View Full Version : DRM is necessary and good, stop complaining


markbot
11-26-2007, 07:27 PM
Property rights is one of the most important aspects of a republic.
Protecting intellectual property rights is in the US constitution, even before they mention free press. If people didn't get paid at the market rate for their intellectual property there would be far less intellectual property since people would lack incentive.

As we've seen with the music industry, intellectual property in electronic form can be successful if it has DRM.....and is a disaster without DRM. Some major music acts now make paying for their CDs optional since they know anyone under 35 can figure how to get it for free anyway.

Absence of DRM reduces the smartest and most creative people in society to hobos. This is an inverted incentive structure.

So, let's all applaud Amazon's efforts to protect the smartest and most creative people in society so that they can continue to live off of the intellectual property.

And I like how they did the DRM for the Kindle also. Looks robust.

Alisa
11-26-2007, 07:41 PM
I'm not against all DRM per se, just ones that restrict beyond reasonable fair use. IMO, Amazon's is rather restrictive (though I'm still buying a Kindle). I'd prefer to see something like a good watermarking system that would enable them to go after the uploaders but still give us the ability to freely use our content on any device we like.

JSWolf
11-26-2007, 08:01 PM
Property rights is one of the most important aspects of a republic.
Protecting intellectual property rights is in the US constitution, even before they mention free press. If people didn't get paid at the market rate for their intellectual property there would be far less intellectual property since people would lack incentive.

As we've seen with the music industry, intellectual property in electronic form can be successful if it has DRM.....and is a disaster without DRM. Some major music acts now make paying for their CDs optional since they know anyone under 35 can figure how to get it for free anyway.

Absence of DRM reduces the smartest and most creative people in society to hobos. This is an inverted incentive structure.

So, let's all applaud Amazon's efforts to protect the smartest and most creative people in society so that they can continue to live off of the intellectual property.

And I like how they did the DRM for the Kindle also. Looks robust.
DRM is not good and not needed. We have a very bad tower of ebabel. You'll find books in MS Reader, eReader, Mobipocket and Sony BBeb. We will ignore PDF as it's not a real ebook format. If a book is available say in BBeB but not Mobipocket and you have a Gen3, you won't be able to purchase that ebook to read on your Gen3. DRM also treats me like I am a thief. I am not and do not want to be treated that way. Some sites that sell Mobipocket format ebooks let you enter 4 PIDs and some only allow 2 PIDs. If you have say 3 devices and want to purchase from a site that only allows 2 PIDs because the price is lower, then you either have to go to the 4PID site and pay more or give up one device. There are also cases where DRM has been known to prevent people from ever reading their ebooks again. Look at what happened to Blu-Ray. There was new DRM on some discs before the players supported it. So it was impossible to legally view those movies. The Major League Baseball website change DRM providers and all the content people had spent lots of money on in the past suddenly became useless. Mobipocket took down their DRM server to fix a possible security breach. For about 2 weeks (or so) most Mobipocket books were unavailable for purchase. Do you think these are good things? My copy of MS Reader will not read any of the DRM books I have purchased and the only way to get it to work is to strip the DRM. I think DRM is a bad idea as there are chances you'll get locked out of your legally purchased content. Look at Amazon... Anyone that needed to redownload their content because maybe the DRM needed to be updated have not been able to. The Kindle is relying on Amazon to keep a copy of all the books. DRM maostly relies on someone else. I'd rrather rely on myself.

igorsk
11-26-2007, 08:41 PM
So many people today take copyright for granted that they forget it was created for the public good and not the benefit of the creators. Already today with ridiculous copyright terms the public cannot use the works created by the authors for a long time after their death, and DRM further removes the possibility of them ever getting into public domain, where they rightfully belong.
Read these essays by Eric Flint, an author himself (especially Lies, and More Lies). He's much more eloquent than me.
http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2007/04/27/eric-flint-on-drm-and-copyright/

JSWolf
11-26-2007, 09:03 PM
If a work becomes part of the public domain and it has DRM all over it that cannot yet be broken, that makes the DRM restricting something that should be freely available to everyone.

markbot, can you honestly say that DRM is good for me? If I purchase a content in a given format and then the device to read it breaks and lets say it is no longer made, what do I do with all the content I have?

micomicon
11-26-2007, 09:33 PM
Dear markbot:

Once upon a time, reproducing the contents of a book required that a monk with good eyesight sit at a writing desk for many weeks on end. As a result, books were rare -- and very expensive. Monks made good coin in this gig. Then this German goldsmith figured out a way to automate the process, making it much faster and cheaper. Understandably, the status quo was not happy about this. This guy's innovation turned the world upside down, and not even the most powerful institutions in the world could stop it. (The most powerful church in the world even split in two as a result!)

The technological change we are going through now is much deeper and more important than the one unleashed by the German guy. This newfangled "digital information", by its very nature, can be duplicated and transmitted perfectly, incredibly cheaply. This upends today's status quo in unimaginable ways. It is not surprising that the status quo is fighting back with clunky measures like DRM, that penalize readers in a feeble attempt to impose the limitations of the old medium onto the new. DRM is driven by fear of change.

We don't know how the digital revolution will play out, but this is certain: things will change. Perhaps we'll even find ourselves having to redefine many notions we hold dear: property, ownership, authenticity, and who knows what else. (IMO, it's a small price to pay for the increase in education and enlightenment that will result.) Change is not easy. The status quo will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into this new world; they will do many stupid things in the process to try to stop change. The historical record is not on their side: nobody could stop the revolution unleashed by the German guy six hundred years ago, and I doubt anyone will be able to stop the digital revolution. DRM has no future.

maxk
11-26-2007, 09:43 PM
I will continue to crack any DRM protected pieces of property that I buy as soon as I buy it. I have bought the product, it is my property, no one will artificially restrict or make difficult the use of my own property. I won't buy anything with DRM unless there are easily available cracks to disable the DRM.

The music industry is coming around and starting to scrap DRM, what makes the book industry think they're special?

Lov2Read
11-26-2007, 09:51 PM
The problems with DRM are legion. The positives are...well....I am trying to think of one........I will have to get back to you on the positives. Once I actually come up with one that is.

Copyright law has a limited role and that role should be preserved and protected. But DRM and the direction it is taking intellectual property rights is draconian and counter-productive in the extreme.

delphidb96
11-26-2007, 10:16 PM
Property rights is one of the most important aspects of a republic.
Protecting intellectual property rights is in the US constitution, even before they mention free press. If people didn't get paid at the market rate for their intellectual property there would be far less intellectual property since people would lack incentive.

WEEEEeeeeeeelll... Right off the bat, MarkBot, we've got a problem. Most readers are not in the US and fall under other rules for written works. (And please tell me how property rights of the creators are protected by megacorporations which take their property, diddle the accounts and stiff said creators on the royalties? Okay, I admit it. I've been on the receiving end of this kind of 'help' - which is why I'm totally behind the WGA strike against the major studios.) Funny thing is, there are TONS of manuscripts floating around out there, probably 99% of which never see the light of a published-day. Yet these manuscripts keep getting written and submitted despite the abysmal pay scale offered by the megapublishers.


As we've seen with the music industry, intellectual property in electronic form can be successful if it has DRM.....and is a disaster without DRM. Some major music acts now make paying for their CDs optional since they know anyone under 35 can figure how to get it for free anyway.

If it were not inconceivably bad taste, I'd wonder just what you've been smoking - and where can I get some! Man, that is *CLEARLY* on hallucinogenic HIGH you're running on. First, most major bands have been making *THEIR* income for decades off their tours because the music industry finds ways to hog all the record profits for themselves. Second, while the publishing industry loves to sweep the facts under the rug, even the most cursory study of how DRM-free ebooks has boosted sales of dead-tree editions at Baen Books gives the lie to the whole 'no DRM is *bad* for sales' myth propagated by the megapublishers. Third, why *SHOULD* music lovers be forced to buy 13 crappy 'songs' on a CD for the one or two - at best - melodies worth listening to?


Absence of DRM reduces the smartest and most creative people in society to hobos. This is an inverted incentive structure.

You must not know many authors. If you did, you'd realize that except for a few big-name authors, *MOST* don't earn enough to qualify better than middle-class. And once again, I have to point out that this is because so *MUCH* of each book's price goes to the retailer and the publisher. It ain't DRM that causes this, it's the megapublisher!


So, let's all applaud Amazon's efforts to protect the smartest and most creative people in society so that they can continue to live off of the intellectual property.

And I like how they did the DRM for the Kindle also. Looks robust.

And I'm sure Amazon loves that you've so bought into the Big Lie the publishing industry is spreading. Don't worry, Amazon's DRM will be cracked, and probably sooner than anyone has predicted.

Look, I don't mind DRM. Lord knows I buy enough eReader, Fictionwise and Mobipocket ebooks loaded with the crap. But I have the power to choose which device I can read them on. Amazon's AZW takes that away from me. Three cheers to anyone who cracks AZW!

Derek

pilotbob
11-26-2007, 10:41 PM
As we've seen with the music industry, intellectual property in electronic form can be successful if it has DRM.....and is a disaster without DRM.

I'm sorry, are you watching the same industry the rest of us have? For years digtal music was available at a reasonable price 100% DRM free. You can use the tracks in any device without restriction. You could make copies also. The RIAA didn't sue every person that had a walkman. The media was an amazing device called the CD.

Now, all of a sudden there is a way to take that digital music and put it on a hard drive. All of a sudden the music industry decides they have to "protect" their copyrights. iTunes comes out and allows you to buy songs for $.99 a piece. Certainly reasonable price and about the same price as a song on a CD... but, now the digital file was protected. You could only play it on your "authorized" PC and your "authorized" iPOd. You couldn't put the music on your Creative Zen, or the MP3 player in your car stero. Getting song files became much more difficult.

So, what happend, people started shareing files becuase it was hard to get them legitamately. People like Steve Balmer and the RIAA were calling anyone that owned an iPod a music thief.

The DRM on iTunes music wasn't "protecting" anyone, nor was it preventing piracy... it was just making it harder for people that bought music to use it on the device they wanted to listen to it on. The majority of music was still being bought in DRM free (CD) form.

Even Steve Jobs saw this was the case an lobbied the publishers to let him sell DRM free tracks. Once they were available there was a surge of music BUYING!!! Yes BUYING not piracy. The level of piracy didn't go down when there were DRMed tracks... and it didn't go up when there weren't. Universal is set to open a DRM free music store as is Yahoo I believe.

All DRM does is keep the honest people honest and frustrated and buying LESS. DRM free content is easier to deal with, so people buy more of it!!!

BOb

zartemis
11-26-2007, 10:54 PM
Look, I don't mind DRM. Lord knows I buy enough eReader, Fictionwise and Mobipocket ebooks loaded with the crap. But I have the power to choose which device I can read them on. Amazon's AZW takes that away from me. Three cheers to anyone who cracks AZW!

Even those others have limitations on choice, e.g. eReader has no option for the BlackBerry (although it is frequently requested). Peanut Press/PalmReader/eReader (my favorite DRM-encumbered service prior to Kindle) slowly evolved over years, adding more devices. They didn't used to have as many device choices as they do now.

RWood
11-26-2007, 10:55 PM
The Government has decided that property rights are fine as long as they don't conflict with the Government goals. Case in point is the land snatch in CT from a homeowner to sell it to a company to build an office. There are thousands more examples. MS is getting creamed in some markets by rampent duplication and distribution of their products. In Japan bands make all of their money from concerts and zilch from CD sales.

It is up to the company to protect its own property -- physical and IP. DRM cost them money to implement. When they feel that they can sell enough additional units to justify removing the DRM they will do so. They worry about seeing their IP posted on the darknet. They wonder how many sales are lost by this practice.

I don't like DRM any more than the next person. Unlike most of you I seldom reread a book -- there are too many that I have yet to read to tread old ground again. If DRM is the price I must pay (along with a few dollars or so) for the reading material that I want, fine.

runciter
11-26-2007, 10:55 PM
DRM doesn't have to be bad. I think it works wonderfully in a subscription model. I know a lot of people are collectors and want to keep their stuff, but for books, generally I wouldn't mind a subscription model a la the ZunePass or Rhapsody ToGo. Say $15 or $20/month to rent books. I've done that with the Zune and I love it, especially the ability to fill the device and sample a lot of new content. Granted with books, that might not be quite the same experience, but without DRM, the subscription model just couldn't exist.

I also don't think people would mind if you bought the tree version from Amazon, if they gave you the DRM .AZW version if anyone would mind. Also, I think Amazon allows you to associate their DRM'ed books with up to 4 Kindles. That is far more lenient than any other DRM model that I'm aware of (and I'll admit, my DRM knowledge is more in the music industry).

maxk
11-26-2007, 11:24 PM
markbot may never have been exposed to these rational arguments before.

It might be a good idea to take a look at Baen's articles about it.

http://www.baensuniverse.com/nodrm.html
http://www.baen.com/AboutUs.htm

Baen publishes digital books with no DRM in many formats.

I mainly like how they respect their customer by not assuming their customers are thieves.

markbot
11-26-2007, 11:25 PM
markbot may never have been exposed to these rational arguments before.

It might be a good idea to take a look at Baen's articles about it.

http://www.baensuniverse.com/nodrm.html
http://www.baen.com/AboutUs.htm

Baen publishes digital books with no DRM in many formats.

I mainly like how they respect their customer by not assuming their customers are thieves.

I like the motto of hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So...hope that your customers aren't thieves....but just in case they are...DRM.

PHugger
11-27-2007, 12:25 AM
Markbot, think about it this way -

DRM only has an effect on the customers who actually paid for the content!

Publishers naturally want to stop piracy (this is a good thing IMHO), but they found that this was hard to do. They haven't figured out a way to target the pirates so they settled for their customers. When I purchase a book I've already met all of the copyright, moral, and financial requirements. Why am I then burdened with this onerous DRM?

I am a firm believer that if you make it easy enough to buy, people will buy instead of steal. This has already been proven by the music industry. It's working so well that they are starting to do away with all DRM! Offer a quality product at a reasonable price and make it easy to purchase - you will make money. Don't treat your customers like criminals and they will reward you with their loyalty. I believe that people rise to your expectations - why not expect them to be honest? I have no problem with any DRM that doesn't restrict or limit what I want to legally do with my purchases. There are always ways to get around DRM, but these methods are mostly used by dishonest people. The honest ones are the only ones who are inconvenienced. Hopefully DRM's days are numbered and they will finally target the pirates and leave the customers alone.




PCH

da_jane
11-27-2007, 12:26 AM
Protecting intellectual property rights is in the US constitution, even before they mention free press.

The purpose of the Copyright Act is not to protect intellectual property -that is a by product. The purpose of the Act is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

AlexC
11-27-2007, 01:06 AM
Wow, on most sites I'd say get out the popcorn, here comes one heck of a flame war! Here, this is shaping up to be an interesting discussion.

delphidb96
11-27-2007, 01:35 AM
I like the motto of hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So...hope that your customers aren't thieves....but just in case they are...DRM.

Oh yes, how quaint! Just presume every customer is a thief and then treat them in that manner. Yep. Great business technique!

You *do* realize that taking such a view is tantamount to choosing to alienate all customers, yes?

I prefer assuming that my product is worth selling and reasonable enough the customers would rather buy than see my product disappear from the market. It's difficult enough in the commercial arena for a business to survive without actively driving customers away with negative attitudes!

Derek

maxk
11-27-2007, 01:42 AM
Wow, on most sites I'd say get out the popcorn, here comes one heck of a flame war! Here, this is shaping up to be an interesting discussion.

I don't plan to discuss further, the research has been done disproving the effectiveness of DRM.

The only holdouts are the DRM makers and a few people who haven't caught up.

OK a few more holdouts than that but it appears to be on the decline :)

PHugger
11-27-2007, 07:04 AM
I've been thinking about books and how DRM fits in. These guys are very late to this market of electronic distribution. Books have always been the exception - they were never easy to copy nor (as we are finding now) are the first copies perfect. This is rapidly changing. It has thrust the book publishers back ten years and is forcing them to catch up. You can buy a paper book and read it anywhere. You can loan it to others. You can resell it when you are done. You can even borrow them from a library. Electronic distribution changes all of this. It now becomes very easy to make perfect copies (of the imperfect scans). Publishers don't want you to loan your ebooks to anyone. They want to limit where and how you read them. You can't resell them either. Libraries who embrace ebooks are forced to treat them the same way. This is a major paradigm shift. DRM is simply an attempt to keep things the same. I can't say that I have the answers to piracy, but I'm pretty sure that DRM isn't it.




PCH

rflashman
11-27-2007, 07:27 AM
I don't mind DRM, if it actually let me use my content. My problem with DRM is just that it limits my content to the ways I want to use it. DRMed video can't play on my XBOX Media Center and DRMed books I bought on my Sony Reader can't come over to my Kindle (I never did finish reading Reagan's dairy...). So until that gets resolved, I see no point to DRM except to rip off the consumer.

HarryT
11-27-2007, 08:19 AM
Oh yes, how quaint! Just presume every customer is a thief and then treat them in that manner. Yep. Great business technique!

You *do* realize that taking such a view is tantamount to choosing to alienate all customers, yes?

I prefer assuming that my product is worth selling and reasonable enough the customers would rather buy than see my product disappear from the market. It's difficult enough in the commercial arena for a business to survive without actively driving customers away with negative attitudes!

Derek

There are, however, different types of DRM, some uses of which are perfectly legitimate.

Many libraries for example, now issue eBooks with a form of date-limited MobiPocket DRM. You can read the book for so many weeks after its date of issue, and it then stops working.

That seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate use of DRM technology.

micomicon
11-27-2007, 08:20 AM
As we've seen with the music industry, intellectual property in electronic form can be successful if it has DRM.....and is a disaster without DRM.


Actually, the facts suggest otherwise: the music industry is already moving away from DRM. The latest example: Deutsche Grammophon, one of the oldest and most respected record companies in the world, is getting ready to launch its new online MP3 store. The music will be sold DRM-free. Read about it here (http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/26/drm-free-classical-music-deutsche-grammophon-launches-online-mp3-store/).

DG is joining two of the world's largest online music stores (Apple and Amazon) in selling music DRM-free. Why would they do this if going DRM-free were a "disaster"?

HappyMartin
11-27-2007, 08:53 AM
I believe that it is only of mild interest and little relevance to compare e books and p books in terms of lending them out, reselling them and so on. It is now an entirely new thing that requires a fresh perspective without referring too much to the past.

Imagine we never had p books before, sure it takes some mental gymnastics but it is a healthy and helpful exercise. What are the requirements. Authors need to make a living, people want to read. We want to deliver the material to people so that they can read it in comfort and conveniently.

As to DRM, there could be many approaches. How about the more DRM the lower the price? Some books I delete as soon as I finish them, off the reader and off the PC. I did this with Swarm and Polaris recently. Good hard DRM and a lower price would be great for those types of books. Pay more money and get less restrictive DRM for other books you may want to hold onto. This approach works for photographic models and many images. You describe the usage and pay accordingly. Make it flexible and pay for what you need. Ownership is an illusion, it is all about usage.

Just an idea above but we do need to start looking at innovative solutions that suit us all

markbot
11-27-2007, 08:58 AM
Protecting intellectual property rights is in the US constitution, even before they mention free press.

