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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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  • good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:07AM (#46148789)

    DRMed content deserves to die, as collateral damage of killing the DRM. If people stop buying it, eventually it goes away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:11AM (#46148803)

    There couldn't be a clearer example of why DRM on books is a bad f***ing idea.

  • *Shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:15AM (#46148825) Homepage Journal

    I don't buy DRMed shit. I do buy titles from Baen Books and Tor, but they aren't infested with digital restrictions management. If I want a title, and I can't find it from a publisher that doesn't use DRM, I just pop over to my favorite torrent website. And normally I'll find what I'm looking for. (If I don't, I'll find it at my second favorite torrent site, easy.)

    I.e. DRM doesn't work. Moreover, it has the opposite effect, rather than preventing copying, it encourages more copying!

    (I might buy DRM infested titles, if Adobe made their software work on */Linux. But probably not. But considering I don't run anything else, there is no point in my forking over money for something I can't read or use.)

    Oh, and ignoring all the above: why should I have to update the firmware or software on my ebook reader? It's an appliance. I don't expect to update the firmware on my TV, microwave or rice cooker. Why should I? It works now.

  • Calibre (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:18AM (#46148841)

    ...just sayin'...

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:18AM (#46148843) Homepage

    Comments like this from victims are pretty common (from TFA):

    had a bunch of books on my laptop & yesterday ADE wouldnâ(TM)t let me access them. I purchased them 7 years ago. So NOT happy.

    People are slowly learning that anything with DRM wasn't a "purchase", it was a "rental".

  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:19AM (#46148847)
    The new 'hardened' DRM will be broken quickly and be of little use. If it is not broken, those who wish to pirate will get the material through other channels.

    Meanwhile, customers get alienated, pissed off, pissed on, anally probed, and money taken from them. Those that get tired of it will add to the masses that go to pirate.

    Models like Netflix, Steam, and iTunes show that light or zero DRM can work, and it allows customers easy access to products they want. You make it painful, difficult and costly, potential customers turn to other avenues. That may be forgoing that entertainment and going elsewhere, it may be pirating. The HBO/Game of Thrones model is a good example.

    I have money in my wallet. I am willing to spend it, if the price is fair, and I do not have to get butthurt for it. Provide me that opportunity and you have my money. Do not, and you will not. There will always be a portion who steal or pirate, either because they are broke, or because they can. No amount of DRM will stop that. Instead you make yourself a target for those who politically do not like your methods, break your protection/racketeering schemes then provide it to everyone.

    However here on /. I am largely preaching to the choir, so while my rant here may do little, remember this slash kiddies. Vote with your wallet, do your best NOT to support companies that do these things. Explain it to your family and peers. Even if they disagree, maybe you sparked a seed of thought that was not there before.

  • by geogob (569250) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:20AM (#46148851)

    I'm having a hard time following the train of though behind such moves. What do they expect the people will do once they are not able to buy ebooks and read them on their device. Worse, what do they expect people will do once they actually buy ebooks and then notice they can't read them on their device due to DRM?

    It almost feels like dark scheme to push people towards piracy and undermine the profit of the compagnies. It somewhat reminded me of how Garmin handles its customer with its mapping product. I had a map installed on a handeld device and on old car device. After I bought a brand new device from that exact same company, I couldn't install the map on that new device as it was already installed on two device, one being the old car GPS replaced by the new one. The officiel support answer was "sorry, we can't help you. You can buy a new copy of the map _here_". With such a policy, they lost a good customer that was happy up to that point. I expect the ebook users to experience about the same kind of feeling being put in the situation that lays before them.

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:35AM (#46148943)

    That's one argument. A better argument, in my opinion, is to only buy from vendors that offer DRM-free formats (eg.g: O'Reilly) and pirate DRM-free versions from those that don't. I've seen a lot of people choosing to buy older games from GOG instead of spending those dollars on games they might want more on Steam for this very reason.

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:35AM (#46148945)
    Or just pirate your books. If you feel bad about that, then buy the books, but use pirated copies.
  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:42AM (#46149013)

    That's the part that's always bugged me. The big cost in publishing is the printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution of the dead trees (that's not even counting more costs if you sell through a brick and mortar store). If you double sales, all of the overhead doubles. Ebooks have almost negligible costs to do all that - which gets even closer to zero if you share resources (e.g sell through Amazon).

