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DRM and the Destruction of the Book

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the reading-is-fundamental dept.

Books 419

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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Silly me (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604392)

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

Re:Silly me (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604496)

When you own a book, it's yours to read. Digital distribution is the future, and DRM implemented properly isn't a bad thing. I'll take a cheap digital copy over a bulky, inconvenient physical copy that I can sell or give away any day.

Re:Silly me (2, Interesting)

Kjellander (163404) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604574)

When you own a book, it's yours to read. Digital distribution is the future, and DRM implemented properly isn't a bad thing. I'll take a cheap digital copy over a bulky, inconvenient physical copy that I can sell or give away any day.

And I won't! Part of the fun with owning books is the fact that you own them. I've bought childrens books that I'll never read myself, but they were some of my fav books when I was an infant, and if I ever get kids I will read them to them, and they will be theirs.

On top of that one of my prize books in the shelf is a first edition of Feynman Lecture on Physics volume 2, originally owned by a student named Marcley. If you know him let me know. There is something special about old books. Sure, some of them are very dated, but some are as fresh as a daisy, like Tensings old books about getting to the top of Mount Everest.

Fsck you DRM! You SUCK! The written word is to important to be censored!

Re:Silly me (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604628)

Fsck you DRM! You SUCK! The written word is to important to be censored!

You actually forget the one thing that makes a digital copy vs a physical book: It takes half a millisecond to duplicate it, and it is free to do so. This is of course scaring the publishers, distributors and authors out of their minds. So they "invent" stuff to make sure only the original owner can read the book. In the process, they make the whole experience nightmarish, but hey...

This goes down to the root of one primordial liberty: Free speech. If you can talk freely, it means you can communicate freely with your neighbor. So you can give hime any information. Including a movie, MP3 or a digital book. Because down to its core, digital data is just information.

Trying to prevent someone to distribute a digital book (for non profit) is the equivalent of preventing him/her to have free speech. And this problem is new because only with a computer you can communicate data in such a bulky way with absolutely no loss.

Mindsets will change, and I firmly believe that noone will be able to prevent the information flow. This is the very nature of the human mind. Look at MP3s, they are now wold with no DRM whatsoever. Because no other way will work better than that one.

Re:Silly me (2, Interesting)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604730)

Not only that, but, soon (very soon I would think) you'll be able to buy a physical book and scan the pages by taking photos of it with your smart-phone which will then OCR and digitize it with almost zero effort. What're they going to do then? Stop printing books at all?

Re:Silly me (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604808)

This is of course scaring the publishers, distributors and authors out of their minds.

You've got two out of three right.

Unless you're a corporate creep like Vince Flynn, you're not writing books to get rich. You care a lot more about getting your words into peoples' hands than you do about socking away millions and paying off shareholders.

There's a notion around now that a successful author, or musician, deserves more than just living a comfortable, even lavish lifestyle. They deserve to be a multi-billion dollar phenomenon. Not necessarily because that "content creator" wants this unspendable wealth, but because he is actually the tip of a corporate pyramid that needs to be fed. At the bottom of the pyramid are some shareholders that the "content-creator" will never know.

Digital distribution of content should be about allowing creators to distribute their material more easily, more cheaply, more quickly and widely. Not about maximizing the profits for a phalanx of money-sucking barnacles. Those "scared" corporate-types you mention are all about the latter, and they'll hang on to their dysfunctional system as long as they can.

If you approach digital media to benefit creators, you'll get more good stuff to enjoy. If you approach digital media to maximize profits, you get a lot of expensive dross and grandmothers getting hauled into court by the RIAA.

Re:Silly me (1, Insightful)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604936)

Uh, but DRM also protects the smaller authors who would be happy to eke out a comfortable life. If the books can only be free, then people can only write books as a hobby. That means only rich people can write books.

Re:Silly me (5, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604930)

I'd add a couple of extra concerns:

- it makes it very easy for repressive regimes to track who bought what: a handful of authentification servers have that info. granted, we may not feel concerned by that right now, but a good part of the world is, and you never know what will happen to us later on. Recent events show that corporations are all too happy to oblige any request from any "big market" government.

- it even makes possible to recall a book, possibly to change it, which conjures uneasy visions of the Ministry of Truth.

Re:Silly me (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604920)

There is something special about old books...Fsck you DRM! You SUCK! The written word is to important to be censored!