The purpose of the Copyright Act is not to protect intellectual property -that is a by product. The purpose of the Act is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

semantics

igorsk
11-27-2007, 08:59 AM
Ahaha, I like this guy :)

JSWolf
11-27-2007, 09:05 AM
semantics
Do you work in the publishing industry?

slayda
11-27-2007, 09:15 AM
Somebody tell me again how to give negative Karma!

hidari
11-27-2007, 09:41 AM
Marbot have to give you credit for going into snake filled waters. I assume you expected a harsh whiplash from the masses. I do not like DRM but it is a fact of life at the moment. I only have a problem with your idea that we should "protedc the smartest and most creative pople in society" by whose measure...?

Most books on Amazon you should use as toilet paper not reading paper..






So, let's all applaud Amazon's efforts to protect the smartest and most creative people in society so that they can continue to live off of the intellectual property.

And I like how they did the DRM for the Kindle also. Looks robust.

hidari
11-27-2007, 09:45 AM
DRM.. So I have to pay two times for the same book so a "gifted" writer can get royalties on it....or a company....

So..Should I pay my Plumber every time I flush the toilet for fixing my leak that occured at 2 in the morning and works fine now due to his "gifted" knowledge of plumbing...

should he get my royalties as well?

TallMomof2
11-27-2007, 09:46 AM
I don't like DRM but if the files are portable between my devices I can live with it.

AnemicOak
11-27-2007, 10:08 AM
I don't like DRM but if the files are portable between my devices I can live with it.

I think a lot of folks would live with it if there was one DRM scheme & it was usable with every device on the market. It still wouldn't be great, but it'd be easier for folks to deal with.

slayda
11-27-2007, 10:28 AM
I think a lot of folks would live with it if there was one DRM scheme & it was usable with every device on the market. It still wouldn't be great, but it'd be easier for folks to deal with.

But then Amazon could not have a monopoly.

CCDMan
11-27-2007, 10:48 AM
I have said this before, but the only way this mess is ever going to be cleared up is by Congress. The problem with that is that right now Congress, and the voting public, are dominated by folks that are mostly "e-stupid". As these folks die off and the no longer e-stupid generations begin to take their place, I think that pressure to fix this will increase and eventually there will be too much voter pressure for Congress to continue to dance to the tune of the content industry. It will take a decade or two, but is inevitable.

In my opinion (and that of a number of experts), the bigger problem than DRM is the current laws that allow copyright extensions to go on forever. Very little becomes public domain anymore. This can be laid directly on the doorstep of Disney and a few other companies with vested interests and is truly BAD for the public. Copyright needs to expire after a set period, no exceptions. That way, we WOULD have more DRM free content, albeit after a few decades.

FixB
11-27-2007, 10:53 AM
Many libraries for example, now issue eBooks with a form of date-limited MobiPocket DRM. You can read the book for so many weeks after its date of issue, and it then stops working.
That seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate use of DRM technology.
I had not tought of this, but as it is only temporary (ie, you won't have the problem of a change of devices and the potentiel loss of paid ebooks), it seems a great use of DRM.
It's the first time I would agree that DRM could be (in this specific case) useful. Houah, I never imagined I would write DRM and useful in the same sentence !

JSWolf
11-27-2007, 11:44 AM
How is DRM useful to me? How is it useful to you?

Liviu_5
11-27-2007, 12:02 PM
One funny thing about authors and drm is how several prominent such went to Baen hand out to e-publish their books once they were out of print or their drm publisher died a well deserved death..

Commercial e-book market - drop in a bucket - of course there many reasons, not only drm but once you can buy a print book and need no device to read it and also you have it for as much as you want, why spend tons of money for a device and then more money for evanescent books.

dugbug
11-27-2007, 12:03 PM
How is DRM useful to me? How is it useful to you?

Seeing that I want content from authors/publishers (be it music or otherwise) that insist on it, I say its pretty important.


-d

Liviu_5
11-27-2007, 01:16 PM
Seeing that I want content from authors/publishers (be it music or otherwise) that insist on it, I say its pretty important.


-d

Who stops anyone from buying a drm-free paper book ?? You want content from authors that insist on drm, just buy their paper books and everyone will be happy.

nekokami
11-27-2007, 01:25 PM
Y'know, the Baen forums have a list of topics in a FAQ called the "La Brea Tar Pits" where they've simply listed the usual positions taken and advise people to just let these topics quietly decompose. Maybe we ought to have something similar here.

dugbug
11-27-2007, 02:12 PM
Who stops anyone from buying a drm-free paper book ?? You want content from authors that insist on drm, just buy their paper books and everyone will be happy.


Is a paper book without DRM? I cannot copy it nor can I mass-redistribute it. About the only thing I can do is give it away/lend it (which is a relatively small distribution list).

-d

Nate the great
11-27-2007, 02:17 PM
Is a paper book without DRM? I cannot copy it nor can I mass-redistribute it. About the only thing I can do is give it away/lend it (which is a relatively small distribution list).

-d

The paper book lacks the DRM that prevents me from:

editing the pbook by removing pages,
editing the pbook by writing in the margin,
making photocopies (in situations covered by fair use),
sharing the pbook with a friend.

Yes, the pbook lacks DRM.

Alisa
11-27-2007, 02:18 PM
Is a paper book without DRM? I cannot copy it nor can I mass-redistribute it. About the only thing I can do is give it away/lend it (which is a relatively small distribution list).

-d

Yes. Not only because the rights management isn't digital. You can copy and redistribute your book. Typically people don't because it's difficult and expensive so printers don't have to take extra measures to prevent you from doing it.

ghostwheel
11-27-2007, 03:00 PM
DRM are a very simple thing: a con invented by device makers to lure the publishers into the digital market. Publishers are horrified by the prospects of books and magazines available in digital form. They think it'll break their lucrative business - and it probably will. The process already started with scientific journals. No one will need the middleman. Anyway, there is nothing the publishers can do - the flood is coming, and they know it. In addition, the incentives are huge - Apple in one fell swoop became the major player in the music industry. Everybody wants to make the iPod of books.
So, device makers invented the impossible: "put your books on our devices. We'll make sure that they are non-copyable. We have DRM, a magic snake oil that prevents the reader from reading the book when he wants to copy it, but allows him to read it when he wants to read it. It'll work - you can trust us."
And, luckily the publishers are falling for it, though they don't really have a choice, in the long run.

There is one way to protect the digital books: morals. If people will think it is wrong to copy books instead of buying them, and wrong to keep a copy from the library at home, then the market could survive in a similar form to what it is now. And it doesn't matter if people think it is immoral to copy a book, or if it is immoral to break the DRM and then copy the book. You still need morals to protect the current market. DRM is nothing but a sticker saying "please don't copy this book". Except that it is a huge heavy sticker, that mainly hurts the customers. DRMs will simply disappear once we conned the publishers into the digital market.

Liviu_5
11-27-2007, 04:43 PM
Is a paper book without DRM? I cannot copy it nor can I mass-redistribute it. About the only thing I can do is give it away/lend it (which is a relatively small distribution list).

-d

Actually you forgot the most important thing you can do with it: read it again and again for many years without being tied to any particular piece of equipment other than what came with us in the world. Personally I am not interested in copying my e-books outside of prudent backups and availability of any device of my choosing, but I am definitely interested in being able to read and reread my books at will.

With drm books you definitely cannot do that (and wait until Sony or Amazon or Mobi either close down their store a la Google or decide to do an upgrade of the drm system a la Adobe/Microsoft/MLB and people will not be able to read the corresponding books...)

dugbug
11-27-2007, 05:17 PM
The paper book lacks the DRM that prevents me from:

editing the pbook by removing pages,
editing the pbook by writing in the margin,
making photocopies (in situations covered by fair use),
sharing the pbook with a friend.

Yes, the pbook lacks DRM.


I don't think they are worried about you photocopying harry potter and distributing it :)

dugbug
11-27-2007, 05:26 PM
Actually you forgot the most important thing you can do with it: read it again and again for many years without being tied to any particular piece of equipment other than what came with us in the world.

I don't think ebooks are heirlooms. Ill just re-buy it for 99 cents.



-d

ghostwheel
11-27-2007, 06:36 PM
I don't think ebooks are heirlooms. Ill just re-buy it for 99 cents.

:book2:
What about birthday presents? Graduation presents? What about the book your kid wants to read every day? What about the book that you read every day when you were a kid?
What about poetry? Cookbooks? Coffee-table books? Puzzle books? Reference? Science?
I have books that where formative for me. You don't have any books on your shelf that you like to come back to, or point others to?

Are all books classified as throw-away?

My books are for safekeeping, why shouldn't my e-books be?

Liviu_5
11-27-2007, 07:43 PM
I don't think ebooks are heirlooms. Ill just re-buy it for 99 cents.



-d

Where can you buy an e-book for 99c?? Were e-books to be 99c I would not mind treating them as disposable.

bingle
11-27-2007, 08:09 PM
Umm, stop me if I'm wrong, but I think we're being trolled... Perhaps MobileRead's new Kindle popularity comes with some downsides.

At least on here, a troll results in some intelligent discussion. ;-)

Nate the great
11-27-2007, 08:18 PM
Umm, stop me if I'm wrong, but I think we're being trolled... Perhaps MobileRead's new Kindle popularity comes with some downsides.

At least on here, a troll results in some intelligent discussion. ;-)

I think you might be right, but not because of this topic. Look at the other thread he started.

TallMomof2
11-27-2007, 08:55 PM
I've actually purchased some ebooks because I already had them as pbooks and wanted the ease of having them in a portable format. I'm more likely to purchase the pbook of an especially good non-fiction ebook than fiction. I don't think I've ever gone out and purchased a fiction pbook after buying the same fiction ebook.

AnemicOak
11-27-2007, 09:04 PM
I don't think they are worried about you photocopying harry potter and distributing it :)

DRM won't stop Harry Potter from that. It's already available all over the shadier areas of the net along with lots of books I'd love to be able to be able to give publishers my money for if they'd put official ebook copies out.

slayda
11-27-2007, 09:21 PM
I've actually purchased some ebooks because I already had them as pbooks and wanted the ease of having them in a portable format.

Me too, as well as scanning some pbooks.

PHugger
11-28-2007, 07:38 AM
I just came across this article on ARS Technica that discusses the topic of Google's book scanning project and copyrights. They even mention the Sony and Amazon's readers!

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071126-university-of-michigan-librarian-defends-google-scanning-deal.html




PCH

dugbug
11-28-2007, 07:52 AM
DRM won't stop Harry Potter from that. It's already available all over the shadier areas of the net along with lots of books I'd love to be able to be able to give publishers my money for if they'd put official ebook copies out.

thats not the point... a book is inherently difficult to mass copy and distribute. Its not like hiding a camcorder into a movie theater

-d

dugbug
11-28-2007, 07:54 AM
Where can you buy an e-book for 99c?? Were e-books to be 99c I would not mind treating them as disposable.


They have books on amazon kindle now for 0.99. Im sure you will be able to find them 5 years from now

What is it with the anti drm crowd. As Ive said before, they (authors, publishers) have something I want, therefore I intend to buy it (DRM or otherwise)

-d

Radnor
11-28-2007, 08:18 AM
What is it with the anti drm crowd. As Ive said before, they (authors, publishers) have something I want, therefore I intend to buy it (DRM or otherwise)

Because, as geeks, we have experienced the mishaps (http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/13/hackers-discover-hd-dvd-and-blu-ray-processing-key-all-hd-t/), failures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIVX), and downright nastiness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Sony_BMG_CD_copy_protection_scandal) that has occurred in the past, all in the name of protecting digital rights.

wgrimm
11-28-2007, 09:11 AM
You must not know many authors. If you did, you'd realize that except for a few big-name authors, *MOST* don't earn enough to qualify better than middle-class. And once again, I have to point out that this is because so *MUCH* of each book's price goes to the retailer and the publisher. It ain't DRM that causes this, it's the megapublisher!



Yeah, take Philip K. Dick, for example. The man made a top income of $15 K one year.....

AnemicOak
11-28-2007, 10:22 AM
thats not the point... a book is inherently difficult to mass copy and distribute. Its not like hiding a camcorder into a movie theater

-d

Transfering a pbook to ebook by scanning & distributing it via the net is very similar to taking a camcorder into a theater & making the movie available online.

Dozens of books hit the net within days of coming out & there is no official ebook version (like Potter). It's obviously not to hard or it wouldn't happen so often or so quickly.

HarryT
11-28-2007, 10:28 AM
Would you not agree, though, that time-limiting DRM is necessary if we want libraries to issue e-Books? A library book, by its very nature, has to "expire"!

nekokami
11-28-2007, 10:35 AM
Would you not agree, though, that time-limiting DRM is necessary if we want libraries to issue e-Books? A library book, by its very nature, has to "expire"!
Much as I normally oppose DRM, yes, I think this is a reasonable use of it. (Though I wonder how many people would continue to try to use the file after their loan had expired anyway?) I hope, however, that a broadly supported scheme for which readers are available for many hardware/OS platforms is used, not something that can only be read on one platform (be it Windows or Kindle or whatever).

AnemicOak
11-28-2007, 11:02 AM
Would you not agree, though, that time-limiting DRM is necessary if we want libraries to issue e-Books? A library book, by its very nature, has to "expire"!

It's the perfect use for DRM in my opinion.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:12 AM
Would you not agree, though, that time-limiting DRM is necessary if we want libraries to issue e-Books? A library book, by its very nature, has to "expire"!

I do not agree. The reason that library books "expire" is that it's impractical for a library to house more than one version of the same book. If I want to read a book that you have checked out, I have to wait for you to return it. This problem does not exist with ebooks.

Again, DRM is a way to impose some of the limitations of pbooks on ebooks. From an educational POV, there are very few good reasons to do this (if any).

kovidgoyal
11-28-2007, 11:14 AM
But digital information makes the whole concept of the traditional library somewhat moot. After all the rationale behind the library is, I believe, to make a large number of books available to the general public, as the general public cannot easily obtain these books otherwise.

Now for out-of-copyright or open access works, libraries are useless. For in-copyright works, a digital library, because it would have infinite copies and be really easy to get books for free from (in an ideal world) would be anathema to publishers. They'd start charging libraries exorbitant prices.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:23 AM
For in-copyright works, a digital library, because it would have infinite copies and be really easy to get books for free from (in an ideal world) would be anathema to publishers. They'd start charging libraries exorbitant prices.

Yes, but that is just because publishers (understandably) want to hold on to the status quo, even when digital technology completely upends their world.

We are in a period of transition, making a (huge, scary) leap between paradigms. In 50 years' time, the word ebook will have the same anachronistic feel as "horseless carriage".

kovidgoyal
11-28-2007, 11:25 AM
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the library as an institution is doomed.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:26 AM
So the question is, are we willing to exploit the new technology to its fullest? Or are we gonna throttle it to protect a business model that is built on a 600-year-old technology?

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:29 AM
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the library as an institution is doomed.

If the core mission of the library is to serve as a repository of human knowledge, I think it has a large role to play in the future. One of the newest (and most celebrated) libraries in the world -- the Seattle Public Library -- has as one of its design premises the idea that one of the library's primary objectives is to provide a space for social interaction between people seeking knowledge. It does not need pbooks to fulfill this objective.

kovidgoyal
11-28-2007, 11:32 AM
Certainly, some present actual institutions will morph into something else, but they wont be libraries any more. And the number of such new "libraries" will greatly decrease.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:35 AM
but they wont be libraries any more.

Is there something sacred about libraries?

kovidgoyal
11-28-2007, 11:45 AM
The point being that since libraries aren't going to be libraries any more, the need for DRM in libraries isn't a very good example of the use of DRM.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 11:53 AM
The point being that since libraries aren't going to be libraries any more, the need for DRM in libraries isn't a very good example of the use of DRM.

Ah, then we agree. Although I'm still not convinced DRM in libraries is a good example of an acceptable use of DRM. Much to the contrary, I think it's a good example of how DRM is designed to protect an industry that is in deep, deep trouble.

Sparrow
11-28-2007, 11:58 AM
Now for out-of-copyright or open access works, libraries are useless.
Why so, why the present tense?

There are probably millions of out-of-copyright works that are only currently only available within libraries, and are unlikely to be digitised anytime soon. Without libraries these would be lost.

Where are the digital solutions giving blind readers access to huge amounts of material?
How will the less tech savvy readers get hold of obscure books at reasonable prices without a library service?
What about the poor who can't afford to buy all the books they want to read?
Who'll bother digitising local history archives that are of interest to a very small clientele?

eReaders are a new option, but that doesn't automatically mean they're an alternative to reading printed books - reading for recreation can still be enhanced by the tactile and visual appeal of a beautifully produced book.

Libraries are too precious to surrender willingly; and we should remember that Western civilisation only survives to the present day because of the heroic librarians of the past. They may yet be called upon again, we cannot afford to be without them.
Is there something sacred about libraries? Yes! Imho, they are more sacred than cathedrals.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 12:23 PM
There are probably millions of out-of-copyright works that are only currently only available within libraries, and are unlikely to be digitised anytime soon. Without libraries these would be lost.


Agreed, it's not gonna happen overnight. But it will happen. BTW, digitized works have better prospects of longevity than those printed on fragile organic matter.


Where are the digital solutions giving blind readers access to huge amounts of material?


This is actually one of the advantages digital has over wood pulp.


How will the less tech savvy readers get hold of obscure books at reasonable prices without a library service?


Q: How did the illiterate get access to pbook libraries?
A: They learned to read.

I think there's a bigger leap to go from illiterate to literate than it is to go from "less tech savvy" to "able to use an elibrary".


What about the poor who can't afford to buy all the books they want to read?


Again, this is an area where ebooks have an advantage over pbooks. Digital copies are much cheaper to produce and distribute.


Who'll bother digitising local history archives that are of interest to a very small clientele?


Have you heard of the "long tail"? If the prospective audience of a library's collection is expanded to include "everyone", it has a much higher chance of finding an interested audience for its works.


reading for recreation can still be enhanced by the tactile and visual appeal of a beautifully produced book.


Please, do we really need to discuss this? I'm sure there were people who loved the tactile experience of clay tablets with cuneiform writing; the heft, the texture, the nice color. This does not mean they were a more effective vessel of knowledge. (That's what we're discussing here, right?)


Libraries are too precious to surrender willingly; and we should remember that Western civilisation only survives to the present day because of the heroic librarians of the past. They may yet be called upon again, we cannot afford to be without them.


One of the things that differentiates Western civilization is our willingness to let go of the past when a newer, better way of doing things comes along. Librarians are heroic, and I think they have a large role to play in the future. However, I do not think the day-to-day job is going to look much like it did in the past.

Is there something sacred about libraries? Yes! Imho, they are more sacred than cathedrals.

Public libraries, as we know them today, are not that old. As with all human institutions, the library has undergone a great deal of change throughout its history.

Are repositories of human knowledge sacred? Yes. Are huge buildings containing stacks upon stacks of information printed on wood pulp sacred? No.

6charlong
11-28-2007, 02:00 PM
This thread got me curious about where the candidates for the US Presidency stand. This is the only one I found that addresses the issue on their Web site:

Protect American Intellectual Property Abroad: The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that in 2005, more than nine of every 10 DVDs sold in China were illegal copies. The U.S. Trade Representative said 80 percent of all counterfeit products seized at U.S. borders still come from China. Barack Obama will work to ensure intellectual property is protected in foreign markets, and promote greater cooperation on international standards that allow our technologies to compete everywhere.

