Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Publishers, eBooks,and DRM

Digital Rights Management sucks. DRM-- the long, trying-to-be-respectable name for encrypting a content file to cripple a consumers rights to their legally provided rights to Fair Use -- is the biggest single barrier to widespread e-book acceptance.

Specialized reader hardware is the second.

The user experience with an ebook needs to more closely replicate that of the dead-tree edition. This includes the ability to read on any preferred device from iPods to Blackberries The reader also needs the ability to highlight, print a certain amount of text etc., loan the book and " to resell it as used -- thus preserving copyright's well-established fair-use capabilities.

I realize I am at odds with most publishers, but the paranoia about piracy kills more revenue than it protects. But then, as you an see I have no strong or well-defined opinion about this.

Publishers must realize that whatever encryption they load onto a book WILL be broken. So why drive away 90% of your market to protect a book from the 2% who will steal it? It's called publisher logic.

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