The passage of time censors old books more more than DRM. How many physical originals of your prized first edition of Feynman Lecture on Physics volume 2 still exist? Yet, within a matter of seconds, I was able to find a digital copy.

Digital allows the written word to live forever.

Re:Silly me (2, Funny)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604664)

I like having my 'portable library' in the form of my reader. However until they make it bathtub proof, hardcopy will still have a place...

Re:Silly me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604760)

Strange as it sounds you can just throw the reader into a ziploc bag. If that blurs it too much for you though then you can by diving bags made for reading maps underwater to put it in.

Re:Silly me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604834)

I've found that hardcopies aren't easy to use in the bathroom scenario. To that purpose I prefer soft, silky copies, preferably those who are advertised with puppies strolling around. The kindle is still very rough around the edges for that purpose.

Re:Silly me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604924)

However until they make it bathtub proof, hardcopy will still have a place...

yes, since paper books are water proof.

Re:Silly me (4, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604674)

I'd be far more accepting of DRM if copyright law went back to being a reasonable period. It's very easy today to envision an eternal copyright starting the day Disney created anything they feel is of value, and continuing in perpetuity thereafter.

If copyright was 10 or 15 years, I'd be OK with draconian DRM restrictions on the things that are under copyright, provided there was a way to break it when the items go into public domain. As it is, though, anything written after my father was born is unlikely to fall into public domain before I die.

Apart from reading it, which is the best part of course, I prefer owning a book. I enjoy sharing them with friends. I appreciate the simple fact that every book I've ever purchased is mine forever (barring damage or theft, of course). No corporation or government has the right to remove my books from my control, and it's impossible to change them - you'd have to come to my house and get them.

If I could buy an e-book knowing that in a few years the DRM would be lifted and I could freely share it, and knowing that my Doctrine of First Sale rights would be protected in the meantime, I'd seriously consider some form of e-book reader. But recent events and the history of copyright holders have demonstrated otherwise, and the length of copyright means that the money I'd spend on e-books is for a short-term rental on a book, and if I want to rent my books I'll donate more money and time to my library and get them that way.

Heck, I'd be happy with an analog of the current "hardcover / paperback" model. For the first year or two of a book's existence, it could be available only in a high-priced, heavily DRMed version that is not allowed to be shared. After a year or two, anyone who spent the money on the hardcover then gets an unlock code that allows them to freely share and keep their copy without DRM, and an unlocked "mass market" version comes out at a discounted price that can be shared. I'd happily buy a deeply DRM-encrusted bookreader and buy new releases if I knew there was a sunset provision on the DRM that would allow me to keep and share them in a reasonable timeframe. I'd even pay the same I do now for a new release, as long as the contract clearly stated that the book could be unlocked in a relatively short period.

Paper sucks. Paper is inconvenient, and clumsy, and expensive, and harder to read, and bulky, and subject to damage, loss, and theft.

** BUT IT'S MINE **

And until e-readers can fulfill that desire, I have no desire to get one.

You misunderstand something... (4, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604862)

If copyright was 10 or 15 years, I'd be OK with draconian DRM restrictions on the things that are under copyright, provided there was a way to break it when the items go into public domain.

Then you misunderstand the purpose of DRM. The main purpose of DRM is to do an end-run around copyright expiration - so works "protected" by it *never* go into the public domain.

Imagine you're a publisher, and you want perpetual copyright, even though you know the highest law in the land says you'll never get it. What's the next best thing? Complete control over the books you sell - so you can prevent anyone from copying them ever again, and can even "recall" them if you want to. And you lobby for a law that makes it illegal for anyone to talk about how to circumvent that control.

At it's core, copyright is the ability to say "you're not allowed to say that, because I said it first." It is (supposedly) a compromise between the public and authors. In order to improve our culture, authors are given a limited right to exclude others from exercising their right of free expression.

DRM is a betrayal of this compromise - the public fulfills their part, but the authors never have to fulfill theirs. DRM is the antithesis of copyright, and rather than making laws to protect DRM, any work that is "protected" should be immediately be stripped of its copyright status.

After all, if DRM really worked, they wouldn't *need* copyright law, would they?

Re:Silly me (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604716)

DRM implemented properly

Example, please.

Re:Silly me (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604746)

I'm dreadfully sorry, I shall restrain myself from uttering impertinent rhetorical remarks in the future.