Protect Intellectual Property at Home: Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.

Reform the Patent System: A system that produces timely, high-quality patents is essential for global competitiveness in the 21st century. By improving predictability and clarity in our patent system, we will help foster an environment that encourages innovation. Giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation. With better informational resources, the Patent and Trademark Office could offer patent applicants who know they have significant inventions the option of a rigorous and public peer review that would produce a "gold-plated" patent much less vulnerable to court challenge. Where dubious patents are being asserted, the PTO could conduct low-cost, timely administrative proceedings to determine patent validity. As president, Barack Obama will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.

drgnbear
11-28-2007, 05:26 PM
Imagine what was lost to the world when the great library of Alexandria burned to the ground. If only it all could have been digitized and stored on a remote server... I wonder if I could hold the entire library on my Kindle? LOL

Penforhire
11-28-2007, 08:07 PM
I think the original poster has a valid point as viewed from the other end of the equation. He is rightfully concerned about how authors are paid for their work in a non-DRM digital world. I personally dislike DRM. I have modern programs with dongles because of it. But I understand it. What are the alternatives?

Baen exists in a small niche. I am not convinced their model would survive Joe Public exposure once e-readers are common.

DRM would be less onerous if the format never changed; If the books we buy today would absolutely "work" in ten years. But digital has proven to be much more fragile than that. Whether it is a DRM-server going down (or out of business) or a CD/hard drive failure, DRM is a disaster waiting to happen. Let's say it has too much potential for failure.

Paper books have the potential to burn or fade but they has a much longer track record of success than e-books. As a reasonable man I feel justified in stripping DRM out or avoiding it whenever possible in my possessions.

I suggested in other threads that the subscription model appears to be the golden path to me. You don't need DRM if any book I want can be delivered on demand. You don't need to own the books at all if truly on-demand. If you are an annotation freak we could have "sidecar" files so any time that book is loaded into your reader your notes get loaded too. As much as I like books, and my house overflows with books, I am having a hard time justifying my own resistance to the subscription model.

You could argue that in a real purchase I do not have any on-going cost. But if on-going expense is a burden them perhaps our governments can subsidize it for the poor, like anything else.

I think the strongest objection I have now is, who gets to maintain all the content and rake in the money? Clearly whoever that is would have to kick back funds to publishers and they, in turn, to writers. Amazon's Kindle looks like "version 1" of precisely the device (and company) that could support that business model.

Am I missing anything? (sorry for rambling)

micomicon
11-28-2007, 09:20 PM
I think the original poster has a valid point as viewed from the other end of the equation. He is rightfully concerned about how authors are paid for their work in a non-DRM digital world... What are the alternatives?

For authors there are many alternatives. With ebooks, self-publishing is a real possibility, and business models are legion. I believe there is at least one self-publishing author in these fora.

For the publishing industry -- who DRM really serves -- the options are very limited. Publishers are in the uncomfortable position of horse-carriage manufacturers facing the internal combustion engine. They are trying to impose speed limits on us to keep the roads safe for their products.

JohnClif
11-28-2007, 10:10 PM
I've read this thread, being an author and an ereader user/owner for many years now.

Those who are against DRM have yet to answer how they would ensure that authors/publishers get compensated fairly without it. And, 'fairly' means they get paid according to their terms, not yours. The customer's choice is to buy or not buy, not rip off the author/publisher because they disagree with the price.

Those who are for DRM have yet to answer how they would ensure that customers have their rights protected. Once a customer buys a book, they should own the right to read that book in perpetuity. They should have the right to sell that book to another, and to receive whatever price that can be mutually agree upon to transfer the right to read that ebook.

If Amazon would do either of two things, a lot of people who are upset about DRM would be a lot less upset:

Provide translation to and from DRM Mobipocket to .AZW for a nominal fee (ten cents?)
Support DRM Mobipocket


Additionally, if Amazon would provide a service that allowed people to post their used Kindle books (actually the rights to read a book) back on Amazon's Kindle Shop for other Kindle buyers to purchase (and charge a nominal fee, ten cents?) for this, then Kindle adoption would be wide-spread and enthusiastic.

Doing these things is really trivial for Amazon... and would result in lots more profits. Why they don't is beyond me.

And finally... I think DRM will be transformed by eBook manufacturers more than publishers, although publishers will also be pushing for it. Really, the more formats/devices that a book can be read in/on, the better for everyone (publishers, readers, even Amazon). So, I expect to see DRM between .AZW and .MOBI brought in alignment along with a conversion service and ereader software upgrades... to end the Tower of Babel once and for all.

micomicon
11-28-2007, 10:44 PM
John, I sympathize with your position. However, you argue from the perspective of maintaining the status quo. This is untenable in the long term.


'fairly' means they get paid according to their terms, not yours.


Sorry to be blunt, but this definition of fairness is becoming obsolete. This is exactly what is so painful about this transition: it shifts power to consumers in previously unimaginable ways.


The customer's choice is to buy or not buy


The flipside: the author's choice is to publish or not to publish. It will be a long time before anyone is forced to make this choice vis-a-vis DRM, but I think it will eventually happen. I also believe the current players in the industry (authors, editors, publishers, etc.) will have to choose between adapting to the new conditions or facing irrelevance.

BTW, I'm not saying that any of this is either good or bad, nor do I purport to have answers to your questions. I'm just pointing out the facts...


We are dealing with a new medium.
The new medium upends many of the pricing/control/ownership structures that support its predecessor.
The parties that have a vested interest in the old medium are throttling the new medium in order to preserve their interests.
The historical record is not on the side of parties that have attempted this sort of throttling in other industries.


For the record, I've always payed for my books, music, films, etc., and plan to keep doing so even if I were able to download them for free. It is the honorable thing to do, and as a creator myself I know the hard work that is required to produce cultural artifacts. Do I think everyone will act honorably? No. Do I think most people will? Given a choice, yes.

PHugger
11-28-2007, 10:49 PM
Those who are against DRM have yet to answer how they would ensure that authors/publishers get compensated fairly without it. And, 'fairly' means they get paid according to their terms, not yours. The customer's choice is to buy or not buy, not rip off the author/publisher because they disagree with the price.
Thanks for responding John. It's great to hear from an author.

First - I have no quibbles about price. If I feel something is too expensive, I won't buy it. A purchase is a contract where both parties must be satisfied. Charge whatever you want - the market will determine whether you are right or wrong.

Second - I'm not sure it's fair to burden a purchaser with the responsibility of ensuring that authors and publishers are treated fairly. As I've said before, once I legally purchase your content, I have fulfilled all of my copyright, moral, and financial responsibilities. The transaction is completed. DRM is a pain in the hinder - an inconvenience for me the legal purchaser of your content. DRM attempts to halt piracy, but mostly just effects your customers - NOT the pirates. I'd like my eBooks to work the same way that pBooks do. They are locked onto a single reader and a single PC. That would be like buying a pBook and being forced to read it only when seated in one specific chair. I don't have the answers - I just know that burdening customers with feeble DRM is not the answer. Stop the pirates without inconveniencing the customers. It's a hard problem, but smart people can figure it out.


Best regards,
PCH

JohnClif
11-28-2007, 11:11 PM
Second - I'm not sure it's fair to burden a purchaser with the responsibility of ensuring that authors and publishers are treated fairly. As I've said before, once I legally purchase your content, I have fulfilled all of my copyright, moral, and financial responsibilities. The transaction is completed. DRM is a pain in the hinder - an inconvenience for me the legal purchaser of your content. DRM attempts to halt piracy, but mostly just effects your customers - NOT the pirates. I'd like my eBooks to work the same way that pBooks do.


I don't think it's unreasonable or immoral to expect the purchaser to respect the purchase agreement, i.e., don't distribute copies of the ebook to people who haven't paid for it. If authors/publishers can't be assured of receiving money for each individual user of an ebook, they will be dissuaded from publishing ebooks, and the movement away from paper stops in its tracks. So, DRM attempts to protect the author/publisher without angering the customer too much.

I agree that DRM is a PITA, primarily because we have two states: the ebook is freely distributable, or it is completely non-distributable including to the original purchaser.

Maybe a model where the price you pay for an ebook sets that ebook's lifetime, i.e., a low price gives you the book for days, higher for weeks or months, highest for lifetime. But I'm also sure the publishing industry knows what the 'lifetime' of a typical novel is (one, maybe two read-throughs). Reference books are different.

Yep... rights protection (by whatever means) still has to be figured out in order to move books away from paper. It's gotta work for everyone.

JohnClif
11-28-2007, 11:25 PM
Sorry to be blunt, but this definition of fairness is becoming obsolete. This is exactly what is so painful about this transition: it shifts power to consumers in previously unimaginable ways.

Fairness can never become obsolete. What's fair is fair, regardless. It's not about power, it's about rights. If you can strip DRM and resell multiple copies of my work that are now unprotected, you have the power, but you do not have the right. The ebook model will not work unless authors/publishers can rest assured that they will not be ripped off.

The flipside: the author's choice is to publish or not to publish. It will be a long time before anyone is forced to make this choice vis-a-vis DRM, but I think it will eventually happen. I also believe the current players in the industry (authors, editors, publishers, etc.) will have to choose between adapting to the new conditions or facing irrelevance.

Yes, that is the choice. If there is no financial incentive to publish ebooks, if ebooks aren't at least as protected from piracy as pbooks, then the ebook world will die, at least for copyright-protected books. That hurts both consumer and producer.

BTW, I'm not saying that any of this is either good or bad, nor do I purport to have answers to your questions. I'm just pointing out the facts...


We are dealing with a new medium.
The new medium upends many of the pricing/control/ownership structures that support its predecessor.
The parties that have a vested interest in the old medium are throttling the new medium in order to preserve their interests.
The historical record is not on the side of parties that have attempted this sort of throttling in other industries.


It's not about throttling the new medium, it's about ensuring that authors get paid at least as much under the new system as they did the old system. What the new medium does is remove the barriers to entry for smaller or less-well-known authors and publishers. What it also may do is remove the incentive for those people. What makes capitalism work over pure socialism/communism is the ability for people to be compensated in proportion to the quality and quantity of work they produce as judged by the market. If that won't hold true for ebooks then no one will write ebooks.

For the record, I've always payed for my books, music, films, etc., and plan to keep doing so even if I were able to download them for free. It is the honorable thing to do, and as a creator myself I know the hard work that is required to produce cultural artifacts. Do I think everyone will act honorably? No. Do I think most people will? Given a choice, yes.

Many people are indeed honest. But, not everyone. When Microsoft put the ability to have their software (Windows, Office, etc.) actually talk to Microsoft Internet servers when running on a connected computer, they discovered that two-thirds of the Microsoft software that was running was pirated. Can you imagine that? Microsoft was losing tens of billions of dollars a year due to piracy. It's easy to understand why they implemented a very robust DRM strategy for their products.

kovidgoyal
11-29-2007, 12:27 AM
When Microsoft put the ability to have their software (Windows, Office, etc.) actually talk to Microsoft Internet servers when running on a connected computer, they discovered that two-thirds of the Microsoft software that was running was pirated. Can you imagine that? Microsoft was losing tens of billions of dollars a year due to piracy. It's easy to understand why they implemented a very robust DRM strategy for their products.

And yet Microsoft is a billion dollar company. Cue sermon about greed. Cue sermon about monopolistic trade practices. Cue sermon about their DRM already having been cracked. Cue sermon about their impending downfall to Linux.

maxk
11-29-2007, 12:59 AM
Many people are indeed honest. But, not everyone. When Microsoft put the ability to have their software (Windows, Office, etc.) actually talk to Microsoft Internet servers when running on a connected computer, they discovered that two-thirds of the Microsoft software that was running was pirated. Can you imagine that? Microsoft was losing tens of billions of dollars a year due to piracy. It's easy to understand why they implemented a very robust DRM strategy for their products.

Not sure where you get the idea they have a robust DRM strategy.

Try a bit torrent search for any of their products.

As people keep repeating, an inconvenience for honest paying users, still poses no problems for thieves.

hidari
11-29-2007, 01:34 AM
Perhaps the Ebook will do what Emusic has done to the Music Industry. I, for one, was tired of paying for overpriced CDs and watching Record companies put holes in my wallet.

Now and If, The ebook rises to a fair amount of fame; we will see book prices at a normal level.


NB: I can let my friend borrow a p-book and I do not hear any screams form authors or the publishing industry, yet an Ebook causes riots. Perhaps the afore mentioned are afraid of ending up in the dustbin with the rest of us.

As for Microsoft...Give me a break. They find out that they have pirated editions of their software. I do not Think Mr. Gates is crying over whether his firm has 50 billion vs 15 billion in his pockets. That is a weak point.

I have lived in Russia for years. You can buy most software for 5 dollars on the street once it hits the markets in the USA and Europe within 48 hours. Most people buy it and many companies use black market software. Now, Microsoft and many companies are starting to Release Russian versions of their software and "Normal" Prices ...and Surprise....People are buying it.

I just hope the Same comes of Ebooks. Way overpriced and the selection is poor on many sites. Not everyone reads best sellers.......








Fairness can never become obsolete. What's fair is fair, regardless. It's not about power, it's about rights. If you can strip DRM and resell multiple copies of my work that are now unprotected, you have the power, but you do not have the right. The ebook model will not work unless authors/publishers can rest assured that they will not be ripped off.



Yes, that is the choice. If there is no financial incentive to publish ebooks, if ebooks aren't at least as protected from piracy as pbooks, then the ebook world will die, at least for copyright-protected books. That hurts both consumer and producer.



It's not about throttling the new medium, it's about ensuring that authors get paid at least as much under the new system as they did the old system. What the new medium does is remove the barriers to entry for smaller or less-well-known authors and publishers. What it also may do is remove the incentive for those people. What makes capitalism work over pure socialism/communism is the ability for people to be compensated in proportion to the quality and quantity of work they produce as judged by the market. If that won't hold true for ebooks then no one will write ebooks.



Many people are indeed honest. But, not everyone. When Microsoft put the ability to have their software (Windows, Office, etc.) actually talk to Microsoft Internet servers when running on a connected computer, they discovered that two-thirds of the Microsoft software that was running was pirated. Can you imagine that? Microsoft was losing tens of billions of dollars a year due to piracy. It's easy to understand why they implemented a very robust DRM strategy for their products.

delphidb96
11-29-2007, 02:35 AM
JonClif,

Screw the $0.10 per translation between Secure Mobipocket and AZW! What Amazon *SHOULD* do is create an application for the PC/Mac which does the translation. And then they should either *GIVE* it away, or charge a small (less than $40), one-time fee for it.

Let's take my case in point. I've got well over 2,000 Secure Mobipocket ebooks. (Okay, I've got over 4,900 DRM'd eReader ebooks as well, but let's take things one step at a time.) Why should I - if I decide to abandon the Cybook Gen3 - *PAY* over $200 to convert these already-purchased Secure Mobipocket ebooks?!? And until someone can give me such an application, I'm not buying a Kindle. Nosirree-Bob! Not gonna go there!

Derek

HarryT
11-29-2007, 02:42 AM
Let's take my case in point. I've got well over 2,000 Secure Mobipocket ebooks.

Good Heavens!

(Okay, I've got over 4,900 DRM'd eReader ebooks as well, but let's take things one step at a time.) Why should I - if I decide to abandon the Cybook Gen3 - *PAY* over $200 to convert these already-purchased Secure Mobipocket ebooks?!? And until someone can give me such an application, I'm not buying a Kindle. Nosirree-Bob! Not gonna go there!

Derek

Don't you think that's one of the benefits of DRM from the supplier's viewpoint - that fact that it effectively locks you in to that provider? To use an analogy I've used before, it's very similar to the way that SLR camera manufacturers all use different lens mounts. If you've already spent a fortune on Nikon lenses, when you buy a new camera you're probably not going to throw away that investment and buy a Canon camera - you're going to buy another Nikon camera body so you can continue to use your existing lenses. Similarly, you (like me) are going to continue buying reading devices which support MobiPocket you that you don't lose your investment in your eBooks.

We may not like it as consumers, but from the supplier's viewpoint it makes excellent business sense.

mores
11-29-2007, 03:07 AM
I've got well over 2,000 Secure Mobipocket ebooks. (Okay, I've got over 4,900 DRM'd eReader ebooks as well, but let's take things one step at a time.) :huh: *gulp* dude, what kind of money do you spend on ebooks ?
mobipocket has been around since 2000, so that means you've purchased about 285,7 books per year. average price of an ebook is something around 10 bucks, so you spend 2857 bucks a year just on mobipocket books ? that's 238 dollars A MONTH!

i think i want your job if you can afford that, AND have enough time to read 238 dollars worth of books :)

lubberts
11-29-2007, 04:46 AM
Try a bit torrent search for any of their products.
NB: I can let my friend borrow a p-book and I do not hear any screams form authors or the publishing industry, yet an Ebook causes riots.

To me these two quotes from anti-DRM...advocates (that doesn't sound right...anti-advocate? It's a word now!!) pinpoint the exact problem that publishers and the true owners of the IP are facing. Sure, now you can lend a copy of the book that you own to a friend to read, but you do not have the ability to place the book on your front steps, and let tens of thousands of people copy it overnight for no charge in order to read it whenever they want. That's what these bittorrent and other programs for peer to peer file sharing effectively do. They do not let you loan, or share a book with one or two friends who will eventually probably pay to read the second installment, they are not designed to allow you to share a book with only the members of your family. They are designed PURELY for the purpose of giving whole and complete copies of said content to TONS of people.
With a Pbook, even if you shared the book with your whole family...of ten, and then said book was sold to a used book store, and then re-purchased and shared with a whole other family of ten, and so on 5 times (we all know that is very unlikely) then you have only allowed 49 other brains to digest that content without rewarding the person who created it. Forget the "who gets how much of each book sale" argument for the moment, because obviously they get enough (or just enough) to live and continue creating. Say in total that creator has a base audience of 1 million people who would like to read their book at the time that it is released. That means in pbook terms they will still be making 20,000 sales of that book, if every situation followed that un-likely model.
Now for that same situation lets assume that on bittorent the one legally paid for book is able to reach 100 people, a very meager estimate, and the same 1 million people want to read the book. Just in terms of accessability that means the difference of HALF the sales!! HALF!! imagine if your income was cut in half tommorow. Would you still be able to thirve? I wouldn't!! I'd have to change my line of work, and in the world of books, that means one less author. Now imagine that that author is the author that you most enjoy. The one you'd consider the diamond in the rough, not a ny times best seller, but someone you enjoy nonetheless. By getting rid of DRM you would allow the craptastic people of the world to deprive you of many more creations by your favorite author!!
And OK OK, I hear your argument about not wanting to be treated like a thief, but the very existence and proliferation of sites like the pirate bay and bittorent prove that while you may be the citizen to return the wallet full of hundreds when you happen upon it, most would not. Those people would be the ones to drive one of your favorite authors out of business, all because you could not stomach a bit of DRM...? isn't that like letting the poopers of society win? Be the example, and hopefully others will follow, and your shining example of law abidingness will lead all the rest of the masses to the light also.
Right. I'll hold my breath.