    I buy two or three ebooks in a given year and about the same number of books in print because books are damned expensive. If you priced ebooks downward to have similar (or slightly greater) profit margins as print books, I'd probably end up spending twice the money on them overall because I would be getting much more value for my individual dollars, and the companies would end up with more profits overall. Ebooks are largely stuck due to using a similar profit model to music and movies.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:44AM (#46149025)

    Models like Netflix, Steam, and iTunes show that light or zero DRM can work

    Netflix doesn't really apply here, as they're quite up-front about the fact that their streaming service is only all-you-can eat rental and that their content can disappear at any time (and frequently does). There is a big difference between that and companies that claim to sell you content that you presumably "own" into perpetuity--only for you to find out later that you were actually just renting it long-term.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:46AM (#46149035)

    No, but using them is. Thanks, DMCA.

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:51AM (#46149085)

    people choosing to buy older games from GOG

    People who play DRM-free games or open source games are stigmatized as losers who play old crap. The stigma is still worth the freedom of not being hassled by DRM.

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bradmont (513167) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:29AM (#46149379)
    You can also get the paper books far cheaper if you buy them used. You can also sell them after you're done with them. It's called ownership, and it's becoming less and less accepted by the copyright industry.
  • Re:Adobe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PetiePooo (606423) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:07AM (#46149705)
    This was my thought on reading the article as well. "Adobe is doing more to kill DRM with this move than anything they've done in the past." There's nothing like punishing the innocent to get people's attention.
  • Re:good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:12AM (#46149765)

    The point is Amazon can delete books you purchased from devices you own, for whatever reason, without your consent. That you think the deletion in this case was justified does not make people more trusting of this Orwellian ability to make publications disappear.

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:13AM (#46149783) Homepage Journal
    Never, ever pirate anything. It spurs their belief that people really want their product, but just aren't willing to pay for it. Instead, avoid the product altogether and encourage others to avoid it.
  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pembers (250842) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:33AM (#46149983) Homepage

    The big cost in publishing is the printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution of the dead trees

    Actually, no. That accounts for between 15% and 20% of the retail price. Most books don't make a profit for the publisher, so the costs are dominated by the overheads - the author's advance and the cost of employing everyone who's involved in making the book ready to be sold. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the major publishers that if they lowered the prices of ebooks, more titles might sell enough to make a profit. (Indie authors and smaller publishers figured it out a long time ago.)

  • Re:Non-Drm'd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:46PM (#46150789)

    Never, ever pirate anything. It spurs their belief that people really want their product, but just aren't willing to pay for it. Instead, avoid the product altogether and encourage others to avoid it.

    You're missing that people do want their product. Avoiding the product altogether sends a false message that the product isn't wanted. What we don't want is the packaging.

    The closest equivalent to buying a physical product and throwing its packaging away is buying a DRM product and pirating the content. Once I've paid for the content, it's mine morally, ethically, and logically. It's just the law that needs work.

    Throw away the packaging and tell the manufacturer why.

  • by Enry (630) <<ten.agyaw> <ta> <yrne>> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:14PM (#46153011) Journal

    You're not understanding the issues here.

    I don't like DRM. I use it in places (like my Kindle) because I have to. I don't rent videos online, I buy the DVD/BR and rip it so I can play it where I want to. That's my choice and I pay more for it ($10 for the BR vs. $1.99 or whatever to rent it). There's no requirement for you buy DRMs books, you can still buy a dead tree version, you're just going to pay more for it. In return for the lower price, you give up some of your rights to it. Music companies have figured out the proper balance between cost and piracy and things are pretty settled. Hopefully the movie and ebook industries follow suit at some point.

    At the same time, content creators need to ensure they're properly compensated for their work. US copyright law has thrown this way out of skew, so until that gets fixed we're stuck in this situation for now. Either way, this doesn't give you the wholesale right to steal (pirate, borrow, whatever you want to call it) content from others. Neither side is talking about what should be a reasonable timeframe for length of a copyright. Should it be 20 years? 30? 50? 100? How long after content is made should the author (or heirs) continue to be paid for that work?

    I'm not being obtuse, I'm at best being a devil's advocate to make you realize there's two sides to the DRM issue and by being deliberately obtuse about one instance of DRM use barely scratches the surface of the problems, companies, and ideas that are involved in producing digital forms of what was traditionally dead tree (or cellulose or vinyl) media.

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