On a serious note, this is good for a capitalistic society, the privileged ie. rich get the knowledge while the poor remain clueless and thus maintain the equilibrium... We must destroy the digital ether that is the internet, our nemesis.

It Ain't the Paper (1)

Nocuous (1567933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604766)

Absolutely. The paper pulp, the glue, the leather, the string in the binding, that's just trash to me. It's the content that matters.

I think that people who fetishize physical books are expressing a reactionary fear of losing control, of losing something familiar to them that they regard as an eternal constant. The problem with that attitude is, physical books are just another form for holding content. Before books, it was the storyteller in the square, before them it was paintings on cave walls. I'm sure there were people who said, "I don't hold with these here books, they destroy the whole storytelling experience."

This reminds me of people who are aghast at the idea of removing "under god" from the pledge of allegiance, because they don't realize it was a recent update to the pledge, added in the 40's to remind those godless communist russkies that America had a potent ally.

But then, what do I know? I could be wrong.

"There are two kinds of fools. One kind says, 'This is new and therefore good.' The other kind says, 'This is old and therefore better.'"

Maybe my turn will come to be the reactionary, when dynamic content replaces static books, and it's beamed into our heads, customized for each person.

Re:Silly me (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Prior Art (3, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604402)

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

Doctrine of First Sale (4, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604422)

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.

how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604436)

the doctrine of stop the stupid lawyer talk

make it law that when someone tries to use GIANT words they don't have to we toss them into a volcano

Re:how about (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604492)

make it law that when someone tries to use GIANT words they don't have to we toss them into a volcano

Xenu [wikipedia.org] , is that you?

Re:how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604546)

Ya, how dare they try to explicitly communicate their meaning using specific, accurate terms! That's not allowed on the internet!

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Doctrine of First Sale (1, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604554)

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.

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (0, Redundant)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604678)

Whoosh!

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Doctrine of First Sale (1, Insightful)

Boomerang Fish (205215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604634)

I seldom wish I had mod points (I almost never see anything worth modding up), but for you, I'd make an exception. Sarcasm at it's finest -- I salute you!

--
I drank what?

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (2, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604914)

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

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (0, Troll)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604614)

-1 (really stupid) troll

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604686)

Umm, I'm fairly certain that was to be taken as humour.

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604752)

Should mod you -2 (dumb fuck) who can't understand sarcastic humour

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604578)

Most of the anti-DRM arguments I've seen on this issue completely ignore the distinction between physical books and e-books, which is (obviously) that e-books are trivially easy to copy. This is (obviously) the whole motivation for DRM in the first place, but even in most of the brief arguments of Cory's I've seen, he wants to pretend that it's the exact same situation. It's not. I don't think DRM is good necessarily, but we're not going to find any good solutions by pretending nothing happened.

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604600)

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.

Re:Doctrine of First Sale (1)

irondonkey (1137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604780)

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

By using money, I'm guessing?

Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604470)

Yeah, people might learn to READ ! we cannot have that!

Zhnore... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604482)

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:Zhnore... (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604652)

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 viewable copy of a rental VHS (given macrovision removal, anyway) than a rental DVD has turned out to provide, because of the inherent behavior of analog media under degradation. You might have a blip on the tape, but it wouldn't choke unless you had a problem with your deck and it ate the damned thing. Also, a lot of people see the value inherent to purchasing things they enjoy, under a system of capitalism anyway. In a more socialist society, it might make more sense to mail payment to the artist to show your appreciation.

What pray tell ARE the effects?

First Sale and Fair Use are under attack from multiple quarters. DRM-"protected" media is just one more example; you have to go back through the original seller to facilitate transfer, which is precisely what First Sale law was intended to prevent, especially as relates to books!

Re:Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604504)

Government is for the people not the publishers.

IP law is [was] for the people not the publishers.

They are given temporary rights to publish a given work. Since they are abusing that right, it is proper that the right be taken away. Since the courts won't do it, the people have to.

Laws only exist as long as the governed consent.

Re:Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604540)

And of those 100,000 strangers, how many are legitimate lost sales, how many just fill up their local storage with anything like kids with mp3s and videos? How many even read the book? How many read the book and then go on to buy titles from the same author because they loved it?