On another note, no one has really mentioned that the very pbooks that sit on your shelves also contain DRM. Granted it is much more easily "cracked" with the widespread availability of scanners and copiers this day and age, but you are limited by the format. There is no "right click copy" function or "copy and paste" function on that book.

computer almost out of battery, would like to proofread, but I'm too longwinded. Please, Argue with me!!

hidari
11-29-2007, 05:20 AM
I have to say you bring up some good arguments. I think some form of DRM has some justification. But, Telling people that your salary or royalties will be cut in half will not garner much sympathy; especially, From the "Best Selling Author" crowd in their McMansions. It reminds me of Morgan Freeman, Prince and Metallica complaining about pirating of their works as they sit in million dollar mansions and drive BMWs down the street. All that does is get people more pissed off at these artists. I would have far more sympathy with a new writer and kindly buy his book at full price then to buy than some of the best seller drivel that seems to be ubiquitous on amazon and ebook sites.

130 years ago the circus was a major form of entertainment for Europe and much of the world. The coming of Film and TV in the years that followed forced people to change jobs. If that happens to some writers out there, Then, so be it. Quite a few good writers had other careers as they wrote their books. The Golden age of Oil allows Authors in Developed countries to live a life of leisure and write as they wish. I doubt the same could be said for an author from Uzbekistan or The Congo.



To me these two quotes from anti-DRM...advocates (that doesn't sound right...anti-advocate? It's a word now!!) pinpoint the exact problem that publishers and the true owners of the IP are facing.. Just in terms of accessability that means the difference of HALF the sales!! HALF!! imagine if your income was cut in half tommorow. Would you still be able to thirve? I wouldn't!! I'd have to change my line of work, and in the world of books, that means one less author. Now imagine that that author is the author that you most enjoy. The one you'd consider the diamond in the rough, not a ny times best seller, but someone you enjoy nonetheless. By getting rid of DRM you would allow the craptastic people of the world to deprive you of many more creations by your favorite author!!
And OK OK, I hear your argument about not wanting to be treated like a thief, but the very existence and proliferation of sites like the pirate bay and bittorent prove that while you may be the citizen to return the wallet full of hundreds when you happen upon it, most would not. Those people would be the ones to drive one of your favorite authors out of business, all because you could not stomach a bit of DRM...?
computer almost out of battery, would like to proofread, but I'm too longwinded. Please, Argue with me!!

micomicon
11-29-2007, 08:07 AM
JohnClif, thank you for engaging us in this discussion -- this is an important topic, and I for one am glad you are here to represent your POV.


It's not about throttling the new medium, it's about ensuring that authors get paid at least as much under the new system as they did the old system.


This is, by definition, what I mean by "maintaining the status quo". A rhetorical sentence to illustrate the silliness: "It's not about throttling the new method of transportation, it's about ensuring horse-carriage manufacturers get paid at least as much under the new system as they did the old system."

Why must the new system ensure this?


What it also may do is remove the incentive for those people.


Yes, it may do that. OTOH, it may also create incentives for a myriad others, who would never have seriously thought about publishing, or who the old system would have shunned, to do so.

It may turn out that there are brilliant new business models to be explored that create much greater incentives for authors. But it will be hard to find out if we are having artificial restrictions placed on the medium in order to maintain the old business model.

To illustrate: imagine a world in which books carry advertising. (A sacrilege, I know; please bare with me.) Authors are compensated by the amount of times their works are read, not by copy sold. In this scenario, it is in the author's best interest to have as many copies out in the world, regardless of whether they are paid for or not. This is a model that is clearly hurt by the current situation, in which all the devices employ a different proprietary format, and in which the copying of books is actively discouraged.

FWIW, I much prefer the current business model -- I'd hate to have ads peppered through my reading. The point is that DRM limitations are a way of imposing the old business model on a medium that offers very different challenges and opportunities. Ebooks are being hurt by the complexity imposed by DRM and are probably not going to be a big market until this complexity goes away.


What makes capitalism work over pure socialism/communism is the ability for people to be compensated in proportion to the quality and quantity of work they produce as judged by the market.


It's interesting that you should mention this. I happen to think that in this case, DRM represents the totalitarian end of the spectrum; imposing artificial limitations on markets is a hallmark of totalitarian forms of government. Think, what side of this argument would Thomas Jefferson advocate?

The crux of the problem is that -- to use a tired, old metaphor -- authors have been selling bottles, not wine. Now we get to find out what the market is willing to pay for the wine itself, sans bottles.


Microsoft


I'm not gonna go near this... suffice it to say this company is not a model of "fairness", by any definition of the word, and an example of the dangers of monopolistic platform control to free markets.

HarryT
11-29-2007, 08:25 AM
It reminds me of Morgan Freeman, Prince and Metallica complaining about pirating of their works as they sit in million dollar mansions and drive BMWs down the street. All that does is get people more pissed off at these artists.

In a free-market economy, though, anyone has the right to offer their product for sale at any price that they wish. Your choice, as a consumer, is to decide whether or not to buy it at that price. You certainly don't have any right, either legal or moral, to say "they're charging too much for it, so I'm going to steal it". That's no different whether the product is being sold by a millionaire or a pauper.

At the end of the day it's the market which will determine what a fair price is. If the price is too high, sales will be poor, and the seller will have to reduce their prices to remain competitive.

igorsk
11-29-2007, 08:27 AM
Baen exists in a small niche. I am not convinced their model would survive Joe Public exposure once e-readers are common.

I was thinking of writing a small article on it, but couldn't find the time, so I'll just summarize here quickly.
There is a new Russian company, LitRes, which recently opened an e-book shop (http://www.litres.ru/). It has some pretty remarkable features:

All books have no DRM, and are available in the following formats: fb2.zip, rtf.zip, html.zip, txt.zip, doc, prc.zip, rb, java.
Any book can be read completely online, for free (with weak copy/paste protection and some ads). Authors still get compensated.
Average price for a 700KB book is 25 roubles (around $1)
Currently 1922 books are available. The main slowdown is not the number of texts available in e-form, but having to settle contracts with every author (majority of contracts are signed directly with authors, not publishers).
Several authors have their complete bibliography available.
Reportedly, authors get a 30% royalty
Selected authors can be "rewarded" by sending an arbitrary sum directly to them
Books can be offered for free, if desired so by the author
A lot of content on the site comes from the major "pirate" online libraries (now owned by LitRes), where content was scanned and OCRed by volunteers. Many major contributors now work in LitRes (and some are actually founders).
Whenever possible, LitRes offers "master" text from the author/publisher. If not, it is scanned, OCRed and proofed from hardcopy. Because they were doing it for years, LitRes employees are professionals in this, and the book texts have not many errors.
The "pirate" libraries still offer many works for download (over 30000 in total), when the rights are not yet settled with LitRes and the author/publisher did not request a takedown. New works are added every day.
It's still very easy to find about any book for free, either on one of the less known online libraries or in big torrent collections with complete archives of the "big" libraties. Only the worst offenders, which try to ignore takedown requests, are pursued by LitRes.

PHugger
11-29-2007, 08:32 AM
I don't think it's unreasonable or immoral to expect the purchaser to respect the purchase agreement, i.e., don't distribute copies of the ebook to people who haven't paid for it.
I completely agree - I draw a line between honest legitimate customers and pirates. I firmly believe that one should be cultivated and the other plucked like a weed. Current DRM technology is too burdensome for the legitimate customers, while it's target -the pirates, dance around it. It's like firing a shotgun into a flock of birds in order to kill the bat that flies with them. This is a technical problem and the current easy solutions aren't working.

I guess I'm advocating DRM that stops piracy and still treats me like an honest customer.



PCH

PHugger
11-29-2007, 08:35 AM
There is a new Russian company, LitRes, which recently opened an e-book shop (http://www.litres.ru/). It has some pretty remarkable features.....

ALLOFMP3 for books? Sad thing is that people will likely fall for this as the publishing lobby isn't as strong as the RIAA.




PCH

igorsk
11-29-2007, 08:57 AM
ALLOFMP3 for books? Sad thing is that people will likely fall for this as the publishing lobby isn't as strong as the RIAA.

"Sad thing", "fall for this"? I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

HappyMartin
11-29-2007, 09:04 AM
I dont get the argument about drm being so very inconvenient nor the outrage about being treated like a thief.

Say you decide at 3 a.m. that you would like a new T.V. You wonder off to the shops to buy one but the shops are locked. Why do they not simply stay open all nite and you can just leave the money for what you want on the counter. Take the tv and off you go. Perhaps you would pay and are not a thief but the shop is locked to prevent the thieves from taking the tv. This is not treating you like a thief, it is trying to protect property from being stolen.

I don't feel like a thief when I see a locked door or scanners at shop exits. I don't feel like a terrorist when negotiating the hell that is current airport security.

Liviu_5
11-29-2007, 09:08 AM
Those who are against DRM have yet to answer how they would ensure that authors/publishers get compensated fairly without it. And, 'fairly' means they get paid according to their terms, not yours. The customer's choice is to buy or not buy, not rip off the author/publisher because they disagree with the price.


This shows the big misunderstanding about drm. How does drm ensures that authors/publishers get compensated fairly?? Sell something reasonably popular or with a cult following and with all drm in the world (and for that matter without doing an e-version) it is going to find its way on the net quite fast.

Sell something obscure and drm or not it does not matter, most likely nobody is going to bother uploading it or reading it for that matter.

To me the crux of the matter is not drm, but how the money will come with e-content, and I agree that it is a tricky issue, with no clear answers right now.

andyafro
11-29-2007, 09:35 AM
I believes it's wrong the way DRM linits your choices. ok copyright is good but once you have purchased your book or music it should be yours to do with what you want.

There should be a program that allows a person to use what they have bought with any device as long as it can be proved they have bought it.

The problem is the tecnology is moving faster then they music industry or the ebook one. This is what happened when people started sharing music over the net it became not about what you could find but what you couldn't find but wanted.

This is the same with the ebook industry people are starting to take notice but there's not enough books out there. you see a book you want but you can't find it anywhere other then on some torrent site or other websites, all you wanted to do was read that book (same as listen to that song you have not heard in ages thats not in the shop anymore)
but you being branded a criminal for finding it even though its not been made available.

And what happens when that file format is not longer available like your bbeb files you get from sony connect, they useless when the format is finished but the fact is you paided for them isn't that in it's self fraud (the book is yours till we decide you can have it) to me i would rather get it in ms reader format and break it into html that way i have a copy of a book i paided for and is rightly mine.

I say let go of the DRM and let trusted websites and buisiness run and regulate themselves and concetrate on shutting down the websites that don't.

Fact is you can put as much DRM on something as u want but you gonna lose cos someone will break it eventually and it has to be that way because at the moment it's not fair.

Maybe and special hard drive would be good a portable one that only lets your books on it, as long as they on this drive they can be used as you please. off the hard drive they would have restrictions. that way its with you plus if books had a watermark (like mentioned in earlier post) these books could be tracked back to you making you reponsible for your copy. With out the need for DRM. i mean your ebook reader must come with a code that registers when you buy a book like on connect.

It's time for something new because the music industry history has shown that drm doesnt work. people will find a way to get what they want.

HarryT
11-29-2007, 09:55 AM
I believes it's wrong the way DRM linits your choices. ok copyright is good but once you have purchased your book or music it should be yours to do with what you want.


But what happens when what you want to do is to give copies of it to all your friends, or post it on a bittorrent site for 10,000 other people to download? You can understand, surely, that most publishers are going to want to try and take steps to prevent people from doing that?

We need to find the right balance between the rights of the consumer and the rights of the producer.

Liviu_5
11-29-2007, 10:32 AM
But what happens when what you want to do is to give copies of it to all your friends, or post it on a bittorrent site for 10,000 other people to download? You can understand, surely, that most publishers are going to want to try and take steps to prevent people from doing that?

We need to find the right balance between the rights of the consumer and the rights of the producer.

Again the question is how drm stops content being shared on bit-torrent or whenever?? If you are someone who does that, what stops you from getting a drm-free copy and sharing it (for anything popular despite any and all drm there will be someone who will get that on the Net).

If you do not want to bother or you do not know how to get that drm-free copy why would you rush and upload your drm-free copy ??

This argument that drm stops the casual user from sharing is flawed because I do not think that there is anyone who is able to upload his drm-free content and not able to find a drm-free of said content if available. So the argument would hold water only if you could prove that having drm content leads to no copy anywhere on the Net. Experience shows that to be false, the determinant for Net availability being popularity/cult following, not lack of drm...

Drm just annoys people, adds to cost and complexity, and detracts from real issues like how to ensure a decent revenue stream to content creators/enablers from digital content.

micomicon
11-29-2007, 10:43 AM
But what happens when what you want to do is to give copies of it to all your friends, or post it on a bittorrent site for 10,000 other people to download?


What is preventing unscrupulous users from doing this now? Why are we still buying books if DRM can be (and has been) removed from particular ebooks? I suspect there must be tens of thousands of books out in the darknet, readily available for downloading. Yet here we are, still buying books. Why?

Two answers come to mind:


Convenience - it's much easier/faster to obtain ebooks via legit channels, even with the inconvenience of having to deal with multiple formats and DRM.
Ethics - most people are not criminals; they understand that authors need to be remunerated for their work. Many (I would think most) of us believe in the importance of adhering to a social compact.


"Sad thing", "fall for this"? I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

igorsk, if I understood correctly the way this site works, it is engaging in criminal behavior by not respecting copyright law. It seems the equivalent of darknet, except that it's charging customers for stolen goods.

NatCh
11-29-2007, 10:54 AM
Putting on my Moderator's hat for just a moment: I'd like to chime in and express appreciation for the civil and respectful tone of this discussion, as someone noted early on: anywhere else this would be a flame-war, here, it's a substantive, courteous discussion.

This sort of discussion is the very Heart of MobileRead, and the tone you have all collectively taken is very much its Spirit. Thank you. :clap:

Moderator's hat off: carry on. :nice:

JSWolf
11-29-2007, 11:02 AM
NatCh's moderator's hat has two beer cans and straws. On the front it says Moderate This.

micomicon
11-29-2007, 11:46 AM
Fairness can never become obsolete. What's fair is fair, regardless.

In an ideal, platonic world -- maybe. In the real world, the definition of concepts like fairness changes quite a bit depending on the society and context it is being used in. It was once thought "fair" to base an entire economy on slave labor.

It's not about power, it's about rights.

In the real world, power defines what rights you have. For an example of the consequences, look at this quote which has thus far gone unquestioned:


I don't feel like a terrorist when negotiating the hell that is current airport security.

Penforhire
11-29-2007, 11:52 AM
One facet the pro-DRM group seems to gloss over is, it ONLY affects legal users. Pirates will always break the DRM, with enough interest they always have. So the key point is DRM is a hassle-factor only for those of us who buy the books anyway!

If you take away DRM AND price the material reasonably ($10 still feels high for a typical e-book) Joe Public will play by the rules and continue buying e-books. That is how authors will get paid.

You guys touched on it above, Microsoft made their fortunes on non-DRM'd software. It is only recently that they decided to crack down on unauthorized users. Same for Adobe and others. It seems like they forgot how they got to the monster successes of today. Are you saying Bill Gates is suffering financially today because of lack of DRM yesterday? I argue the exact opposite.

HarryT
11-29-2007, 12:09 PM
One facet the pro-DRM group seems to gloss over is, it ONLY affects legal users. Pirates will always break the DRM, with enough interest they always have. So the key point is DRM is a hassle-factor only for those of us who buy the books anyway!


One needs to differentiate between the casual pirate and the serious professional criminal. The latter will indeed be unaffected by DRM, but there's a heck of a lot of casual piracy goes on - we must have all encountered that, or perhaps even participated in it; giving copies of CDs to our friends, etc. It's that which DRM prevents.

The true criminal - the person who uploads books to usenet or bittorrent sites - will only be stopped (IMHO) by a few "lock them up and throw away the key" type prosecutions.

Nate the great
11-29-2007, 12:11 PM
One needs to differentiate between the casual pirate and the serious professional criminal. The latter will indeed be unaffected by DRM, but there's a heck of a lot of casual piracy goes on - we must have all encountered that, or perhaps even participated in it; giving copies of CDs to our friends, etc. It's that which DRM prevents.

And the other kind of piracy we must prevent is when you lend the original to a friend. It must be stopped!

HarryT
11-29-2007, 12:13 PM
And the other kind of piracy we must prevent is when you lend the original to a friend. It must be stopped!

As long as your friend has the same type of bookreader that you do, every device on the market (AFAIK) provides that capability.

wgrimm
11-29-2007, 12:17 PM
In a free-market economy, though, anyone has the right to offer their product for sale at any price that they wish. You certainly don't have any right, either legal or moral, to say "they're charging too much for it, so I'm going to steal it". That's no different whether the product is being sold by a millionaire or a pauper.

At the end of the day it's the market which will determine what a fair price is. If the price is too high, sales will be poor, and the seller will have to reduce their prices to remain competitive.

This analysis is too simplistic for the digital world. Standard economics theory can't explain digital mediums very well. Cost of production? May make sense when considering farm products or televisions or other material goods. But what about software and e-books? Cost of production remains the same whether 100 or 100 million copies are sold. Even cost of distribution remains almost unchanged if web distribution is employed.

Given these facts, I think market forces, and even theft and piracy, will act to drive the prices of digital goods way down. I think we'll see all but some specialized software become extremely cheap or free, and digital entertainment media prices will plummet. The companies that DRM stuff are acting against market forces, and will fail. Watch Amazon- watch the Kindle crash and burn. It's been done before- the mass of consumers didn't care then and didn't buy into the scheme, and they won't now either.

I like e-books, and have several readers, but- say I want to read a book, and either the library doesn't have it or I want to own a copy. Well, hardcover price is $24. Would I buy the e-edition, DRM-locked to a particular device, for $19.99? No way, probably not for 9.99. But remove that DRM and make it available for most formats, and I probably would.....

slayda
11-29-2007, 12:19 PM
Interestingly enough, many if not most of the books found on bit-torrent site do not originate from ebooks whose DRM has been broken but from scanned and OCRed pbooks.

So the bottom line for the DRM huggers is how does DRMing an ebook prevent pbook scanning and OCRing?:disappoin

NatCh
11-29-2007, 12:20 PM
NatCh's moderator's hat has two beer cans and straws. On the front it says Moderate This.You're close, I've been a Mr. Pibb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Pibb) man most of my life. :grin:

delphidb96
11-29-2007, 12:23 PM
:huh: *gulp* dude, what kind of money do you spend on ebooks ?
mobipocket has been around since 2000, so that means you've purchased about 285,7 books per year. average price of an ebook is something around 10 bucks, so you spend 2857 bucks a year just on mobipocket books ? that's 238 dollars A MONTH!

i think i want your job if you can afford that, AND have enough time to read 238 dollars worth of books :)

Naw... Actually you *don't* want a job! You want to go 'medically disabled' and get enough of a settlement to pay for all those books!!! (Seriously, if it weren't for the settlement that allowed me to buy the ebooks, I'd go start raving *BONKERS*!!!) And I'm working very hard to get back to the point where I *can* work!

But until I do get back to health and work, I need every ebook I can lay my hands on. And there's no way I'm going to pay extra - per ebook - to convert my extensive library to run on the Kindle. Like I said, give or sell me an inexpensive, standalone program I can run on my own PC and I'll gladly shell out for a Kindle.

