libraries

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:23PM (#38130862)

    This seems more like a grab for money from book sales than anything technical. Has there really been security leaks coming from online readers?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:28PM (#38130896)
      All forms of DRM for ebooks will always be subject to pilfering. Such is the dirty secret of DRM and the built-in excuse for companies to yank their content whenever they feel like it suits their business agenda.

      There needs to be a safe harbor for libraries where they can make an owned paper book accessible however they want, including digitally.
      • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:10AM (#38134172)
        Not necessarily. The problem with DRM is the "rights" it protects are the content providers. My opinion is that once you purchase content it should become yours and DRM should protect your rights. i.e. if Amazon fucks up and discovers they sold 1984 when they weren't supposed to, tough they're going to have to settle a lawsuit with the providers since any content they sold no longer belongs to them to control. If Penguin sell some books to a library and doesn't like how the library lends their books then tough they'll have to go through whatever publisher / library arbitration mechanisms exist because they can't yank / revoke stuff out there already.

        The best thing that could happen is if someone like the EU were to enshrine these rights in law and force providers to conform, i.e. that when you buy a book you are buying the book, not just a licence and that there is a mechanism to sell a book with a nominal processing fee. And also that all electronic content sold should be held with decryption keys in escrow in an open format so that subject to court order, or to platform collapse that the owner can retrieve it. Better yet if there were a single platform across all devices that managed the concept of ownership and transfer of ownership.

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:31PM (#38130916) Homepage

      It's easy to strip the DRM out of the files.

      Also, my local library supply audio books that you can download from home straight to your PC/Mac using Ebsco. You can take out the audio books for as short as one day. The software downloads the MP3 files to a hidden directory, I found they have no DRM attached. Copy paste to a new directory, you have the audiobook forever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SpiralSpirit (874918)
        people who can strip the DRM from the books can get the books elsewhere. Those who can't most likely won't.
      • by Digicrat (973598)

        The same thing is true for the MP3-based audio books from OverDrive. Overdrive has a nice little quirk in it though that you can't actually renew items - only delete them and check them out again. If downloading to a mobile device, this can be slow and also seems to delete any reference to where you left off in it.

        I now just use OverDrive to download the books, but then open the MP3s in my phones native app to listen to them - which has a better interface when driving to. Now, is it still a violation of

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Our local library uses overdrive, and we have DRM-enabled mp3 players which support WMA as well. The WMA books don't expire off the device even though it supports it!

    • by jvin248 (1147821)
      This is just another last gasp of the traditional publishers. Independents are scooping huge percentages of electronic sales, and electronic formats are growing while dead tree sales are falling. Check out Konrath jgordonsmith.com locke. The traditional publishers are afraid, but the writers who have all the content creation power, get a higher percentage of sales to go alone. The amazing thing is the writers are closer to the readers.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Overdrive is trivial to strip the DRM and keep a copy of the book. It's based on Adobe's DRM setup that is so badly broken it's a single click to strip it.

  • How do you separate 'selling content' from 'business model'? Content IS the business model.

    • by magnusrex1280 (1075361) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:33PM (#38130940)
      Content is a thing that exists, whether you have a business model or not. Business model is the system or method you use to make money from a product or service, in this case the product/service is e-reader content.
      • by bws111 (1216812)

        The point is that the 'drm is not about protecting content but business models' is stupid. There is no need to protect the content if it is not part of the business model.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      I would have to disagree with this. You have your content, but now you need to distribute it. Your model can be old-style physical book publishing, electronic distribution, or just post it up on a website for free. With electronic you can then have DRM or no DRM. So while content is part of the model, it is not the entire model since you have to take into consideration things like the distribution channel(s) that I pointed out above. And don't forget marketing.

  • by chispito (1870390) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:36PM (#38130962)
    The editorializing in the summary, however, is so heavy-handed as to be absurd.

    ...citing 'security concerns' as a weak excuse, while most likely taking a shot at Amazon. One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content.

    • by JimMcc (31079)

      It was a bit heavy handed, but if you read the article (Yeah, yeah. I know. Slashdot readers never....) you would fine the quote "...fueling speculation that Penguin’s actions may be directed at Amazon,"

      But heavy handed or not, the point is a valid one.

  • What the Hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:38PM (#38130976)

    "Penguin Group is removing Kindle ebooks from libraries using Overdrive citing 'security concerns' as a weak excuse, while most likely taking a shot at Amazon. One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content."

