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DRM Books

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July 304

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the remember-when-sharing-books-was-normal dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Whether it's EA and SimCity, the Sony rootkit scandal, or Ubisoft, we've all read numerous stories about companies using DRM in stupid ways that harm their customers, and now we can add Adobe to the list. Adobe has just announced a new timeline for adoption of their recently launched 'hardened' DRM, and it's going to take your breath away. In a video posted to Youtube, Adobe reps have stated that Adobe expects all of their ebook partners to start adopting the new DRM in March. This is the same DRM that was launched only a few weeks ago and is already causing problems, but that hasn't stopped Adobe. They also expect all the stores that use Adobe's DRM to sell ebooks (as well as the ebook app and ebook reader developers) to have fully adopted the new ebook DRM by July 2014. That's when Adobe plans to end support for the old DRM (which everyone is using now). Given the dozens and dozens of different ebook readers released over the past few years, including models from companies that have gone under, this is going to present a significant problem for a lot of readers. Few, if any, will be updated in time to meet Adobe's deadline, and that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks."
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Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

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  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:27AM (#46148897)

    That is why you should buy hardcopy books over DRMed ebooks. You get to keep it beyond the commercial lifecycle of a software platform.

  • Re:Adobe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pi1grim (1956208) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:28AM (#46148903)

    I think open ebook community should thank Adobe for demonstating (at the cost of their reputation and revenues) to everyone who ever did something as stupid as buying a book with Adobe's DRM, what't it's all about and all the dangers of having someone else manage your access to the content you bought right to access. Only through these actions will people learn, as they only listen when they've been hit in their wallet. Luckily, ebook reader (hardware) manufacurers will also learn the hard way, that implementing an obscure DRM scheme is more expensive in the long run (and more damaging to the brand and sales) than partnering up with a shop that not only allows you to buy the books, but even keep them after it changes the technolgy (or goes down in flames) without taking all the books with them.

    All that aside - those who suffer from it, deserve it. Hopefully this lesson will be painful enough to remember not to mess with DRMed content any more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:29AM (#46148913)

    Don't forget to require DRM by law on all copies of the New Testament. Christians everywhere will rightfully denounce DRM as the Mark Of The Beast.

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:39AM (#46148987)

    I buy DRM-infested titles, but that's because the current DRM scheme can be decrypted if the provider goes belly-up or does an Amazon-style "1984" on them. I'm not interested in piracy, but I AM interested in protecting my investment.

    I don't but into the "rental" concept of book "purchases". If my bookseller starts using a DRM scheme that does not meet the criteria I just listed, they can expect me to stop buying ebooks.

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Walterk (124748) <dublet.acm@org> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:42AM (#46149019) Homepage Journal

    It would be useful if there was a list of retailers that sell these DRM books, so they can go on my boycott list.

  • by avgjoe62 (558860) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:57AM (#46149135)

    ...that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks.

    Oh no, it won't. They'll be able to buy all the DRMed books they want, just with the new DRM. And they'll have to, because they won't be able to use the old ones they purchased from a company that no longer exists. Do you think this isn't what they had in mind? You insisted on buying a copy instead of a license to use the content for a set time, so the publishers have found a way to make you pay again...

  • Re:good riddance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:14AM (#46149251) Homepage Journal
    They're training customers to distrust them. Remember Amazon's "delete 1984" fiasco? This may be Adobe's.
  • by xenoc_1 (140817) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:25AM (#46149357)

    It's not just PDF, nor even primarily PDF. It's reflowable standard EPUB. EPUB with Adobe DRM is the standard commercial ebook format for the "rest of the world that isn't Amazon". Barnes & Noble Nook (now mostly Microsoft Nook). Kobo, which is number 2 in much of the world. Google Play Books. eReaders from Kobo, B&N, iRiver, white-box Chinese brands affordable in emerging markets, even iBooks own Appleized format, have Adobe DRM inside. eReading apps from third parties like the well-respected Aldiko Reader and Bluefire reader use Adobe DRM. Only Kindle doesn't use it.

    I've got Google Play Books and Kobo books on my Nook Color early-gen ereading tablet, because of Adobe DRM being near-universal. Have Google Play books on my Kobo WiFi e-ink eReader and on my newer Kobo AuraHD e-ink eReader. On my Android phone, whitebox cheap 10" tablet, and Kobo Arc (Android tablet with Kobo's shell but full open Google Play Store Jellybean tablet), I have the Aldiko app so that I can combine my Kobo and my Google Play books into a single library rather than reading in separate apps per bookstore. (Nooks can sideload and read standard EPUB/AdobeDRM but Nook books can't be read outside of Nook hardware or apps due to B&N weird variant AdobeDRM).