However, this pay-per-conversion clearly is Yet Another Way To Milk Excess Profits From Unsuspecting Readers! Bad Amazon! Bad! Bad!

Derek

HarryT
11-29-2007, 12:25 PM
I like e-books, and have several readers, but- say I want to read a book, and either the library doesn't have it or I want to own a copy. Well, hardcover price is $24. Would I buy the e-edition, DRM-locked to a particular device, for $19.99? No way, probably not for 9.99. But remove that DRM and make it available for most formats, and I probably would.....

I don't think you're taking into account the fact that most of the cost of producing a book is still present for an eBook. All the work done by the publisher - copy editing, the publicity and marketing, etc - is still present whether the book is printed on paper or distributed electronically. The reason the HB costs $24 is because most publishers rely on the HB print run to recoup their costs - the MMPB is where the profit lies. If the publisher didn't have that pretty much guaranteed pay-back of costs from the HB, they wouldn't publish the book in the first place.

micomicon
11-29-2007, 12:28 PM
Serious criminals are undeterred by DRM. It does zilch to protect digital property from this crowd.

People who engage in "casual piracy" do so unwittingly (most probably don't know what they are doing is illegal). It is the most natural thing in the world for someone to lend their friend a CD or a book.

This also happens to be the base of paying customers, folks that publishers and authors should try to avoid alienating. DRM is extremely alienating. Have you read the posts on Sony Reader reviews around the web by confused nontechies asking "why can't I read Kindle books on my Reader?" This is very frustrating to these people, it seems to have no logic at all. We can't expect them to "get" it -- frankly it is totally unnatural.

What publishers and device makers can do to protect themselves from "casual piracy" is to make it less convenient for people to forward stuff than it is for them to go to points of purchase. An example: it'd be silly to have a button in the Sony Connect software that allows the user to forward a book to friend. But it'd be really cool for there to be a button to send your friend a link to the book so she can buy it.

HarryT
11-29-2007, 12:37 PM
People who engage in "casual piracy" do so unwittingly (most probably don't know what they are doing is illegal). It is the most natural thing in the world for someone to lend their friend a CD or a book.


That, of course, isn't illegal with paper books and physical CDs. The problem with digital media is that one "lends" the friend a copy while retaining the original. Perhaps the answer to that would be a DRM mechanism which permits the copy of the book to be read on the unlicenced device, but auto-expires after 24h, or something like that?

mores
11-29-2007, 12:48 PM
Naw... Actually you *don't* want a job! You want to go 'medically disabled' and get enough of a settlement to pay for all those books!!! (Seriously, if it weren't for the settlement that allowed me to buy the ebooks, I'd go start raving *BONKERS*!!!) And I'm working very hard to get back to the point where I *can* work! i'm sorry derek, i didn't know about your situation and apologize if i offended you in any way.
i actually thought you were exaggerating, but even with some "lee-way" you seem to buy A LOT of books, and i applaud your honesty.
because i have read the occasional eBook with OCR mistakes when the credit card was maxed-out again.
anyhow, i'm sorry if i put my foot in it, and i hope you get well soon!

Xenophon
11-29-2007, 01:01 PM
I don't think you're taking into account the fact that most of the cost of producing a book is still present for an eBook. All the work done by the publisher - copy editing, the publicity and marketing, etc - is still present whether the book is printed on paper or distributed electronically. The reason the HB costs $24 is because most publishers rely on the HB print run to recoup their costs - the MMPB is where the profit lies. If the publisher didn't have that pretty much guaranteed pay-back of costs from the HB, they wouldn't publish the book in the first place.

Actually, some of us are well aware of that fact. Banging that Baen drum again... They make more money (per copy) selling 5 and 6 dollar ebooks than they do from selling paper copies -- even after charging the pro rata portion of those costs to the eBooks. This is partly because they are the publisher, and thus save the distributor's and retailer's cut of the sale price of the book. Instead, the $$ are split between their web service and the publisher (with author royalties coming out of the publisher's chunk as usual).

eSales are admittedly not enough to run the company on, but they're north of 10% of total revenue -- which is nothing to sneeze at.

In a different note, you say that Baen is a small niche of the market. This is self-evidently true: SF and Fantasy are a small niche of the bookselling market, and Baen is a slice of that. On the other hand, piracy has not been a problem for their sales -- even for books that hit the NYT bestsellers list and sold hundreds of thousands of paper copies. In fact, they continue to sell both paper and eBook copies of books that they give away absolutely for free online. Sales of the books they give away go up, not down! Both in bits and on paper!!

It might not work for Steven King, or for the latest media-tie-in novel, (and who knows for things like text books) but the evidence strongly suggests that low prices and no DRM is the right choice for any fiction that isn't a #1 best-seller. (The highest any Baen author has hit that I'm aware of was David Weber with a #5 best seller. Lack of DRM didn't hurt HIS sales any!)

Xenophon

NatCh
11-29-2007, 01:03 PM
That, of course, isn't illegal with paper books and physical CDs. The problem with digital media is that one "lends" the friend a copy while retaining the original. Perhaps the answer to that would be a DRM mechanism which permits the copy of the book to be read on the unlicenced device, but auto-expires after 24h, or something like that?I've floated the idea before (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6271) of an e-book that was tied to a physical token. Something like the old notion of "book tapes' that appeared in '50s era SciFi. You could loan the token to your buddy, and wouldn't be able to read the book until/unless you got the token back. You could also sell/trade the token and no longer have access to its contents. Most of the traditional things you can do with a p-book would then be feasible with an e-book.

NatCh
11-29-2007, 01:18 PM
On the other hand, piracy has not been a problem for sales -- even for books that hit the NYT bestsellers list and sold hundreds of thousands of paper copies. In fact, they continue to sell both paper and eBook copies of books that they [B]give away absolutely for free online. Sales of the books they give away go up, not down! Both in bits and on paper!!I've been thinking about that some lately, and it occurs to me that the type of people to whom Baen's offerings appeal might have something to do with that.

No, I don't mean SciFi geeks! It's a bit complicated, so please read the whole thing and I'll try to explain myself. :wink:

All fiction, at some level, explores some principles, concepts, etc. of what it means to be Human. Even farce will do so, even if only looking at the question of what's funny or why we take ourselves so seriously.

It seems to me that many, if not most, of the titles that Baen handles consider, revolve around, and/or explore concepts such as honor, duty, and seeking to Do The Right Thing. It also seems to me that folks who enjoy reading those types of stories are folks who are, perhaps, more likely than average to incorporate those concepts and principles into their own lives.

With that as my premise, I submit that folks who are personally concerned with honor, duty, and Doing The Right Thing, are the sort of folks who will pay for their books, sometimes even when they don't have to.

This leads me to wonder if a publisher which dealt primarily with stories about petty, greedy, thieving, manipulative (complete list as you like) characters as protagonists would experience a similar sales boost under similar circumstances.


Please understand, I'm not trying to belittle Baen's accomplishment in this area, only exploring whether it really means what I think it does. :shrug:

6charlong
11-29-2007, 01:22 PM
What books actually are is a storage medium for ideas, regardless whether they are made of paper or miniaturized in an eBook reader. The copyright is what DRM is all about. The ideas in a book belong to everyone: the copyright just applies to the way the ideas are expressed.

The US Constitution protects the author's expression in the belief that copyright protection is necessary to encourage the development of the arts and sciences. Americans have always believed, and it has proven true, that the foundations of democracy are mutual trust and the free exchange of ideas. But freedom of speech, press and religion assumes the freedom to hear. The dilemma is that copyrights confer control over the freedom to listen: every book I chose to buy is a book I chose not to buy. Does anyone think that a lack of money mean I chose not to listen?

This freedom of ideas has proven itself beneficial to business and industry as well as to governance and the arts and sciences. The freedoms of expression have proven beneficial if not absolutely necessary. So what's a fair (just) balance between the need to support the creation and dissemination of ideas with the need for free access?

In the case of books, the question could be answered by the publishing industry. Lacking that, governments are forced to arbitrate through the copyright and/or patent laws because the storehouse of the culture's ideas is too sensitive an issue to leave unresolved for long.

At this point I should point out that my background is in history and political science. To me, DRM is only one technology among many possible ways to control access to eBooks. To me, the critical issue is all about patents and copyrights. Should an operating system be patented or copyrighted? How long should protection continue? What is the public right to know if eBooks are not accessible to people through libraries? What are the rights of school children to access texts through digital technology? What is the responsibility of the school systems? the libraries? booksellers? etc. These are very complex issues not easily turned into "sound-bites."

Every country has its own means of governance, so this next part only applies to the US.

Right now there are about nine declared candidates for the Presidency. None of them is likely to win (e.g., if I buy a lottery ticket someone is going to win but not likely me). They know that. The reason they started the election process so early this time is that the country seems to be divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

Politicians are professional advocates. They try to find out the wishes and needs of the people they represent, and then advocate for the people without regard to their personal feelings. So the issues we see them presenting are ideas that affect the people. Each politician is given a different brief to present. They dangle the ideas out there in an effort to get people to think about the options so the pols can find out what the people want. After the first of the year both parties start fashioning a platform of issues the party will work to accomplish if they are given the resources to do so.

At present, Barack Obama has the IT brief. What he personally thinks, and how the parties will react to the issue of copyright, depends on the response of the people and the industries to what his brief proposes. What I'm trying to say is, that the response to any issue being presented by the candidates from either party at this time enters into what the next government does with regard to DRM.

It would be best for all concerned if the industries involved would settle this without government intervention, although some changes in the copyright laws is inevitable. The core problems with DRM and the writer's union strike, etc., may be resolved between the parties before January 2009, but if we want to have any input now is the time to do so.

da_jane
11-29-2007, 01:32 PM
And the other kind of piracy we must prevent is when you lend the original to a friend. It must be stopped!

That actually isn't piracy or illegal. Under the First Sale doctrine, when you've purchased an item, you now have purchased the rights of distribution for that one item which means you can freely lend a cd, a book, a piece of art. You can tear it up and create something else with it. What you aren't allowed to do is reproduce it - because you don't have the right of reproduction (copyright is a bundle of rights one of which is distrubtion, another which is reproduction, etc).

This is why it is argued that you never really own an ebook or a digital item. You are merely leasing it and subject to the terms of your contract, you are allowed use for a certain time, you are not allowed to resell or distribute.

This is contrary to the notion of the first sale doctrine but until and unless the courts decide that buying a digital item confers the same rights as buying a physical item, the ownership of the digital item remains with the publisher.

But, in the sense of physical items, that is not piracy.

Nate the great
11-29-2007, 01:43 PM
@da_jane

That remark was sarcastic, and not intended to be taken seriously. I wrote with the intent of poking fun at HarryT, for his Big Content positions.

wgrimm
11-29-2007, 01:43 PM
I don't think you're taking into account the fact that most of the cost of producing a book is still present for an eBook. All the work done by the publisher - copy editing, the publicity and marketing, etc - is still present whether the book is printed on paper or distributed electronically. ..

Most of the cost? Part of the cost at least. What are not costs on a pure e-book are warehousing, printing, and transport costs. How much do you imagine that accounts for? And consider that copy editing seems to be a thing of the past, at least judging from the crappy grammar and spelling errors I have seen in many books.

The costs for producing software are similar- what makes it such a racket is that these costs are basically sunk costs- you aren't paying any more in manufacturing costs whether you sell 10 copies or 10 million copies.

stxopher
11-29-2007, 01:49 PM
This leads me to wonder if a publisher which dealt primarily with stories about petty, greedy, thieving, manipulative (complete list as you like) characters as protagonists would experience a similar sales boost under similar circumstances.

Sooo, you're worried that biographies of entertainment people and political figures will never see a dime without DRM?

micomicon
11-29-2007, 02:01 PM
The problem with digital media is that one "lends" the friend a copy while retaining the original.


It is only a problem if you insist on retaining the traditional publishing structure. As I mentioned on a previous post, for other business models it could be an opportunity rather than a problem.

One thing is certain: infinite, perfect reproducibility is part of the nature of this medium. DRM is an unnatural imposition designed to introduce artificial restrictions in an attempt to simulate the pbook-based distribution model.

NatCh
11-29-2007, 02:27 PM
Sooo, you're worried that biographies of entertainment people and political figures will never see a dime without DRM?Weeeell, I wouldn't want to point any specific fingers .... :wink:

Actually, I'm more wondering (in the abstract) if there might be any correlation between the concepts which a given book explores (whatever they may be) and the likelihood of those who enjoy the examination of those particular concepts actually paying for the book.

But I don't think that's an especially clear way to put it. :shrug:

MerLock
11-29-2007, 02:57 PM
I think ebooks have a long way to go in terms of reaching mass appeal. Not only because of the restrictive DRM but because there isn't a common format. Go into an ebook store and you have to make sure you purchase the correct file format that is compatible with the device you want to read it on. Currently, the availabilty of ebooks is pretty low compared to paper back books and having so many different formats makes it worst because it adds another limit to ebook content.

For example, a book my not be available at the sony store but at another ebook store. However, that ebook store doesn't sell that format in Sony's format, so basically even though that book is available in an ebook it's not in the format I need. That just further narrows down the amount of content from an already small content pool. I know you can do conversions of file types but that just adds another layer of effort that the general reader probably would not want to be troubled with.

It would be a lot simpliar if there was one or two formats to worry about and those formats would be supported by all e-reading devices. If and when that happens, I think ebooks would become very popular because it becomes a lot more convenient. I don't think people like being restricted to a certain file format that is only supported by one electronic reading device.

The MP3 file format gave music that freedom. Many portable music players support the mp3 format and mp3 music files can be found in a lot of different sources. So it's not hard to find the song you want in an mp3 file which will most likely be supported by whatever music player you have. And now that a lot of big companies are doing away with DRM'ed music files, it makes it even so much simpliar for the consumer to buy a song and to listen to it pretty much on any device they choose!

I understand that DRM's are important because the people who develop the works needs to get paid. But I hope ebooks will develop a common format and that a DRM can be developed that doesn't add too much restrictions to the consumer. I feel that DRM should help prevent the sharing/stealing of electronic media but it shouldn't be where it is now where it locks a legit user into using only certain devices.

Liviu_5
11-29-2007, 03:10 PM
I understand that DRM's are important because the people who develop the works needs to get paid. But I hope ebooks will develop a common format and that a DRM can be developed that doesn't add too much restrictions to the consumer. I feel that DRM should help prevent the sharing/stealing of electronic media but it shouldn't be where it is now where it locks a legit user into using only certain devices.

Why is drm important to assure writers get paid??

tsgreer
11-29-2007, 03:12 PM
....It seems to me that many, if not most, of the titles that Baen handles consider, revolve around, and/or explore concepts such as honor, duty, and seeking to Do The Right Thing. It also seems to me that folks who enjoy reading those types of stories are folks who are, perhaps, more likely than average to incorporate those concepts and principles into their own lives.

With that as my premise, I submit that folks who are personally concerned with honor, duty, and Doing The Right Thing, are the sort of folks who will pay for their books, sometimes even when they don't have to.

This leads me to wonder if a publisher which dealt primarily with stories about petty, greedy, thieving, manipulative (complete list as you like) characters as protagonists would experience a similar sales boost under similar circumstances....

That is a very interesting observation. It also seems to ring true now that I think about it. I think you just may be onto something there...:smash:

Penforhire
11-29-2007, 04:03 PM
I still say the Baen model only works today because e-readers are not widespread. they are in the hands of enthusiasts, like us, who continue to buy paper books and/or support them on principle.

I'm feeling an echo to the concept of public libraries in general. Can you imagine the rights-management outcry we'd have if we didn't have public libraries today but thought about establishing them? Buy a single copy and let anyone with a library card read it? Preposterous! "Writers will never get paid their worth!" Yet we only acknowledge these institutions with reverence today.

Yes the concept of a perfect digital copy, made in an instant, sharpens the argument but the fundamental issue is not that different.

stxopher
11-29-2007, 04:21 PM
Then let me give you another line of thought, Natch.

Maybe one of the reasons Baen books do so well in the e-format is because the people reading them aren't so much bound by honorable actions and such but instead are bound by the sociological ties of feeling part of a group. Baen makes a LOT of effort to listen to people and let them be as much a part of their little niche as they want. Now that I think about it, hitting the websites of most successful book etailers seems to foster the same feeling.

In other words, you might be willing to stiff a waitress while on vacation far from home but you do not stiff the one at your favorite diner. The ones at the local diner know you. You know them. You are not anonymous.

If that were true then the most convenient DRM would be nothing more than implanting your identity in the file thus serving two purposes.

First would be a sort of deterrent for mass distribution since you are directly linked to the file. Yes, a competent pirate could bypass it but then they can do it anyway. This would just be for casual IP larceny. It might get passed around in the family but not much farther than that.

Second, it would make people feel like the copy is theirs. When people pay money, it just makes them feel better to have something for it. A copy of a book, even if it's not a tangible thing, that says (and clearly so) that it belongs to "Insert Name Here" would help establish a feeling of having actually gotten something for the money. (And never underestimate the "This is MINE! It says so right on it! Get your own!" factor.)

In fact....is that a chicken?...No, no, it's just the way he's holding the grapefruit...cripes, my subjects are wandering again. Back on subject.

Short line: Maybe it's not that people don't pirate because of who they are but more because of where they are (metaphorically speaking, that is).

igorsk
11-29-2007, 04:22 PM
igorsk, if I understood correctly the way this site works, it is engaging in criminal behavior by not respecting copyright law. It seems the equivalent of darknet, except that it's charging customers for stolen goods.
Uh what? They sign official contracts and pay royalties to the authors for the purchased (and even viewed onlile) books. How is that criminal?!

micomicon
11-29-2007, 04:34 PM
Re: criminal behavior, I was referring to this bit:


A lot of content on the site comes from the major "pirate" online libraries (now owned by LitRes), where content was scanned and OCRed by volunteers. Many major contributors now work in LitRes (and some are actually founders).
[/LIST]

When you say LitRes "owns" pirate libraries, what exactly do you mean? If the content being scanned is protected by copyright, what these volunteers are doing is against the law. (Am I misunderstanding this?)

micomicon
11-29-2007, 04:38 PM
Wait, lemme be more specific: if the content being scanned is protected by copyright, and the scanning is being done without consent from the copyright holders, then what these volunteers are doing is against the law.

MerLock
11-29-2007, 04:47 PM
Why is drm important to assure writers get paid??

Well I believe that was the original concept for DRM. So that people can't just simply post their electronic file online for anyone to grab and use for free.

Maybe I should've worded it better, I don't agree that DRM the way it is now is the solution since it's too restrictive but I believe it is important to deal with the problem DRM was developed to solve. That something is needed to prevent people from excessively sharing things like music and ebooks.

NatCh
11-29-2007, 05:18 PM
I think ebooks have a long way to go in terms of reaching mass appeal. Not only because of the restrictive DRM but because there isn't a common format.I agree with you. A side effect of a single "standard" format would be that all devices would be inter-compatible, and the vast majority of DRM concerns would vanish. If I could save my Kindle, Sony, Mobi, etc. files on DVDs or whatever and be assured that they would still be readable by a reading device that won't even be designed until ten years from now, then I'd care a good deal less if they were DRMed out the wazoo. :shrug:

Maybe one of the reasons Baen books do so well in the e-format is because the people reading them aren't so much bound by honorable actions and such but instead are bound by the sociological ties of feeling part of a group.That's a good point, stxopher. To some extent, it's just another facet of the same point, in fact.