    (Emphasis mine)
    I try not to criticise submissions, but what the hell? I don't care what was done by whom, I thought Slashdot was above such flagrant editorialism.

    For shame.

    • Re:What the Hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rick Zeman (15628) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:40PM (#38131002)

      "Penguin Group is removing Kindle ebooks from libraries using Overdrive citing 'security concerns' as a weak excuse, while most likely taking a shot at Amazon. One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content."

      (Emphasis mine)
      I try not to criticise submissions, but what the hell? I don't care what was done by whom, I thought Slashdot was above such flagrant editorialism.

      Are you new here??

      • Are you new here??

        Not so new that I haven't seen that joke a hundred times or cracked it myself more than once. Just because it's been going on for a while doesn't make this sort of 'red top' reporting acceptable.

        You must have skin much thicker than mine, honoured elder.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by gmhowell (26755)

          Are you new here??

          Not so new that I haven't seen that joke a hundred times or cracked it myself more than once. Just because it's been going on for a while doesn't make this sort of 'red top' reporting acceptable.

          You must have skin much thicker than mine, honoured elder.

          No, newbie douche, the failure is on your part. What you state here is not what newcastlejon objected to above where you said:

          I thought Slashdot was above such flagrant editorialism.

          The only possible explanation is that you are new around here. Slashdot has never been above such flagrant editorialism. The site is founded on such, and has been like that since day one.

    • Re:What the Hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:51PM (#38131080) Journal

      Question is, does the spin make the editorialized statement any less true?

      I find it disturbing that the answer is, well, "no".

    • ...set the tone and scope of a posting when the subject is laden with conflict of interest. In this case it's DRM.

      IMO Penguin's smokescreen deserved that backhanded comment and I do not consider it out of place on Slashdot.

  • Idiotic summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:39PM (#38130988)
    How is it that we're still not clear on the idea that the content (creating it, using a publisher to find a market for it, charging for it, and making money from that process) is the business model. People who create content for the pleasure of doing so give their work away all the time. There's plenty where that came from. Mechanisms to prevent people from ripping off content don't matter to people who don't have an interest in the content-selling business model.

    Creative people who deliberately join up with a publisher, label, studio or other partner to handle their business affairs while they go about continuing to write, record, film and whatnot - they have decided to embrace a particular business model: not doing it for free. Whether or not every or any DRM tool is ideal or practical is beside the point. The issue is that there are people who create things (books, games, movies, music) for a living if they can find an audience, and charging for copies of what they create is the business model. If they can't find anyone to buy it, that's too bad for them. They need to work harder or choose better partners. But if people simply rip them off because it's fairly easy to do so, that's not a comment on the creative people, it's a comment on the people who like to make little entertainment slaves out them.

    The submitter's silly implication - that DRM is ever used for any reason other than because being ripped off isn't part of the business model - is, well, silly.
    • Re:Idiotic summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:07PM (#38131208)
      Value is created by scarcity, and there is simply no natural scarcity of books in this century. We are trying to build walls into our technology so that we can pretend that we still live in a previous century, which is just absurd. We no longer buy stamps to do things like pay our bills or send personal letters, so why are we so worried about whether or not the book publishing system remains relevant?

      Sorry, but if people want to make a living writing books, they will need to find a new way to monetize that. We cannot allow the Internet to become a maze of walls and restrictions, we cannot have our computers monitor what we do, all for the sake of keeping an old business model alive. Sorry if you are an author who is not creative enough to monetize your work in this century without tricking everyone into ceding control of their computers to you.

      At one time we had people whose job was to tell stories around the campfire; then we discovered that stories could be written down, and storytellers who failed to adapt had to find new lines of work. Now selling books is an obsolete business model, because we have computer networks that can make nearly unlimited copies of any written work at high speed; writers who fail to adapt will have to find new lines of work.
      • by bws111 (1216812)

        The scarcity is works worth reading, not the number of copies of books. Copyright was created to help eliminate that scarcity. Authors who write for money (which no doubt includes many very respected and/or popular authors) will just find something else to do if they can't make money off their writings. And that will be a loss for all of us.

      • I want your creative entertainment for free.

        You could have saved a lot of typing.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "We no longer buy stamps to do things like pay our bills or send personal letters,"

        You dont know anyone in the military then. WE buy stamps rapidly and send personal letters daily. and every single person that has a loved one overseas right now does the same. Just because your tiny view of the world does not is not an indicator that the rest of the world does.