Whether you like it or not, digital distribution is here to stay. The scarcity of product is no longer relevant. Digital books should be 10 cents, not DRM crippled and costing more than physical paperback in a brick store. Once something is cheap, people will simply purchase it because it is more convenient. Keep the prices artificially higher comparable to something that has to be made, shipped, stored, collected, and you'll find people work around the system regardless of what the law says.

Stock images have been through this change, they did it very quickly too. Compare what an image would have cost for your brochure, or whatever, 10 years ago to what and how you get them now. Try $1000 down to a buck. Guess which is making the most money? Clue: not the old model.

Re:Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604712)

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.

Re:Give Away a PHYSICAL Copy, Sure (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604900)

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.

too much knowledge out there (1, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604428)

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:too much knowledge out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604502)

As Ben Franklin said, those who give up their rights for convenience deserve neither, or something...

Re:too much knowledge out there (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604564)

To paraphrase:

Re:too much knowledge out there (2, Informative)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604684)

To paraphrase: what? -- Not everyone has sigs turned on

Re:too much knowledge out there (3, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604594)

As Ben Franklin said, those who give up their rights for convenience deserve neither, or something...

The exact saying is:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Ben Franklin loved convenience. Hell, the lazy bastard used a kite to get his key up in the air rather than climbing up himself.

Re:too much knowledge out there (2, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604646)

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 apparently remotely delete and silently 'revise' books in your electronic library after you bought them. Nobody can delete or 'revise' a good old-fashioned hardcopy of some book I have bought and that is sitting in my good old-fashioned wooden bookshelf.

I can well understand the why the move to electronic readers like the Kindle would worry authors and book publishers. It has hitherto been considerably more work to pirate a book than to do so with movies, software and music and if that changes, all the 'goodwill' authors and publishers get from people downloading their stuff for free using BitTorrent & co. still won't pay their bills. Those bills have to be paid in real world money, not pirate consumer's goodwill. I buy lots of books on subjects such as the history of automotive, aviation and electronic technology. These books sometimes get printed in runs of no more than a few thousand copies by small time speciality publishers. The move to "full digital" inevitably means an exponential increase in book piracy (YAY! we're getting even more stuff for free now) but it's also going to kill off that kind of small scale publishing which I don't see as a good thing. It would mean the death of all but the biggest publishing houses, the ones that are rich enough to be able to survive the piracy. That in turn would mean a considerable reduction in the variety of what is being published.

too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604440)

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?

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604580)

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.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604582)

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 encrypted and yet they put more and more channels on there. i have hundreds of GB of Dora and Spongebob on my Time Warner DVR. and i can get live shows in HD on palladia for free. this week i saw Iron Maiden and Motley Crue. and i have John Fogerty waiting on the DVR along with the Sonicsphere festival. all in HD

iTunes is DRM'd and there is more and more stuff for sale on there every day. latest thing is live show recordings a day after the band plays and HD movies that you can watch at home or on your ipod on the road

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604616)

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

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604640)

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 physical copies is much higher

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604694)

False reasoning. LucasArts and others are selling these old games again because of the rise of emulators and limit copyright terms. If they failed to rerelease these games the originals would enter the public domain and be free for all... and we can't have that now can we?

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604732)

You realize how Rockstar has handled that? In the "right" way: Create a sequel, sell that and give away the previous versions.
For those that don't know what I'm talking about: Rockstar offered GTA1 and 2 for download shortly after GTA3 was released.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604536)

Sheesh. Epic comprehension of nature and scale of problem fail.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604630)

Epic bla bla bla bla fail.

It doesn't matter how many words you use before or after epic/fail; you're still a moron.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604570)

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?

Some of my favorite books to read when I was a kid was my fathers old Hardy Boys set. I still have my mothers collection of Ian Flemmings novels. Though I rarely read it, I have a bible that's been passed down through 4 generations of my family.

I do get your point, the vast majority of content that I read and I expect my children will read is not historically significant. Its technical literature or pleasure reading that will grow outdated. However, there is something significant in being able to hand down copies of noteworthy texts.

A great example: for Christmas my mother gave my girlfriend her copy of The Joy of Cooking , my mom had filled in the margins with all sorts of notes on how to modify and healthify the recipes. You can't do that with a digital copy.

Re:too much knowledge out there v2 (2, Informative)

CaptainJeff (731782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604688)

You can't do that with a digital copy.

Actually, yes you can. Annotation is a key feature on the Kindle and it works pretty well, actually.

The Most Import Part of the Book Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604444)

...is reading it.