Consider for a moment: what meaning to duty, honor, etc. have outside of a sociological group? Honor to a large extent is defined, or at least refined by the views of a group. To whom is Duty owed but to the group to which one feels the sense of it? The thing is that Duty, Honor, and Doing The Right Thing aren't really remarkable concepts until the group begins to stop observing them. The difference is that the person who answers Duty's call, feels the promptings of Honor and seeks to Do The Right Thing, recognizes that he is part of a larger society than just those people he happens to actually know.

That being said, and recognizing your point that Baen has made remarkable strides to make its customers feel as though Baen is "their" publisher (in the sense that they feel like they're part of what it does), I don't know if the anonymity/lack thereof is really a factor here. It would be very interesting to know how many of the folks who buy Baen's e-books actually participate in the Baen's Bar. :chinscratch:

pilotbob
11-29-2007, 05:21 PM
And the other kind of piracy we must prevent is when you lend the original to a friend. It must be stopped!

I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court has ruled that this is perfectly legal within the current copyright laws... as is selling the used book. (of course this only applies to the US)

Sorry, I can't find the citation right now... but it is the case.

BOb

pilotbob
11-29-2007, 05:24 PM
I've floated the idea before (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6271) of an e-book that was tied to a physical token. Something like the old notion of "book tapes' that appeared in '50s era SciFi. You could loan the token to your buddy, and wouldn't be able to read the book until/unless you got the token back. You could also sell/trade the token and no longer have access to its contents. Most of the traditional things you can do with a p-book would then be feasible with an e-book.

That is essentially DRM which allows for transfering it. I don't think anyone here has a problem with following the copyright laws... they have a problem with the fact that most DRM is not robust enough to allow us to read on any device, transfer to others, etc, etc... without alot of hassels.

BOb

NatCh
11-29-2007, 05:28 PM
Well I believe that was the original concept for DRM. So that people can't just simply post their electronic file online for anyone to grab and use for free.I believe you're correct, except that I don't think those who set DRM up originally were most concerned with making sure the content creators got paid. Now it's e-books, but it was music before that, and neither industry really has an overall reputation for looking out for the originators' best interests.

I remember a time when the music industry considered it a win any time they got someone to hear their offerings, because, generally speaking, when folks hear music and like it, they tend to seek it out. Now they seem to have switched focus to wanting to make sure they get payed before anyone hears so much as a note. Imagine Name That Tune (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_that_tune) under present music industry views!

Contestant: "I can name that tune in four notes!"
Host: "Okay, but it'll still cost you 99 to hear those four notes ... for each of the 100 audience members, myself, your fellow contestants, the crew, oh, and don't forget the 80 million folks tuned in to watch -- "
Contestant: "Forget it! I can't even afford to play if I win -- first prize is only $20 Million!" :zoiks:

bingle
11-29-2007, 05:37 PM
NB: I can let my friend borrow a p-book and I do not hear any screams form authors or the publishing industry, yet an Ebook causes riots. Perhaps the afore mentioned are afraid of ending up in the dustbin with the rest of us.


Actually, the publishing industry was/is quite angry about libraries. I read an article (that I've just spent many minutes trying to google; perhaps someone else will have more luck) in which the head of the publisher's trade association talks about their feelings on libraries, and how it's hard to try to fight them because of the PR nightmare.

This was all before the Google digitization project, though - I think they may have bigger fish to fry now.

I think this points at why most of us are leery of DRM, though - in the publishers' perfect world, readers would pay each time they read a copy of a book. There are also the arguments that many others are making, about DRM being no barrier to pirates, and being a hassle to legitimate fans.

I point everyone interested in the argument to this (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14419&page=12) thread, where we discussed this at length. I still believe DRM and the business model it represents is doomed in the long term.

delphidb96
11-29-2007, 05:55 PM
i'm sorry derek, i didn't know about your situation and apologize if i offended you in any way.
i actually thought you were exaggerating, but even with some "lee-way" you seem to buy A LOT of books, and i applaud your honesty.
because i have read the occasional eBook with OCR mistakes when the credit card was maxed-out again.
anyhow, i'm sorry if i put my foot in it, and i hope you get well soon!

No need to apologize. I've had six long, frustrating years to come to grips with it. :) Wouldn't wish it on anyone else but I've learned to adapt and move forward. Really don't like to whine about things. And, yes, I've got a few OCR ebooks in my stash - but when and wherever possible I've replaced 'illicit' ones with legitimate ones. That stash keeps shrinking, Shrinking, SHRINKING! :D

Derek

slayda
11-29-2007, 06:03 PM
If I could save my Kindle, Sony, Mobi, etc. files on DVDs or whatever and be assured that they would still be readable by a reading device that won't even be designed until ten years from now, then I'd care a good deal less if they were DRMed out the wazoo. :shrug:



But NatCh, then you'd probably not have anything that would read your DVDs!:grin2:

slayda
11-29-2007, 06:12 PM
I believe that if authors were more concerned with the actual money they made from their writing than in the "potential" money they lost through piracy, and therefore refused to use DRM and did use multi-formats, that they would end up making more money. Now with a DRMed book they so restrict their market that they lose potential buyers because those buyers don't buy.

That's one of the main premises of Baen and why they make money the way they do business. The, "Don't treat your customers like thieves." argument is IMHO rather inconsequential in comparison with the increase in "actual" money gained through sells to a much larger market.

Bottom line is; authors, writers, publishers, etc. do not lose actual money due to piracy. They only lose potential money, i.e. money that they never really had and you cannot lose that which you don't have.

NatCh
11-29-2007, 07:15 PM
But NatCh, then you'd probably not have anything that would read your DVDs!:grin2:Nah, I'd've transfered them to blu-ray or holo-crystal or whatever the heck the "next thing" is just like I transfered all my data off 5.25" floppy disks years ba -- ... um ... excuse me, I just remembered something I still need to media-shift .... :nana:

igorsk
11-29-2007, 07:17 PM
Wait, lemme be more specific: if the content being scanned is protected by copyright, and the scanning is being done without consent from the copyright holders, then what these volunteers are doing is against the law.
How about all other points? Do they not matter?
Yes, this scanning might be against the letter of the law, but the right holders don't seem to mind. (And if they do, any book is taken down in hours on request.) One writer was actually pretty angry when he discovered all his books gone from free access (his publisher signed the contract behind his back). As Eric Flint says so eloquently (http://baens-universe.com/articles/salvos7), the main "enemy" of the writer is not piracy, but obscurity. Really, I wish everyone arguing for DRM here would read his articles, he addresses about every point raised here.

micomicon
11-29-2007, 07:38 PM
Yes, this scanning might be against the letter of the law, but the right holders don't seem to mind.


Are you being serious? Is this a joke?

Let me get this straight: this site is scanning existing works and selling them without notifying or compensating the original publishers or authors unless they notice? Can you explain how this is ethical, given that you already admit it's illegal?

This type of site is what DRM proponents are most afraid of.

LauretteBradley
11-29-2007, 07:39 PM
I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court has ruled that this is perfectly legal within the current copyright laws... as is selling the used book. (of course this only applies to the US)

Sorry, I can't find the citation right now... but it is the case.

BOb


@Nate the great -- Dude, I want you to know that *I* understood your ironic sarcasm!!! You are not totally alone in the world, trust me.

igorsk
11-29-2007, 07:47 PM
Are you being serious? Is this a joke?
Let me get this straight: this site is scanning existing works and selling them without notifying or compensating the original publishers or authors unless they notice?
No. They sell only works that they have contracts for. They plan to move all works available to paid section once the contracts are signed, but as I said the process is slowed down by the sheer number of authors that need to be covered.

PHugger
11-29-2007, 09:09 PM
This sounds exactly like ALLOFMP3. They also claimed to pay royalties to the copyright owners, but this was a lie. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that this new Russian eBook store is legitimate. Just because they claim to be legal, doesn't mean that they are. Ask yourself why this isn't being done in the US - because it's illegal!



PCH

JSWolf
11-29-2007, 10:45 PM
Politicians are professional advocates. They try to find out the wishes and needs of the people they represent, and then advocate for the people without regard to their personal feelings. So the issues we see them presenting are ideas that affect the people. Each politician is given a different brief to present. They dangle the ideas out there in an effort to get people to think about the options so the pols can find out what the people want. After the first of the year both parties start fashioning a platform of issues the party will work to accomplish if they are given the resources to do so.
To be honest, I think a lot of politicians do what they think is best for them. The people overall dislike the current US Government and would like to have the President and Vice-President impeached. The president lied, went against the constitution, and basically tried to take away our rights and freedoms. This country is much worse off then it was before the President was reelected.

Madam Broshkina
11-29-2007, 11:31 PM
To be honest, I think a lot of politicians do what they think is best for them. The people overall dislike the current US Government and would like to have the President and Vice-President impeached. The president lied, went against the constitution, and basically tried to take away our rights and freedoms. This country is much worse off then it was before the President was reelected.

I think that is time for me to leave this site. If I want to read posts like the one above I will check out "Daily Kos" or the "Democratic Underground."

pilotbob
11-29-2007, 11:36 PM
Nah, I'd've transfered them to blu-ray or holo-crystal or whatever the heck the "next thing" is just like I transfered all my data off 5.25" floppy disks years ba -- ... um ... excuse me, I just remembered something I still need to media-shift .... :nana:

Just back them all up to Amazon's S3 online backup/storage system. ;)

pilotbob
11-29-2007, 11:37 PM
@Nate the great -- Dude, I want you to know that *I* understood your ironic sarcasm!!! You are not totally alone in the world, trust me.


I thought he might be kidding... but then again, I thought that about the OP until I actually read some of his followup messages.

BOb

NatCh
11-29-2007, 11:52 PM
To be honest, I think a lot of politicians do what they think is best for them. The people overall dislike the current US Government and would like to have the President and Vice-President impeached. The president lied, went against the constitution, and basically tried to take away our rights and freedoms. This country is much worse off then it was before the President was reelected.I think you've got this in the wrong forum, JSWolf. :wink:

Liviu_5
11-30-2007, 01:00 AM
Are you being serious? Is this a joke?

Let me get this straight: this site is scanning existing works and selling them without notifying or compensating the original publishers or authors unless they notice? Can you explain how this is ethical, given that you already admit it's illegal?

This type of site is what DRM proponents are most afraid of.

What has this site to do with drm?? They scan, upload, whatever - NOTHING to do with drm. I have not and do not intend to visit that site, but the argument that such a site makes a case for drm is nonsensical.

JohnClif
11-30-2007, 01:49 AM
And yet Microsoft is a billion dollar company. Cue sermon about greed. Cue sermon about monopolistic trade practices. Cue sermon about their DRM already having been cracked. Cue sermon about their impending downfall to Linux.

Okay, so you're saying that because Microsoft is a billion dollar company it's okay to rip them off? Microsoft also employs almost 100,000 people who need to feed their families and pay their bills. Bill Gates has given away billions and plans to give away billions more, primarily in the Third World. Hundreds of thousands of people who live near Microsoft offices are dependent upon Microsoft and its employees for their jobs, and most of those people are lower- and middle-class. There are literally hundreds of spinoffs from ex-Microsoft people that employee tens of thousands of other people (Real Networks, Expedia, Zillow, etc., etc.), and they would not exist if Microsoft hadn't been successful.

Stealing is stealing. Whether the victim is penniless or a billionaire is irrelevant. All this BS about greed, etc., is just hand-waving to excuse theft. And you wonder why DRM is prevalent? Perhaps it's because companies like Microsoft originally chose NOT to protect their software... and got massively ripped off, by people like you who rationalized their thievery.

I'm all for giving the customer control of what they purchase, but saying Microsoft DESERVES to get ripped off? Sheesh!

delphidb96
11-30-2007, 02:00 AM
Okay, so you're saying that because Microsoft is a billion dollar company it's okay to rip them off? Microsoft also employs almost 100,000 people who need to feed their families and pay their bills. Bill Gates has given away billions and plans to give away billions more, primarily in the Third World. Hundreds of thousands of people who live near Microsoft offices are dependent upon Microsoft and its employees for their jobs, and most of those people are lower- and middle-class. There are literally hundreds of spinoffs from ex-Microsoft people that employee tens of thousands of other people (Real Networks, Expedia, Zillow, etc., etc.), and they would not exist if Microsoft hadn't been successful.

Stealing is stealing. Whether the victim is penniless or a billionaire is irrelevant. All this BS about greed, etc., is just hand-waving to excuse theft. And you wonder why DRM is prevalent? Perhaps it's because companies like Microsoft originally chose NOT to protect their software... and got massively ripped off, by people like you who rationalized their thievery.

I'm all for giving the customer control of what they purchase, but saying Microsoft DESERVES to get ripped off? Sheesh!

No, he wasn't saying anything of the sort. I believe the point he was making was that Microsoft has - and I was witness to some of this - used it's OS clout to destroy application developers. Thus, the fact that MacOS and Linux are on the rise is directly attributable to the FUD tactics and greed of Microsoft.

Derek

maxk
11-30-2007, 02:11 AM
I thought the point was that prior to having DRM they still thrived and made a fortune?

Since they do other various nefarious deeds in the industry people can't help getting emotional over their other activities :)

JohnClif
11-30-2007, 02:18 AM
In an ideal, platonic world -- maybe. In the real world, the definition of concepts like fairness changes quite a bit depending on the society and context it is being used in. It was once thought "fair" to base an entire economy on slave labor.

No. In the real world, people who don't want to play fair try to redefine 'fair' so it meets their needs. Like calling slave-owning 'fair' when it never was, obviously. That's why slave owners in the South were not compensated for their 'property' when the slaves were freed. Or, justifying taking something that doesn't belong to you because you think the price is too high.

Again, the owner has the right to set any price for his product, and that price has no relationship to cost. It is related to demand.

The consumer has the right to be fully informed of all of the terms and conditions relating to purchasing that product. Then, if the choice to buy is made, the customer has the agreement to the terms and conditions and cannot unilaterally change them without being in breach of contract and therefore subject to liability. If the consumer thinks the price, or the terms, are unfair, then don't buy the product! The seller will either modify the deal to appeal to consumers, or he will not sell anything. That is fair.

In the real world, power defines what rights you have. For an example of the consequences, look at this quote which has thus far gone unquestioned:

Again, I disagree. I know that's what many people think, and what many people say, but this doesn't make it right. For instance, the right to free speech is not protected in North Korea, but North Koreans still have the right to free speech even if that right is denied by their government. Similarly, the right to own the fruits of one's labor is an inherent right, even if it is violated because the violator has a gun.

The ends does not justify the means... or else Hitler was right.

JohnClif
11-30-2007, 02:38 AM
No, he wasn't saying anything of the sort. I believe the point he was making was that Microsoft has - and I was witness to some of this - used it's OS clout to destroy application developers. Thus, the fact that MacOS and Linux are on the rise is directly attributable to the FUD tactics and greed of Microsoft.

Derek

IIRC, the two big problems that originally got Msft in trouble with the Clinton administration DOJ was, 1) they wouldn't let PC makers change the appearance of the main Windows screen (customers could do it, of course) or replace IE with Netscape, and 2) they swung deals with the big PC makers that gave very low license fees if the PC maker paid the fee for every PC they shipped regardless of whether Windows was included or not. Remember, Netscape was the first company to give away their browser... and found out that you don't want to get in a price war with a much richer competitor. Microsoft started giving away IE, and that was the death knell for Netscape... plus the fact that IE got better after IE4 while Netscape got worse after v4.

Re Msft using its clout to destroy apps developers... who? Lotus? Borland? Wordperfect? Lotus died because 1-2-3 for Windows sucked. Borland died when its apps started to suck... or be too expensive. Wordperfect was as hard to use on Windows as it was on a PC (and I was a Wordperfect fan) plus it didn't work as well as Word. I can tell you that Msft begged Lotus, Ashton-Tate, and Wordperfect to port their MS-DOS apps to Windows back in the late '80s, more than a year before Win 3.0 shipped... and they were rebuffed. These guys didn't think Windows 3.0 would amount to a hill of beans... oops!

I can also tell you, from direct experience, how Apple is much more of a monopolistic ba$tard of a company that Microsoft ever was... just not as successful. If you wrote an OS utility that sold well, Apple would put it in the next version of MacOS. The OS and hardware were closed systems and Apple would sue if you came up with a great product that required some reverse engineering (they wouldn't give you the help either).

I'm a huge Unix fan. Linux is pretty cool, too. Linux makes a great server, but not a desktop operating system for the average corporate worker. MacOS is becoming another story. Apple's porting this to the Intel architecture is a real threat to Windows. I'm waiting for Apple to sell MacOS to other PC makers, but I'm not holding my breath; Apple likes charging way too much for their PCs. Talk about greedy! :-)

Business is rough. That's why it's business. Survival of the fittest and all that. Trust me, no one at Apple gets all teary-eyed when Microsoft stumbles... and they never have, either.

None of this, of course, justifies pirating any work put out by either company, or by any company.

JohnClif
11-30-2007, 02:52 AM
After thinking about this on and off, I now understand why Amazon decided not to support DRM .MOBI and went with .AZW instead.

Current DRM schemes do not account for selling and transferring files. In fact, since it is impossible to tie a DRM .MOBI ebook to a particular reader (because users might get a new reader), it is effectively impossible to enforce DRM if the original purchaser is willing to provide the key to another person.

The Kindle, on the other hand, is a closed system. The Kindle's serial # is tied to the user on the Amazon website. A record of all DRM ebooks purchased is also stored on Amazon, and associated with both the customer and the specific Kindle. Amazon could institute a firmware feature that would automatically verify each DRM ebook on the system with Amazon's server on a regular basis, and inform Amazon if a pirated file were found. Maybe they're doing that now. Who knows what data goes up to Amazon?

However, a closed system has advantages. Amazon could institute an ebook trade-in program, where you get partial credit for 'returning' a book to Amazon (removing it from your purchased book list), and they could enforce this by having the Kindle verify the 'ownership' of any .AZW book when you try to read it (by storing a copy of your purchased book list on your Kindle). Or, Amazon could facilitate 'selling' of used ebooks to other Kindle owners, by taking a bite of the 'selling' price for themselves and the publisher... call this the eBay model. The Kindle would certainly support this.

So, because Amazon can't guarantee that an individual is the owner of a particular DRM .MOBI ebook, it is perfectly understandable why they don't want the hassle and liability of supporting that format. And, because they control the Kindle, they could have all sorts of flexibility with .AZW ebooks.

Wonder what the future will hold....

igorsk
11-30-2007, 02:55 AM
This sounds exactly like ALLOFMP3. They also claimed to pay royalties to the copyright owners, but this was a lie. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that this new Russian eBook store is legitimate.

Except numerous authors confirm the story. They pay royalties directly, not to some collection agency like Allofmp3 did.

ashalan
11-30-2007, 06:03 AM
Legal Aspect
Living in Switzerland I face a copyright situation which might be a bit out of the norm: as things stand, DRM of any sort infringe me legal rights.