    • by Forbman (794277)

      Funny thing about parenting... children tend to live up to the expectations put on them. Same goes for people.

      Expect everyone out there to be conniving thieves, and set things up that way to "prevent" that? Well, they'll act like...conniving thieves.

      The business model by the content creators is to have someone else deal with the business, aka, The Publishers.

      The business model of the publishers, however, does not seem to be "let's adapt to the marketplace", but to try as hard as possible to get the marketpl

    • Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Burz (138833) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:52PM (#38132010) Journal

      they have decided to embrace a particular business model: not doing it for free.

      You are soft-pedaling a profit motive that prefers to monopolize markets. We have seen for-profit publishers associations attack people who create and use public domain, GPL and creative commons works - even attacking the very idea of the public domain in legislation and insisting that the tech sector is “mobilizing to promote ‘Copyleft’ in order to undermine our ‘Copyright.’”.

      Bodies like MPAA, RIAA, Sound Exchange, ASCAP, GEMA have taken an increasingly hostile stance toward any author who is not under contract with established publishing corps even when the content is being offered for free. People who publish under CC and public domain are being DOS'ed with undeserved DMCA and 'three strikes' notices.

      It is your mamby-pamby presentation of for-profit publishing that is idiotic.

    • Dude's right. EOL.
  • Oh, well. Whatever. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Turmoyl (958221) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:41PM (#38131004)
    Who cares? There is plenty of content, including new material, from more user-friendly publishers out there. Let Penguin learn from what I hope is an expensive lesson.
  • DRM = bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slazzy (864185) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:46PM (#38131044) Homepage
    This is why I refuse to ever buy ANYTHING with drm, music, software or ebooks.
    • by Forbman (794277)

      I'm not that far. I'm perfectly happy buying electronic versions of books from Pragmatic Programmers - they come watermarked with my info. At this point, it does feel like mine, and there is no value-add for me to share it randomly, nor to look into ways to strip that watermark that consists of "from the library of..." on each page. I can run it through a PDF-to-Kindle app, if I really want it on my Kindle.

      But, the key concept from PragProg is that it feels like mine. There's no other DRM in their eBooks th

  • by majesticmerc (1353125) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:48PM (#38131052) Homepage
    The dastard! He plans to bring illiteracy to Gotham!
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:03PM (#38131172)

    When was DRM not about protecting business models? The book and movie industries apparently think they are different from the music industry who has (mostly) learned that if they sell content in a form people want and at a reasonable price, people will buy it. Charge too much or make it too hard to get and people will find other ways to get it. I bought a lot of CD's through the original mp3.com, then after the music industry shut it down, I stopped buying music and have never bought a single DRM protected song... but have picked up a few mp3 albums after non-DRM music started becoming available. But sadly, it's still often cheaper to buy a used (or sometimes new) physical CD and rip it myself than to purchase an electronic album.

    • by reub2000 (705806)

      Makes sense. I used to buy all of my music from emusic until Amazon started selling MP3s. While I was getting my music fix from emusic the big guys where losing out on selling me music. I don't think most people want to deal with the hassle of DRM, and in most cases it does make things more complicated for the user.

  • Is it just me... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:32PM (#38131458)
    or does anyone else find it frustrating that /.ers are in favor of unlimited property rights except when they go digital? Seriously. If you just suggest that maybe, just maybe, that we as a society shouldn't allow Apple Computer to sit on 85 billion dollars then you're drowned out in a chorus of "It's THEIR money, let them spend it however they want!". But make it digital, and you've got the same people decrying the evil of buying the White Album for the 15th time.

    I guess what I'm ticked off about is, I'm watching our civilization regress to pre-Renaissance levels of wealth inequality and all anybody cares about is the Beatles...
    • by mdmkolbe (944892) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:53PM (#38131650)

      And I'm sure those /.ers are just as frustrated when you act as if information is a form of property subject to the same rules as physical goods.

      • If you can sell it, it's property. You can sell copyright, so it's property. You own what you can sell. You can disagree over whether it's a valid property right, whether it's good for society. But if you can sell it, it's a property right.
        • by mdmkolbe (944892) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:03AM (#38132908)

          Things that you can buy/sell but that most people wouldn't call property:

          • Education
          • Legal advice
          • Delivery of a letter or package
          • Medical treatment
          • Advertising
          • A hair cut
          • Maid services
          • Someone choosing to settle out of court instead of suing you
          • A judge's favor (i.e. bribery)
          • etc.
    • by proxima (165692) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:23PM (#38131872)

      does anyone else find it frustrating that /.ers are in favor of unlimited property rights except when they go digital

      First of all, slashdot is not a monolith. Different people will pipe up in different conversations to say their bit.