Knowing it can be owned is a distant second, at least for me personally.

Most important is reading book, not owning (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604520)

Indeed. Otherwise a library wouldn't be very valuable to anyone, since you merely borrow the books. Having to own things is really a downside in many ways, because you've got to devote space and time to it, take care of it, and sell it when you don't want it (you would feel stupid just throwing it away).

BTW, the most important part of your subject... was left out of the subject (for dramatic emphasis, no doubt). Anything wrong with just writing "Most important is reading book, not owning" in the subject?

Re:Most important is reading book, not owning (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604676)

I don't know about you, but where I'm from the library is for creepy old people. I bought books I wanted to read. Not because I'm rich, which I'm not. Because libraries are a pain in the ass. I'd much rather own books. If I want to read it again in a year or two, or give it to someone else or write in the margins (which I don't do, but just as an example) I can't do that. Most of those things are extremely inconvenient or impossible with library books.

Most of the issues with libraries, in fact, would be solved by just giving the patrons permanant digital copies of the books.

Re:Most important is reading book, not owning (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604740)

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'

Maybe that's why? The content of the book is certainly important, but without these so-called rights inherent in owning a book, the dissemination of that content becomes limited. Libraries wouldn't be allowed, you'd need to purchase a copy for yourself for any book that you wished to absorb the contents of.

Re:The Most Import Part of the Book Experience (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604638)

People who just want to read the book can go to libraries. However, as evidenced by the large number of bookstore sales, many people do actually want to own their books.

Re:The Most Import Part of the Book Experience (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604794)

I'm not sure how you make that jump. For a lot of people - myself included - buying books is a tool of convenience. I quite like having books around, but I'm not particularly attached to them emotionally and now that I'm planning on moving house soon they seem more of a liability than an asset. Going to a library is a lot more hassle than buying a book from Amazon. It's a bit more hassle than buying a book from a brick-and-mortar store (same distance, but I have to remember to return the book or I get fined, and I have to make another trip to do so.) The ability to read any book ever published at the touch of a button on a convenient device would be worth a lot more to me than 'owning' a book.

Doctrow has fallen into the trap of allowing his opponents to frame the debate. By talking about owning books, he has already implicitly bought into the idea that Intellectual Property is a sane and rational way of modelling the economics of ideas and expressions of ideas. It is not. Property rights make (some) sense for things that are scarce and have a high cost of production. For purely digital forms, they do not. The idea of applying ownership to eBooks just doesn't make sense.

They are trivial to copy, but they can't be given or loaned. Even if you can simulate the idea of giving by copying and deleting, why would you? If a hundred people want to read a book, how many of them want to read it simultaneously? Given that you can simulate moving a book between two people in a few seconds, why not just have one copy for all hundred, and copy-and-delete it to the person who wants to read it next? How many would that scale to? Maybe twenty unique copies shared between ten thousand people? Most people don't read a book for more than an hour a day, so you can easily spread a single copy between 24 people in different time zones. If they take a few days to read it, but people want it over the course of a month or two, that copy can be passed between a few hundred.

The value in a book is in the creation of the original, not in the creation of copies. JK Rowling made millions from the Harry Potter series. Any one of her readers could have created a copy of an eBook version, but how many of them could have created the original? Creativity is the scarce resource in this system, not duplication, and until you start adopting a system that recognises this, instead of trying to finance creativity by charging for copies, then you will just waste a lot of money on DRM and other tools that try to simulate expensive copying of a medium where copying is intrinsically cheap.

Re:The Most Import Part of the Book Experience (1)

KrimZon (912441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604870)

Access is important. Owning, sharing, borrowing from a library are all means to access.

DRM is about controlling access, which is what we worry about. Will we be able to look something up from this book later on? Can we hear the tune we like again? Will that be possible? Will it drain all our spare money away just to remember things we like?

hyperbolic nonsense (2, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604450)

"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.

hyperbolic nonsense is what Cory does (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#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."

Re:hyperbolic nonsense (5, Insightful)

burne (686114) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:hyperbolic nonsense (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604590)

at the rate prices are falling who cares?

Re:hyperbolic nonsense (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:hyperbolic nonsense (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604692)

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:hyperbolic nonsense (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604648)

"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 prevents its enjoyment and prevents the story from being passed on to the next generation to enjoy.