    Adobe is breaking all this relatively open ecosystem. Sure, it's DRM, but it's an "anything except Kindle" open system. Adobe is screwing over all the people who bought into the non-Kindle commercial ebook ecosystem over the past half-decade or so.

    I'm writing from the perspective of a normal human, not a /. geek. Normals don't break DRM because they don't know how, they don't even know it's a thing. They don't buy only non-DRM books, because they want to buy books from their favorite authors, not obscure corners of the web. Even many self-published books, if distributed through "normal channels" carry Adobe DRM (or Amazon DRM). They might, if they read the very simple info on the Kobo, Google Play, and other ecosystem-member web pages, have realized they can buy a book from Google and read it on their Sony eReader, buy a book from Kobo on sale and read it on their original Nook or Nook front-light newer e-ink reader. They may be all over Goodreads and ereader websites where there are lots of how-tos about just that, but they are nowhere near Slashdot. Nor near Linux. And O'Reilly tech books are irrelevant. As are, to most readers, Baen and Tor SF.

    Hell, I don't want to deal with this myself, and I know how or can easily figure it out. Just going to the "Download Adobe DRM" link at Kobo or Google Play, getting the .ACSM (Adobe Content Server Mechanism) license file, double-clicking on the download and having previously-installed Adobe Digital Editions get the DRM-unlocked-to-my-ID content was simple. Bang, read it on my PC in Adobe Digital Editions, or tether my Android phone/tablet to drag into Aldiko or Bluefire, tether my Kobo eReaders (e-ink actual ereaders for readers) and drag it into their libraries, tether the Nook Color and drag it into its library.

    Now I'd' have to go break DRM on all those files and future purchases. But that would be wrong...

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:36AM (#46149435)

    Indeed. I can't log in on this machine right now (mcgrew here, sorry, I won't be able to see if you reply), I'll be glad when I'm retired. Anyway, a couple of things: IMO anyone who buys DRMed anything is a fool, and anyone who employes DRM in their content is equally foolish. DRM makes your content harder to sell, because it has less utility than a pirate copy. If I buy a DVD I have to sit through piracy warnings (after paying for it!) and sometimes even trailers for other films. Meanwhile, a TPB download you click "play" and the opening creduits start; no piracy warnings, no trailers, no menus... which is how disks should be made. Some are, a few movies play right away and the menu only comes up after it's over. I keep asking myself why anyone would pay for an inferior version of something that's free, then I remember Linux vs Windows and kind of get it. Marketing rules all.

    Like has been said, you can't buy DRMed content, you can only rent it. But you don't buy a novel, you buy a book. The novel belongs to everyone (although the author has a "limited" time monopoly on publication).

    I personally think electronic data should be free, which is why HTML, PDF and ePub versions of Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] will be released for free download on my web site March 15th (or perhaps earlier, I'm thinking of moving it up).

    The RIAA, IMO, really screwed the pooch with Napster, that was a really dumshit move on their part. They should have embraced P2P and advertised how superior CDs were to MP3s (and back then they really were vastly superior). P2P would have been additional, free advertising. I've found out with Nobots that word of mouth is crappy marketing, so along with owning terrestrial radio they have little to worry about from independants; they can bury any little guy.

    Since registering the copyright and obtaining ISBNs I've been getting ads from marketers, Christ those guys are expensive! Writing a book is easy, getting anyone to read it is hard. So read it, it's free, both as in speech and beer. Only the hardcover costs (working on a paperback version, also working on getting The Paxil Diaries in print, I've been getting requests for ten years).

    It will also have no DRM, I released an abridged PDF for free several years ago.

  • Re:good riddance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:40PM (#46150723)

    As evil as that is, there is one factor that can mitigate it, in my opinion: cheap.

    If books cost me $2.50 or less, and the DRM is not intrusive, then I simply don't care that they could, in theory be taken away. In practice, it happens with such rarity as to simply not be an issue. So, in the extremely unlikely case, I lose a couple of bucks. I don't care.

    I will not, however pay $10 for a book that I cannot share or resell, that perpetually requires me to prove I bought it, and that can be arbitrarily taken away from me. For that price or above, I will buy the physical copy just to protect my investment.

    Incidentally, I buy games from steam when-and-only-when they are at or under the $2.50 price range, for this same reason, and this happens so frequently that I have a large backlog of purchased games that I haven't even played yet.

    Yes, I am willing to surrender control in return for trivially cheap, but in no other case.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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