      Second, there is a fundamental difference between physical property rights and intellectual property rights. The former is inherently scarce (e.g. if you force Apple to do X with its money, it can't do Y with the same money, in general). The latter is not (e.g. my copy of an ebook did not prohibit anyone else from having a copy of an ebook).

      This is why some people (I'm not necessarily among them) object to using the word "stealing" to refer to copyright infringement. A copyright holder doesn't "lose" money when someone downloads content illegally, but they do, potentially, lose a sale. For some industries this distinction is important (various professional-level software packages don't bother pursuing pirates, because they know that it will increase its market share to sell to their real customers, the businesses which will pay hundreds for a software package).

      Keep in mind that the purpose of intellectual property laws (patents and copyrights) is to encourage innovation. A temporary monopoly gives people a (greater) incentive to create original works, knowing that they can try to extract value from their creations. This inherently limits the rights of others, who would otherwise be able to use and build upon works in the public domain.

      The trouble is that this model has been breaking down on a few levels from its original intent. The first is that copyright extensions have kept works from entering the public domain for quite some time. The second is that patents on some inventions, especially software, are/were often granted with too little deference (one can argue) to prior art and "obviousness". Instead of encouraging innovation by small players, big companies amass patents in a kind of cold war against other big companies, and keep small businesses from being able to enter (because in many industries it's basically impossible not to be sued for patent infringement for something). You see entire company purchases made just for the building up of patent portfolios (arguably a large part of Google acquiring Motorola, for example). This isn't innovation, it's a new cost to doing business in these industries.

      Do I subscribe to all of the above? No. But it's not inconsistent to strongly believe in physical property rights but think that intellectual property rights have gone too far.

      Finally, it's fine to argue that wealth inequality is not an ideal outcome. To describe it as "pre Renaissance" is to imply heading into the dark ages. Within the western world, even fairly poor people live much better than the richest of that era, by most reasonable measures. To say that "all anybody cares about is the Beatles" when the news is plastered with the Occupy Wall Street protests rings pretty hollow to my ears.

    • by LordLucless (582312) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:40PM (#38131970)

      or does anyone else find it frustrating that /.ers are in favor of unlimited property rights except when they go digital? Seriously. If you just suggest that maybe, just maybe, that we as a society shouldn't allow Apple Computer to sit on 85 billion dollars then you're drowned out in a chorus of "It's THEIR money, let them spend it however they want!". But make it digital, and you've got the same people decrying the evil of buying the White Album for the 15th time.

      No, those two views are perfectly harmonious.
      "It's THEIR money (they earnt it), let them spend it however they want" = "It's MY content (I bought it), let me use it however I want"

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:15PM (#38132478) Journal

    The summary declares, without any evidence whatsoever, that Penguin's motives are not what they say, and furthermore that this is "One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content." If the examples are evidentially supported to the same degree as this one, then exactly how sure can we be about the trend? How much evidence do we have, in total, towards the hypothesis that companies do not use DRM to protect their content?

    I'm not trying to take the companies' side here. It just frightens me that the standard of evidence required to become slashdot fact is so very low. Once you believe something to be fact, it will influence your beliefs, and what you believe to be fact in the future. If one starts accepting facts with such a low standard of evidence, the bullshit can snowball until the most tenuous of hypotheses can seem so sure that one will defend it against anything but the most blatant of contradictions. I've seen it many times, and I've had it happen to me before.

    Here's another topic to think about. Everyone knows that the government is simply eating out of Big Corporation's wallet, right? How do they know this? Think back to all the times you think you've seen examples of this, and really consider the following questions: "Is this the only explanation that this at all likely? Can you find some kind of contradiction in the version of events that they offer? Did you even listen to their version of the events?". While seemingly disproportionate mistrust of government is vital to democracy, it doesn't hurt to fact check once and a while!

    Thank you for reading. I hope you take some of this on board.

  • It's a digital file! You're not lending anything! You're making a copy. all the data is being copied. You're just arbitrarily blocking access to someone.

    We complain about "intellectual property" being confused with "property" but this is doing exactly the same thing. It's completely arbitrary, and the suggestion you should be able to lend electronic data makes as much sense as eternal copyright.

    We don't need the same rights but we do need new rights. Ones that aren't available with physical media.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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