Publishers are trying to license e-books in such a way that they have vastly more power over the media. The allowed uses of it are *very* restricted. In the past, with a physical copy on the shelf, a great deal of the licensing was implicit (there was only one copy and more weren't allowed) or could be safely ignored if the terms were unreasonable (go ahead and try to prevent me from reading it to my kids, even though it could be regarded as a 'performance'). Look at the nonsense about digital readers not being able to read certain books aloud. It's a constraint that some publishers apparently want, but what a ridiculous limitation. There are plenty of other examples.

Buying a book is a bargain of some kind between the publisher and the purchaser (and ultimately the creator of the work). People buy e-books with the expectation they can them much like traditional books. Why should we have to give up so much of the traditional expectations for a book simply because the medium is digital? Publishers are using the opportunity to eliminate or clamp down on traditional uses of books, and I think that effort should be strongly opposed. Alternatively, they should stop calling their digital product a "book", because the terms of license are so different.

Yeah, Cory is a bit over the top, but the issue he's talking about is important. Should we accept the greater limitations of e-books or should we insist that publishers retain the same flexibility as traditional books? I think the answer is obvious.

theres nothing "sacred" (2, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604460)

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.

The Right To Read by Richard Stallman (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604466)

This article appeared in the February 1997 issue of Communications of the ACM (Volume 40, Number 2).

From The Road To Tycho, a collection of articles about the antecedents of the Lunarian Revolution, published in Luna City in 2096.

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.

And there wasn't much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime.

Of course, Lissa did not necessarily intend to read his books. She might want the computer only to write her midterm. But Dan knew she came from a middle-class family and could hardly afford the tuition, let alone her reading fees. Reading his books might be the only way she could graduate. He understood this situation; he himself had had to borrow to pay for all the research papers he read. (Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers; since Dan aimed for an academic career, he could hope that his own research papers, if frequently referenced, would bring in enough to repay this loan.)

Later on, Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory.

There were ways, of course, to get around the SPA and Central Licensing. They were themselves illegal. Dan had had a classmate in software, Frank Martucci, who had obtained an illicit debugging tool, and used it to skip over the copyright monitor code when reading books. But he had told too many friends about it, and one of them turned him in to the SPA for a reward (students deep in debt were easily tempted into betrayal). In 2047, Frank was in prison, not for pirate reading, but for possessing a debugger.

Dan would later learn that there was a time when anyone could have debugging tools. There were even free debugging tools available on CD or downloadable over the net. But ordinary users started using them to bypass copyright monitors, and eventually a judge ruled that this had become their principal use in actual practice. This meant they were illegal; the debuggers' developers were sent to prison.

Programmers still needed debugging tools, of course, but debugger vendors in 2047 distributed numbered copies only, and only to officially licensed and bonded programmers. The debugger Dan used in software class was kept behind a special firewall so that it could be used only for class exercises.

It was also possible to bypass the copyright monitors by installing a modified system kernel. Dan would eventually find out about the free kernels, even entire free operating systems, that had existed around the turn of the century. But not only were they illegal, like debuggers—you could not install one if you had one, without knowing your computer's root password. And neither the FBI nor Microsoft Support would tell you that.

Dan concluded that he couldn't simply lend Lissa his computer. But he couldn't refuse to help her, because he loved her. Every chance to speak with her filled him with delight. And that she chose him to ask for help, that could mean she loved him too.

Dan resolved the dilemma by doing something even more unthinkable—he lent her the computer, and told her his password. This way, if Lissa read his books, Central Licensing would think he was reading them. It was still a crime, but the SPA would not automatically find out about it. They would only find out if Lissa reported him.

Of course, if the school ever found out that he had given Lissa his own password, it would be curtains for both of them as students, regardless of what she had used it for. School policy was that any interference with their means of monitoring students' computer use was grounds for disciplinary action. It didn't matter whether you did anything harmful—the offense was making it hard for the administrators to check on you. They assumed this meant you were doing something else forbidden, and they did not need to know what it was.

Students were not usually expelled for this—not directly. Instead they were banned from the school computer systems, and would inevitably fail all their classes.

Later, Dan would learn that this kind of university policy started only in the 1980s, when university students in large numbers began using computers. Previously, universities maintained a different approach to student discipline; they punished activities that were harmful, not those that merely raised suspicion.