According to the Swiss Copyright Law (Art. 19 Abs. 1 URG) I have the right to make copies of digital media I

bought
did rent (commercially)
borrowed (privately from a friend)

for private use.

Private use meaning:

I am allowed to make copies for myself
I am allowed to make copies for members of my family (and give the copies as a gift)
I am even allowed to make copies for close friends (and give the copies as a gift)


It is illegal - however - to sell such copies or give them away as a gift in masses.

Most DRMs that are being used these days prevent me from doing this without the use of third party tools. If someone is not too versed in things technological he / she is de facto hindred in executing his / her legal rights.

Sources:
http://www.gesetze.ch/sr/231.1/231.1_006.htm
http://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/downloads/07_04_handlungshilfe_musikdownload.pdf
http://www.ifpi.ch/docs/cdcopy.html

Commercial Aspect
The question arises if a copyright situation like the one in Switzerland has a negative effect on sales of electronic media?

Of course a thorough research is out of my scope here. Hence I am taking a rather simplistic approach comparing the per head sales of music media in Switzerland to those of Germany (which has a very similar cultural and economical situation).

In 2006 people spent on music media (in millions of dollars):

182 Switzerland (3% digital downloads): 176
1,411 in Germany (5% digital downloads): 1340

This comes down to spending the following amounts of dollars on music media per head:

Switzerland (7523934 inhabitants) : 2.339 US$
Germany (82422299 inhabitants) : 1.6257 US$

People in Switzerland spend 1.438 times more money on music media.

Hmm, well - maybe people in Switzerland have more cash to spend on CDs, DVDs etc. Let us take the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head and see the difference

Switzerland (52879 US$)
Germany (35075 US$)

Per Head GDP in Switzerland is 1.50 times larger than in Germany. Which would kind of even out the difference in per head sales.

Sources:
http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/music%20market%20sales%20data%202006.pdf
http://www.geographixx.de/


Of course, as I already pointed out, a comparsion like this has many flaws (a CD in Switzerland costs about 18 Euroes, in Germany they are sold for around 16 Euroes, etc etc) and would not stand any closer (more thorough and empirical inspection).

Yet, if the absence of a rigid enforcement of copyright (via DRM or laws) would indeed have such a terrific effect on media sales, shouldn't CD sales in Switzerland be considerably lower?

Isn't it more a question of quality which leads a customer into buying something? I take pride in not owning a single piece of illegally copied digital media, be it music, videos, or software. If I find something worth-while having, I gladly spend money on it.

I salute people like those guys over at BAEN who - in my opinion - are leading the right way. I don't like being treated like a criminal. I spend trust on companies I do business with, and I expect the same type of respect and trust from them.

andyafro
11-30-2007, 08:34 AM
Really it's down to the company's selling ebooks get rid of DRM and introduce a product number system where as every copy sold of a book should come with a security number thats locks it to the buyer, so if it turns up on a illegal website or torrent site it can be traced back to the buyer.

any illegal activity or copyright infringement would then be the owner of the copies responibility. DRM hurts mainly the people that are legally buying books but lose out in end because DRM not only limits there ability use there bought book as they want but limits such things as being able to edit it the way you want it.

Instead of restricting the legal customer that only wants to read the book and keep it in his collection(which he is righly allowed to do for life since he bought it) and product code system would be best because it gives you that freedom plus it puts the responsiblilty on you personly as to keeping your book from being copied and will allow illegal activity to be traced back to you.

Thats Fair

Liviu_5
11-30-2007, 09:26 AM
The Kindle, on the other hand, is a closed system. The Kindle's serial # is tied to the user on the Amazon website. A record of all DRM ebooks purchased is also stored on Amazon, and associated with both the customer and the specific Kindle. Amazon could institute a firmware feature that would automatically verify each DRM ebook on the system with Amazon's server on a regular basis, and inform Amazon if a pirated file were found. Maybe they're doing that now. Who knows what data goes up to Amazon?



This is one reason that Kindle is so misguided in my opinion though due to the publicity effect and e-book prices dropping overall it's still a positive development. The privacy issues that this thing raises are very scary (remember the recent story about an overzealous prosecutor investigating some minor fraud in MN and trying to get Amazon records for random customers - slapped down properly by a judge).

PHugger
11-30-2007, 09:53 AM
Except numerous authors confirm the story. They pay royalties directly, not to some collection agency like Allofmp3 did.

This claim is likely just more proof of it's illegitimacy. They can claim anything they want - even if it's not true. It bothers me that so many honest people get taken in, thinking that it's legitimate and unknowingly become pirates. Most authors don't retain the the publishing and distribution rights when they 'sell' a book. Sending them money directly and bypassing the publishers, as you claim, would be illegal. Once an author decides to sell a book to a publisher he can't then go and sell it someplace else too. Publishing deals are exclusive. Maybe one of our resident authors could comment on this aspect of publishing deals.

This is easy to prove - pick a new book, a best seller. Contact the publisher and see if they have any arrangement with them for distribution of their book.



PCH

nekokami
11-30-2007, 10:24 AM
Re: Russian book seller: international rights are negotiated separately, so the US publisher might have no bearing on Russian rights. You'd need to check with the author's agent. (That being said, the site still sounds fishy to me.)

Re: advertising in books: I used to think this was a great solution. Then I realized that the only ads I'd want to see in books are ads for other books, and if all books are supported entirely by advertising, there's no actual money going into the system, just circular loops of advertisement references. :(

Re: social DRM (your name embedded in the book): I think this is the best method. People who want to share books normally, e.g. loan to a friend, can do so, and every time the friend looks at the book, they'll remember whose it really is, and if they read it more than once they'll probably buy it. (I'd include an easy link to allow them to do that, right in the book, probably with some kind of discount program to the buyer, and/or a referral bonus to the person who loaned the book.) People who want to strip out the ID and blast the book all over creation are the same people who know how to crack existing DRM schemes, so no difference there. And the original owner of the book maintains the ability to read it on any device they like.

re: Amazon possibly allowing reselling of ebooks: that's the only good excuse I've heard so far for Amazon's proprietary DRM scheme and privacy invasive system. It's not a good enough excuse for me, but then again, I very rarely get rid of books I've read. I like to re-read. Allowing someone to return an ebook for credit, though, would make a lot of sense for Amazon, and I can see that they'd want some way to ensure that the book wasn't still on the device.

re: Microsoft: I don't think two wrongs make a right, and I don't think it's better to steal from the rich than the poor, but there is still the economic question of whether the users of illegal MS software would ever have paid MS, had the illegal sw not been available, and it is still the case that many studies support the theory that sharing content (music, sw, etc.) actually increases sales of that content in the long run. MS may have benefited at least in part from the piracy in the early days, and it might even be the case that if one were able to figure out who would have paid for genuine copies if no pirated copies were available, vs. who would never have heard of MS products back when they were young if pirated copies were not available, MS comes out ahead historically.

But that being said, now that they're the big dog on the block, they don't really get the benefit of the free advertising effect of sharing, and they've worked to wipe out the competition (see RealMedia for an example, or their infringements on their Java license), so I can see where they'd think they need to make everyone pay for their stuff now. Me, I'll stick with OpenOffice.

NatCh
11-30-2007, 12:26 PM
It's not about power, it's about rights.

In the real world, power defines what rights you have.

Again, I disagree. I know that's what many people think, and what many people say, but this doesn't make it right. For instance, the right to free speech is not protected in North Korea, but North Koreans still have the right to free speech even if that right is denied by their government. Similarly, the right to own the fruits of one's labor is an inherent right, even if it is violated because the violator has a gun.

The ends does not justify the means... or else Hitler was right.I'd agree that one's Rights are one's Rights regardless of whether they are ever exercised.

However, I also think that micomicon is getting at an important point: if you are prevented from exercising a Right, or even blocked from the means of doing so, do you still truly "have" that Right? I'm not asking if it stops being a legitimate Right or not, only pointing out that unless you have the option and means of exercising a Right, the fact that it is a genuine Right is largely irrelevant: there's a difference between having a Right and being able to exercise that Right.

For instance, the Right of Free Speech is specifically protected in the U.S. Constitution. If the Government came along and amputated my hands and removed my larynx they wouldn't have taken away my Right to Free Speech, but by depriving me of the physical ability to speak or write my Right of Free Speech would effectively be rendered meaningless.

This can be extrapolated to all the other Rights we "have" -- if I have the Right to vote, but somebody rips down all the signs telling folks where the new polling place is when it's moved unexpectedly (this actually happened in my neighborhood one time) then my Right has been effectively taken away. Though I still "have" the Right to vote, I can't exercise it, so I effectively don't "have" it after all.

The point I'm trying to get at in all this rambling is this: in a practical sense, you only truly "have" the Rights which you have the means to exercise, and the ability to protect that exercise.

We do have the "Inalienable Rights" with which we have been endowed, but in a situation where someone has the means to prevent our exercising them, and we lack the means to stop them stopping us, we effectively don't truly have those rights after all.

No, Hitler was not right. But he is an excellent example of why Peoples (no, that's not a typo) should be zealous in guarding their Rights from infringement, even if they choose never to exercise a given Right.

Of course, now that Hitler has been mentioned (not once, but twice), the thread is way overdue to wither and die. :grin:

Pity, it's such an interesting thread, too.

hidari
11-30-2007, 01:51 PM
Nice points. My favorite though Is ....You will stick with OPEN OFFICE....

SO DO I....


The thread has developed quite nicely so far. I would say both sides have good arguments.

Questions:


1. DO YOU THINK THE BAEN MODEL (DRM FREE) WILL BECOME THE STANDARD IN THE YEARS TO COME FOR DRM?


2. WILL BOOKSHOPS AND MEGASTORES (IE AMAZON) SUFFER AS MUCH AS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS TODAY?

:book2:



Re: Russian book seller: international rights are negotiated separately, so the US publisher might have no bearing on Russian rights. You'd need to check with the author's agent. (That being said, the site still sounds fishy to me.)

Re: advertising in books: I used to think this was a great solution. Then I realized that the only ads I'd want to see in books are ads for other books, and if all books are supported entirely by advertising, there's no actual money going into the system, just circular loops of advertisement references. :(

Re: social DRM (your name embedded in the book): I think this is the best method. People who want to share books normally, e.g. loan to a friend, can do so, and every time the friend looks at the book, they'll remember whose it really is, and if they read it more than once they'll probably buy it. (I'd include an easy link to allow them to do that, right in the book, probably with some kind of discount program to the buyer, and/or a referral bonus to the person who loaned the book.) People who want to strip out the ID and blast the book all over creation are the same people who know how to crack existing DRM schemes, so no difference there. And the original owner of the book maintains the ability to read it on any device they like.

re: Amazon possibly allowing reselling of ebooks: that's the only good excuse I've heard so far for Amazon's proprietary DRM scheme and privacy invasive system. It's not a good enough excuse for me, but then again, I very rarely get rid of books I've read. I like to re-read. Allowing someone to return an ebook for credit, though, would make a lot of sense for Amazon, and I can see that they'd want some way to ensure that the book wasn't still on the device.

re: Microsoft: I don't think two wrongs make a right, and I don't think it's better to steal from the rich than the poor, but there is still the economic question of whether the users of illegal MS software would ever have paid MS, had the illegal sw not been available, and it is still the case that many studies support the theory that sharing content (music, sw, etc.) actually increases sales of that content in the long run. MS may have benefited at least in part from the piracy in the early days, and it might even be the case that if one were able to figure out who would have paid for genuine copies if no pirated copies were available, vs. who would never have heard of MS products back when they were young if pirated copies were not available, MS comes out ahead historically.

But that being said, now that they're the big dog on the block, they don't really get the benefit of the free advertising effect of sharing, and they've worked to wipe out the competition (see RealMedia for an example, or their infringements on their Java license), so I can see where they'd think they need to make everyone pay for their stuff now. Me, I'll stick with OpenOffice.

6charlong
11-30-2007, 02:01 PM
To be honest, I think a lot of politicians do what they think is best for them.

What's best for politicians to do in office is to do what the people want done (at least, if anyone's paying attention to what they actually are doing). I still think the only solution to this DRM issue is through changes in the copyright and patent laws.

One example no one seems to have written about in this thread is illustrated by my own experience. In 1980 my son's science book assured him that "someday man will walk on the moon." The public school district's problems keeping text books up to date is a resource drain that can--and someday will--be solved with eBooks: subscribe to eTexts and update them yearly. The Kindle distribution model addresses this (but wifi would probably work better for school districts).

Public school eTexts should erase themselves at the end of the school year (same thing libraries need). But equally important, the texts themselves must be locked so that they cannot be changed without at least sending up an alert. I'm thinking about things like the controversy over natural selection versus intelligent design in some school districts. It brings focus on the school districts' requirement to guide curriculum.

Our American copyrights need to be written in the context of how to make copyrights work with current technologies. Once that is done it will be possible through international organizations to try to get some agreement among nations for a world standard.

hidari
11-30-2007, 02:03 PM
That brings up a good point. Copyright laws are quite different in different countries. Should there be a Worldwide copyright law?





What's best for politicians to do in office is to do what the people want done (at least, if anyone's paying attention to what they actually are doing). I still think the only solution to this DRM issue is through changes in the copyright and patent laws.

One example no one seems to have written about in this thread is illustrated by my own experience. In 1980 my son's science book assured him that "someday man will walk on the moon." The public school district's problems keeping text books up to date is a resource drain that can--and someday will--be solved with eBooks: subscribe to eTexts and update them yearly. The Kindle distribution model addresses this (but wifi would probably work better for school districts).

Public school eTexts should erase themselves at the end of the school year (same thing libraries need). But equally important, the texts themselves must be locked so that they cannot be changed without at least sending up an alert. I'm thinking about things like the controversy over natural selection versus intelligent design in some school districts. It brings focus on the school districts' requirement to guide curriculum.

Our American copyrights need to be written in the context of how to make copyrights work with current technologies. Once that is done it will be possible through international organizations to try to get some agreement among nations for a world standard.

NatCh
11-30-2007, 02:08 PM
That brings up a good point. Copyright laws are quite different in different countries. Should there be a Worldwide copyright law?There are some international copyright treaties, but like all treaties, countries decide whether to sign onto them or not. :shrug:

I'd expect the same to hold true for any future copyright changes.

PHugger
11-30-2007, 03:35 PM
Re: Russian book seller: international rights are negotiated separately, so the US publisher might have no bearing on Russian rights. You'd need to check with the author's agent. (That being said, the site still sounds fishy to me.)
OK, thanks Nekokami. The US publisher might not hold rights, but someone does. I guess it depends on the deal you make when you get it published. I still say pick one of those books and see if the international sales rights have actually been granted by the copyright holder (whoever that might be). I know that national laws may be different in each country, but there are treaties and the WTO to handle those things. Whether or not those agreements are ever enforced is another matter.



PCH

igorsk
11-30-2007, 06:57 PM
This claim is likely just more proof of it's illegitimacy. They can claim anything they want - even if it's not true. It bothers me that so many honest people get taken in, thinking that it's legitimate and unknowingly become pirates. Most authors don't retain the the publishing and distribution rights when they 'sell' a book. Sending them money directly and bypassing the publishers, as you claim, would be illegal. Once an author decides to sell a book to a publisher he can't then go and sell it someplace else too. Publishing deals are exclusive. Maybe one of our resident authors could comment on this aspect of publishing deals.
This is easy to prove - pick a new book, a best seller. Contact the publisher and see if they have any arrangement with them for distribution of their book.

Publishing deals can be exclusive, but that's not always the case (for instance, LitRes mostly gets non-exclusive e-rights). Also, until recently electronic rights [in Russia] were not really mentioned in contracts, so most authors retain them.
As for proof, there was a PRESS RELEASE from a major detective writer about her books "coming back to Internet" (she forced most libraries to take her books down few years ago). Here's a bad translation (http://translate.google.com/translate?sourceid=opera&hl=en&u=http://lenta.ru/news/2007/10/29/marinina/_Printed.htm). LitRes sells books from Sergei Lukyanenko - a bestselling Sci-Fi author and writer of recent major blockbuster "Night Watch". Believe me, anyone trying to sell his books behind his back would hear from him VERY soon.
There are numerous best-selling authors present on LitRes right now. They're fully legit in what they sell.

AnemicOak
11-30-2007, 07:06 PM
Even US authors sometimes hold e-rights to there stuff while a publisher holds print rights. I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly or not, but IIRC there was a discussion on the Baen Bar not long ago where it was mentioned Catherine Asaro holds the e-rights to her Skolian Empire books (at least the first few) even though the pbook rights are held by TOR. She's looking at maybe making the first book a freebie through Baen's Free Library.

HarryT
12-01-2007, 02:59 AM
That brings up a good point. Copyright laws are quite different in different countries. Should there be a Worldwide copyright law?

The 1990 International Berne Copyright Convention, which virtually every country is a signatory to, guarantees an author the same rights in any signatory country that they have in their own country.

How rigorously that law is enforced does of course different from country to country.

ashalan
12-01-2007, 04:37 AM
The 1990 International Berne Copyright Convention, which virtually every country is a signatory to, guarantees an author the same rights in any signatory country that they have in their own country.

How rigorously that law is enforced does of course different from country to country.
Indeed. This, however, covers only the author's rights. What really matters to a consumer are the rights a copyright law grants him / her.

hacker
12-02-2007, 01:32 AM
As long as the same physical device that is required to read the work is available in 200 years still exists, the same operating system used to interface (i.e. "sync") with that device still exists in 200 years, and the same processes used to "unlock" that work covered by that version of DRM provided by that manufacturer, then I suppose it would be acceptable.

In other words: It is completely unacceptable.

We have books that were written 200, 500 and 1,000 years ago and are still completely readable, legible and available in digital format for those that wish to read them.

Will these DRM-enabled works follow the same path? Highly unlikely.

If the DRM (or a proprietary device or format) impedes the ability to read the work in 10, 50, 200 years, then it should not be used. Period.

When everything is digital first, with the possibility of a paper/printed version coming later, it becomes even MORE important to make sure that it is NOT restricted by DRM or other means, if you still wish a wider audience to continue to benefit from reading the work.

Lastly, where is the DRM in the paper/printed versions of books today? How has the "IP" in any way been diluted by using digital vs. paper? Answer: It hasn't.

You've made the same mistake thousands upon thousands of people have made over the last several years, by confusing Copyright with the need to implement DRM to protect it.

Liviu_5
12-02-2007, 10:28 AM
You've made the same mistake thousands upon thousands of people have made over the last several years, by confusing Copyright with the need to implement DRM to protect it.

Very well put!!!

Nobody has yet shown what drm has to do with protecting copyright in practice not in theoretical arguments...

JSWolf
12-02-2007, 11:06 AM
What DRM is upposed to do in theory is protect the digital content from being copied/shared with others. It means that if you cannot break the DRM, then you are unable to give a copy to just anyone. However, the people most likely to share their electronic content with others are the ones who already know how to remove/break the DRM. If we are going to have DRM, then the DRM needs to go away once the content goes from copyright to public domain. If it cannot do that then the DRM is keeping legitimate content from the public. DRM in nothing but useless. It can very well prevent people from enjoying their legally purchased content while the thieves get away with stealing the content because they can break the DRM. Just look at the problems with Adobe DRM. It's tied to one computer/program. If you have a problem with your computer, you lose the ability to view they content you legally paid for. Also, Mobipocket is another DRM problem. Let's say you upgrade or change your computer, how do you setup the new computer so the PID is the same as the previous computer so you can still view your content? There may not be a way. And in that case, that makes Mobipocket a very bad idea. Any DRM where you need to redownload content to move it to a different device or computer is a bad idea. Any DRM that locks content from being legally used when it passes out of copyright is a bad idea. There is not one good thing about DRM.