Lissa did not report Dan to the SPA. His decision to help her led to their marriage, and also led them to question what they had been taught about piracy as children. The couple began reading about the history of copyright, about the Soviet Union and its restrictions on copying, and even the original United States Constitution. They moved to Luna, where they found others who had likewise gravitated away from the long arm of the SPA. When the Tycho Uprising began in 2062, the universal right to read soon became one of its central aims.

Author's Note

This note was updated in 2007.

The right to read is a battle being fought today. Although it may take 50 years for our present way of life to fade into obscurity, most of the specific laws and practices described above have already been proposed; many have been enacted into law in the US and elsewhere. In the US, the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) established the legal basis to restrict the reading and lending of computerized books (and other works as well). The European Union imposed similar restrictions in a 2001 copyright directive. In France, under the DADVSI law adopted in 2006, mere possession of a copy of DeCSS, the free program to decrypt video on a DVD, is a crime.

In 2001, Disney-funded Senator Hollings proposed a bill called the SSSCA that would require every new computer to have mandatory copy-restriction facilities that the user cannot bypass. Following the Clipper chip and similar US government key-escrow proposals, this shows a long-term trend: computer systems are increasingly set up to give absentees with clout control over the people actually using the computer system. The SSSCA was later renamed to the unpronounceable CBDTPA, which was glossed as the “Consume But Don't Try Programming Act”.

The Republicans took control of the US senate shortly thereafter. They are less tied to Hollywood than the Democrats, so they did not press these proposals. Now that the Democrats are back in control, the danger is once again higher.

In 2001 the US began attempting to use the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty to impose the same rules on all the countries in the Western Hemisphere. The FTAA is one of the so-called “free trade” treaties, which are actually designed to give business increased power over democratic governments; imposing laws like the DMCA is typical of this spirit. The FTAA was effectively killed by Lula, President of Brazil, who rejected the DMCA requirement and others.

Since then, the US has imposed similar requirements on countries such as Australia and Mexico through bilateral “free trade” agreements, and on countries such as Costa Rica through another treaty, CAFTA. Ecuador's President Correa refused to sign a “free trade” agreement with the US, but I've heard Ecuador had adopted something like the DMCA in 2003.

One of the ideas in the story was not proposed in reality until 2002. This is the idea that the FBI and Microsoft will keep the root passwords for your personal computers, and not let you have them.

The proponents of this scheme have given it names such as “trusted computing” and “Palladium”. We call it “treacherous computing” because the effect is to make your computer obey companies even to the extent of disobeying and defying you. This was implemented in 2007 as part of Windows Vista; we expect Apple to do something similar. In this scheme, it is the manufacturer that keeps the secret code, but the FBI would have little trouble getting it.

What Microsoft keeps is not exactly a password in the traditional sense; no person ever types it on a terminal. Rather, it is a signature and encryption key that corresponds to a second key stored in your computer. This enables Microsoft, and potentially any web sites that cooperate with Microsoft, the ultimate control over what the user can do on his own computer.

Vista also gives Microsoft additional powers; for instance, Microsoft can forcibly install upgrades, and it can order all machines running Vista to refuse to run a certain device driver. The main purpose of Vista's many restrictions is to impose DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) that users can't overcome. The threat of DRM is why we have established the DefectiveByDesign.org campaign.

When this story was first written, the SPA was threatening small Internet service providers, demanding they permit the SPA to monitor all users. Most ISPs surrendered when threatened, because they cannot afford to fight back in court. One ISP, Community ConneXion in Oakland, California, refused the demand and was actually sued. The SPA later dropped the suit, but obtained the DMCA, which gave them the power they sought.

The SPA, which actually stands for Software Publisher's Association, has been replaced in its police-like role by the Business Software Alliance. The BSA is not, today, an official police force; unofficially, it acts like one. Using methods reminiscent of the erstwhile Soviet Union, it invites people to inform on their coworkers and friends. A BSA terror campaign in Argentina in 2001 made slightly veiled threats that people sharing software would be raped.

The university security policies described above are not imaginary. For example, a computer at one Chicago-area university displayed this message upon login:

"This system is for the use of authorized users only. Individuals using this computer system without authority or in the excess of their authority are subject to having all their activities on this system monitored and recorded by system personnel. In the course of monitoring individuals improperly using this system or in the course of system maintenance, the activities of authorized user may also be monitored. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of illegal activity or violation of University regulations system personnel may provide the evidence of such monitoring to University authorities and/or law enforcement officials."

This is an interesting approach to the Fourth Amendment: pressure most everyone to agree, in advance, to waive their rights under it.

Re:The Right To Read by Richard Stallman (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604568)

This was an extremely interesting read. I don't really believe it would go to the extent described, but I'd be very interested to see the sources.

I'm not a fan of DRM but... (4, Interesting)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:I'm not a fan of DRM but... (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604738)

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 copy of an e-book, you really have the rights to only that copy. Same with a paper book. But when you buy a copy of a paper book, your personal rights to that book are also irrevocable and eternal. Someone would have to come to your house and take it away from you. With e-book DRM, you read your books only at the suffrage of the company that controls the DRM on your e-book reader. They can revoke your right to read it at any time, and have done.

Of course, it's tough to come up with a perfect analog to the rights we enjoy in a paper book while taking advantage of the new capabilities of an e-book, and maybe they will just always remain two separate and incompatible entities.

what did they say? (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604538)

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

Dead on (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604542)

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.

My local library (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604548)

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 destroying o supporting books???

Re:My local library (1)

Bobberly (1677220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604644)

Depends, did you vote for tax cuts in the last year? Support for libraries will little or no fees with expanded hours is the key. Some libraries are closed Sunday and Monday here, and we can't borrow books from out of county. The rest have odd hours that make it difficult for someone working 8-5 to utilize.

Re:My local library (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604796)

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.)

What happens when the reader breaks ? (5, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604598)

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.

Re:What happens when the reader breaks ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604908)

If you buy only DRM-free books, then all your books are simple text files you can easily backup, transfer, and convert between formats, so the answer to all of those question is yes. However, you must avoid like the plague any rental-only service such as Amazon.

This worked for iTunes, which mostly provides DRM-free music now.

DRM itself isn't the problem. (1)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604658)

DRM is a copy-protection scheme, which is only natural when you are attempting to sell anything that can be easily duplicated. But DRM is a technology designed to enforce a legal concept. Currently, it is used to enforce the idea of "license to read". But it doesn't have to! DRM can be used even when the rights state that the digital copy is owned by the reader. If there is some legal problem with this, the law can be changed. But it has nothing to do with DRM itself. I believe DRM should allow one to transfer their digital copy (of anything), free of charge, to other people, for a limited period of time (loaning) or indefinitely (selling or giving away). DRM should also be compatible across all vendors and the DRM scheme should be taken out of vendors and into the hands of an independent body of some sort. Once such a scheme is in place, I will happily buy DRM'd books.

Can someone explain to me... (2, Insightful)

nenya (557317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604696)

...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.

Re:Can someone explain to me... (1)

old_skul (566766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604812)

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.

worse then Nazi Germany / USRR with remote Censors (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604718)

This is worse then Nazi Germany / USRR with remote Censors and a way to tack who has what book.

Amazon and the Kindle have killed the bookstore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604754)

That is a quote from one of Seth Godin's recent blog entries titled "It's not the rats you need to worry about" (http://bit.ly/8RdTE4) I love my books and they can't have them until they pry them from my cold, dead hand! I used to love the idea of e-books and still own many. But I'll stick to the Baen free library (http://www.baen.com/library/) and their http://www.webscription.net. All ebooks in many formats with *no* DRM ever. Karen Bowden

A problem, not a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604778)

"The ability to loan our books to more than one person at once is a feature, not a bug."

What if I loan it to everyone? Poking at the evil publishers is one thing, coming up with realistic solutions another. Sadly these seem to be mutually exclusive for a lot of people.

Yuo fai7 1t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604798)

purposes *BSD is said one FreeBSD Unpleasant erosion of user towel under the there are Ago, many of you volume of NetBSD influence, the correct network If you answered I read the latest a productivity serves to reinforce GNAA (GAY NIGGER Hot on the heels of By simple fucking 'I have to kill the gay niggers already dead. It is Of the founders of bought the farm.... were taken over started work on anything can Or a public club, Shouts To the

more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30604822)

Same type of take, but in a nice narrative http://www.dkeats.com/index.php?module=blog&action=viewsingle&postid=gen13Srv30Nme10_77047_1262110771&userid=1563080430

Free copies of _Makers_ (1)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604872)

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.

New tag (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604932)

Isn't it about time for a "Oh-no-it's-Cory" tag?
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