HarryT
12-02-2007, 11:24 AM
Also, Mobipocket is another DRM problem. Let's say you upgrade or change your computer, how do you setup the new computer so the PID is the same as the previous computer so you can still view your content? There may not be a way. And in that case, that makes Mobipocket a very bad idea.

You don't. You replace the old PID with the new PID in the bookstore that you bought the book from and you re-download your books. Takes about 30 seconds to do that with "Fictionwise".

There is not one good thing about DRM.

What about libraries which want to issue time-expiring e-books. Isn't that a good use for DRM?

dugbug
12-02-2007, 11:31 AM
As long as the same physical device that is required to read the work is available in 200 years still exists, the same operating system used to interface (i.e. "sync") with that device still exists in 200 years, and the same processes used to "unlock" that work covered by that version of DRM provided by that manufacturer, then I suppose it would be acceptable.

:rolleyes: Seriously. 9 bucks. Come on.

I think Ill still get a kindle, thanks. The DRM game will play itself out in a few years and we will have a standard ebook form at some point.

-d

JSWolf
12-02-2007, 12:16 PM
But if you have hundreds of ebooks say, then you have to go back to every site you purchased these books and change the PID and then redownload. Thats not a prospect that will be much fun at all.

Even time-limited DRM is a pain. If you are reading a book and not finished with it, you have to go back to the site and if it is available, you have to check it out again, redownload it, delete all the other copies that have expired, install it on your portable reading device (Unless it's just the computer) and continue from where you left off. That is annoying. If I had a pbook, I'd just go to the library website, renew it and all is well.

But, as far as DRM goes overall, time limited DRM for libraries only is not too bad.

davetweed
12-02-2007, 12:27 PM
Just to make two points that I haven't seen anyone make yet. Firstly, there's a big difference between "not buying e-books" and "not buying e-books and complaining about DRM". In the former case the publishers can't tell exactly why they aren't selling. So I'd encourage anyone who has problems with current DRM strategies to complain, not to stop complaining as the first poster requested.

Secondly, my problem with current DRM schemes is not that they make me "feel like a criminal" but that, in order to stop me commiting civil law infractions they stop me doing lots of useful, legal things. For example, I've used speech conversion software to put Gutenberg texts into audio files for a media player which isn't going to be supported technically by the publisher, I've used better search software to check through texts I've got on my machine than is available on mobile readers, etc. I've been lucky enough not to have bought any locked data that the producer suddenly couldn't be bothered to support when they bought out a different format, but that has been luck.

The publishers just take the easy way out: there's something illegal a person could do but the can't be bothered to find and deal with those who actually do that, they instead proscribe any action which might lead to an illegal act. This principle isn't applied in other areas: I'm not put in a controlled environment like prison because I have the capacity to commit a mugging, only if I actually do. If you come up with a DRM scheme that helps you _catch_ people who break copyright as defined currently then I'd be supportive, but DRM which attempts to control everyone's control is something where I'll put my money elsewhere, even if it means missing out on the author I really want to read. (Since I don't live on credit and don't earn huge amounts of money, arguments about "oh it's only x dollars to just rebuy books in different formats/for different machines" don't work with me.)

FixB
12-02-2007, 12:31 PM
:rolleyes: Seriously. 9 bucks. Come on.

Well, if you plan to buy all your books as ebooks, it can amount to much more than that ! (pretty much more :))

ashalan
12-02-2007, 02:51 PM
The DRM game will play itself out in a few years and we will have a standard ebook form at some point.

To me that standard ebook format is already there and has been there for years. XML. We need nothing else. Any dialect of XML will do. All that's positive about XML as a data format plays out even more so when it comes to books. All the negative aspects of XML are of no relevance when it comes to books.

(Thanks to an XML version of Shakespear's plays and XSLT it took me about 30 minutes today to get all of them formated exactly the way I wanted them).

The digital publishing industry seems to be of the same opinion with their .epub Format (http://www.idpf.org/). If only they'd get rid of the idea, that locking up documents with DRM was a good idea ...

Sooner or later the firmware on eBook devices will fully support XLS / XSLT / CSS. As far as I am concerned, that will be the end for any non XML-based eBook format to me.

I can't - however - argue with HarryT's point, that some sort of DRM is useful when it comes to some kind of library scheme for e-books. Yet, I am pretty sure there are more elegant ways to do this too.

DaleDe
12-02-2007, 06:54 PM
I believe you're correct, except that I don't think those who set DRM up originally were most concerned with making sure the content creators got paid. Now it's e-books, but it was music before that, and neither industry really has an overall reputation for looking out for the originators' best interests.

I remember a time when the music industry considered it a win any time they got someone to hear their offerings, because, generally speaking, when folks hear music and like it, they tend to seek it out. Now they seem to have switched focus to wanting to make sure they get payed before anyone hears so much as a note. Imagine Name That Tune (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_that_tune) under present music industry views!

Contestant: "I can name that tune in four notes!"
Host: "Okay, but it'll still cost you 99 to hear those four notes ... for each of the 100 audience members, myself, your fellow contestants, the crew, oh, and don't forget the 80 million folks tuned in to watch -- "
Contestant: "Forget it! I can't even afford to play if I win -- first prize is only $20 Million!" :zoiks:

that is exactly how it is with Happy Birthday. The song owners demand to be paid so you no longer see it sung in public.

Dale

nekokami
12-03-2007, 07:06 AM
I'm re-thinking what I said earlier about DRM for library books, because it's likely to limit what devices you can read on (to devices supported by the DRM vendor) and it will probably also limit read-aloud functions, etc. But social DRM may work here, too: embed in the book (in metadata, but displayed on the margin of every page, esp. after the due date) "This book is on loan to John Doe, 123 Park Place, NY, NY, Phone US 555-555-5555 until December 2, 2007. Please discard after the due date. To purchase this book, click here."

If most people really don't re-read books, this should suffice for the honest customers. And as we've discussed, no DRM is going to stop the "hardened criminals," anyway.

Lemurion
12-03-2007, 12:37 PM
Once more into the DRM breach.

One of my biggest problems with DRM is that it's a way of saying "just because you paid for it doesn't mean you are allowed to use it."

As has been said repeatedly, the only people who are harmed by DRM are honest ones. People who downloaded mp3s or bought pirate copies of Sony CDs did not get rootkits on their computers. People who downloaded a movie that was released in another region rather than having a relative ship them the DVD could actually watch it. The person who downloads illegitimate texts doesn't have to worry about the fact that there is no legal way to read half their collection on the shiny new ebook reader they just bought because it doesn't support the right kind of DRM.

Anything that is available in a DRM-protected form tends to become available in unprotected form on the darknet in short order. Admittedly many such copies are made by exploiting the "analog hole" in one form or another, but it really doesn't matter how they become available because as soon as they are the DRM has failed in its stated purpose.

Where it hasn't failed is in what I see to be its real purpose. DRM exists to provide a mechanism for honest customers to be charged again for something they already own. Its primary purpose is to monetize format-shifting by forcing customers to re-purchase the same content multiple times to keep up with technology. The music industry loved it when everyone re-bought their entire collection of records and tapes on CD. Then came the shift from VHS to DVD; another winner for big content.

No I refuse to believe that DRM is ever a benefit to any customer.

HarryT
12-03-2007, 02:03 PM
The music industry loved it when everyone re-bought their entire collection of records and tapes on CD. Then came the shift from VHS to DVD; another winner for big content.

There were very valid reasons for customers to replace LPs with CDs and video tapes with DVDs; there was a massive improvement in quality in both cases. It certainly wasn't simply a case of the provider wanting to make money. On the (very) rare occasions that I watch a video tape now I'm appalled at how awful the quality is; one quickly forgets, watching DVDs, just what a huge jump in picture quality they represented.

NatCh
12-03-2007, 03:21 PM
There were very valid reasons for customers to replace LPs with CDs and video tapes with DVDs; there was a massive improvement in quality in both cases. It certainly wasn't simply a case of the provider wanting to make money.No of course it wasn't! But they did make a bunch of money off the switchover. If they liked the taste of it, and didn't want to go back to only making money on plain, old-fashioned, first-time purchases ... well, can't really blame them for the sentiment.

But the fact that they didn't set out to make a bunch of money on the cassette to CD switch-over doesn't make it "okay" to try to force their customer base to constantly re-purchase everything. I think that's what Lemurion was trying to get at. :shrug:

ashalan
12-03-2007, 03:26 PM
The music industry loved it when everyone re-bought their entire collection of records and tapes on CD.

What I liked 'best' about that shift was how records out of nowhere became 50% more expensive here and never returned to the price they were before.

Before Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' became the first CD available, LPs were 19 CHF (Swiss Francs). CDs hit the store for 29 CHF a piece. The higher price being justified by Philips and the record companies as being the result of more expensive production costs.

A good 20 years later and CDs never got any cheaper. While every John, Dick, Harry, Granny, Aunty and saliva driveling dog can burn CDs for less money than it costs to take a pee in a public toilet, the record companies earn 10 CHF on every CD without any justification whatsoever.

Lemurion
12-03-2007, 04:03 PM
No of course it wasn't! But they did make a bunch of money off the switchover. If they liked the taste of it, and didn't want to go back to only making money on plain, old-fashioned, first-time purchases ... well, can't really blame them for the sentiment.

But the fact that they didn't set out to make a bunch of money on the cassette to CD switch-over doesn't make it "okay" to try to force their customer base to constantly re-purchase everything. I think that's what Lemurion was trying to get at. :shrug:

That was my point. What I think happened was something more along the lines of once the industries had gone through those switch-overs (both of which had at least some benefit for the consumers -- especially in the case of the transition to DVD) that after the fact there were at least some people within those industries who thought it would be a very good idea to see if they could replicate the situation, especially given that sales did start declining.

NatCh
12-03-2007, 04:10 PM
Were they really declining, or just dropping back to "normal" levels after the spikes? That's what I wonder.

Lemurion
12-03-2007, 04:16 PM
They were declining relative to previous levels-- even if those levels were artificially inflated, and that was probably enough for at least some people in the industry.

Sparrow
12-03-2007, 04:31 PM
There was an item on the radio here yesterday about the Performing Rights Society (UK) writing to people saying they need to buy a licence if they play music in the office. Apparently you need a licence to play music anywhere outside your domestic environs.

http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk
"Who has to have a PRS music licence? Any location or premises, outside of home, where music is played..."
"whether the performance is played live or by such means as CD, radio, DVD, TV, karaoke etc, whether a charge is made for admission, or whether the performers are paid, a PRS Music Licence is still necessary."

People have been listening to radio music in the workplace for decades - now they're being told they've got to pay for the privilege and they're not happy about it.
Some people will turn their radios off; but I imagine most will just carry on listening and become 'criminals'.

Darqref
12-04-2007, 12:17 AM
What I liked 'best' about that shift was how records out of nowhere became 50% more expensive here and never returned to the price they were before.



I normally favor classical music, with a bit of jazz and other similar genre. One effect of the digital shift on the industry was that, while the prices stayed rather high, the access to second and third-rate recordings vastly increased. On LPs, you could always get the great orchestra's recordings, but if you wanted smaller or regional performers, they weren't always available.

In my home town, the Seattle Symphony would never have been able to record as much on LPs. On CDs, they have a rather large catalog. Similarly, I found a lot of recordings of more obscure music by good quality but lesser-known orchestras from Eastern Europe. My personal list of "must have standards" increased in several ways.

So, I can say I've bought MUCH more music on CD that I ever contemplated on LPs.

hidari
12-04-2007, 01:39 AM
After PAYING HIGH prices in the 80's and 90's for OVERpriced CDS..It is a PLEASURE to see sales od CDs reducing by 8 percent of more a year. I hope some of the companies go the way of the Dodo bird.






They were declining relative to previous levels-- even if those levels were artificially inflated, and that was probably enough for at least some people in the industry.

JohnClif
01-23-2008, 12:56 PM
And yet Microsoft is a billion dollar company. Cue sermon about greed. Cue sermon about monopolistic trade practices. Cue sermon about their DRM already having been cracked. Cue sermon about their impending downfall to Linux.

How about "cue sermon about how Microsoft, as a $50 billion company has as much right to be compensated for their products as they did when they were a $5 million company?"

Why do some people think that it's okay to steal from a rich person/company? Stealing is stealing, and stealing is wrong. Microsoft's property rights are not linked to the size of its bank account, and neither are peoples' ethics.

If Microsoft has broken the law (and I disagree that it has... if you want to see a monopolistic company look at Airbus, or Apple), then it will be punished. Too many people want to sic the power of the state on Microsoft, though, not because Microsoft has done something wrong but because they've done something right (made products that people want to buy, and that make it hard for other companies to compete).

JohnClif
01-23-2008, 01:08 PM
After PAYING HIGH prices in the 80's and 90's for OVERpriced CDS..It is a PLEASURE to see sales od CDs reducing by 8 percent of more a year. I hope some of the companies go the way of the Dodo bird.

I think that CD sales are dropping for three reasons:

Most music being put out today is especially banal
New music distribution paradigms, like Apple's iTunes store, allow consumers to download and pay for only the songs they like, so they're not forced to buy a whole CD just to get the couple of songs they really like
CDs being released by good artists are being ripped and redistributed widely


I'll ask another question: why is $14.95 or $17.95 or whatever too "high" of a price? Maybe it's higher than you want to pay, but that's the way the market works. If the consumer thinks that CDs cost too much, then sales go down. Companies respond by lowering their price, until they are selling as many CDs as they want at a price which is acceptable to both buyer and seller.

Something else to think about: why is it that artists release albums instead of singles? In the 'old days' of records, artists would release an album, and then singles ('45s') would be released to get airplay for the album, to provide a source of music for jukeboxes, and to seed the market and create demand for the album. That model went away with the CD, although mini-CDs were tried (they didn't sell well, probably because they were too expensive, and consumers didn't want 4 or 5 songs, they wanted 1 or maybe 2 songs).

I think that the iTunes model has been transformative in that it lets consumers pick, and pay for, only the music they want, instead of having to purchase an entire CD to get the few songs they want. As the iPod's popularity has grown, there is no reason to buy CDs anymore; people make their own playlists from a variety of artists' works to produce what they want instead of what the CD producer wants them to buy.

I don't see this happening successfully in the reading market. Companies have tried to sell selected content, e.g., the New York Times setting a per-article price, but haven't been successful. IMO it's because news is no longer unique, and neither is news opinion. We have the WWW and blogs to thank for this! And, selling a single chapter out of a book makes no sense either. However, Amazon's allowing Kindle owners to download sample chapters in order to build interest in a book does work, in much the same way as listening to a single on the radio builds interest in an album.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 01:40 PM
I concur with the original poster that DRM is good and neccessary. He hits the nail on the head that property rights are the cornerstone of a free republic. It is sad today the level of entitlement folks seem to feel about taking that which they have not earned.

tompe
01-23-2008, 01:43 PM
I concur with the original poster that DRM is good and neccessary. He hits the nail on the head that property rights are the cornerstone of a free republic. It is sad today the level of entitlement folks seem to feel about taking that which they have not earned.

Since copyright is not a property right this comments seems a bit irrelevant.

Nate the great
01-23-2008, 02:04 PM
I concur with the original poster that DRM is good and neccessary. He hits the nail on the head that property rights are the cornerstone of a free republic. It is sad today the level of entitlement folks seem to feel about taking that which they have not earned.



Okay, what about the customer's property rights?

PaperbackDigital went out of business, They used to sell DRMed ebooks. The device authorizations cannot be updated; eventually the customers will lose the ability to read the ebooks they purchased. What about the customer's property rights?

There is a new problem with Quicktime (http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/22/quicktime-drm-after.html). If you use Adobe After Affects to create a clip, Quicktime will pop up and tell you that you don't have permission to view that clip. What about the customer's property rights?

Adobe DE 1.0 had DRM that prevented the customer from saving a copy of a legitimately purchased ebook. This was one of the things that was fixed in 1.5. What about the customer's property rights?

At least twice this year, one of Microsoft's Windows DRM servers had a glitch, and decided all copies of Vista were illegal, so they stopped working. What about the customer's property rights?

P.S. Each of these incidents affected only customers who legitimately purchased a product. They did not affect the pirates. How exactly did the DRM protect property rights?

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 02:20 PM
Since copyright is not a property right this comments seems a bit irrelevant.

Intellectual property should be protected just as much as real property, particularly in this day and age. I realize people want to be able to leech off producers without having to pay for things so the producers need ways to try to prevent that. Stealing is stealing, whether it be intellectual property or real property.

rlauzon
01-23-2008, 02:26 PM
Intellectual property should be protected just as much as real property, particularly in this day and age.

There's no such thing as "intellectual property." If it's intellectual, it's an idea and cannot be property - and, therefore, cannot be owned.

The term "intellectual property" is something coined by the copyright maximalists to get people to think that ideas are property.

I realize people want to be able to leech off producers without having to pay for things so the producers need ways to try to prevent that.

Oh, you mean like publishers who are still printing, under copyright, works where the authors are long dead?
Or companies like Disney, who are still distributing movies made by people long dead?

Oh, yes, these people are not leaching off of the producers.

Stealing is stealing, whether it be intellectual property or real property.

But "copyright violation" is not "stealing".

Nate the great
01-23-2008, 02:28 PM
I concur with the original poster that DRM is good and neccessary. He hits the nail on the head that property rights are the cornerstone of a free republic. It is sad today the level of entitlement folks seem to feel about taking that which they have not earned.

Intellectual property should be protected just as much as real property, particularly in this day and age. I realize people want to be able to leech off producers without having to pay for things so the producers need ways to try to prevent that. Stealing is stealing, whether it be intellectual property or real property.

Are you familiar with Godwin's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law)? We have a variation of it here called mrkai's law. It goes something like this:

If a DRM debate goes on long enough, somone will accuse people who have purchased, or want to purchase legitimate content of being pirates.

I think you have just demonstrated mrkai's law.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 02:33 PM
Okay, what about the customer's property rights?

First, DRM isn't supposed to protect YOUR property rights. That is a company's way of protecting their rights. They protect theirs, you protect yours. So, it sounds like you are aware of a number of problems with DRM. Thus, your property rights are exercised and protected when you choose not to buy products with DRM.

Should you buy something with DRM and your property rights and/or terms of your contract with that company are violated, then you should seek civil redress in court. The producers on the other hand do not get that option in the vast majority of instances because their property is stolen anonymously over the internet and they can hardly ever find out who to pursue.

So that's what about the customer's property rights.

Each of these incidents affected only customers who legitimately purchased a product. They did not affect the pirates. How exactly did the DRM protect property rights?

The fact that those incidents didn't protect the company's property rights doesn't mean that DRM didn't protect their property rights overall. As I said, if you are against DRM, don't buy DRM products. That is how you protect your property rights.

No company is obliged to produce the product you want the way you want it. Likewise, you are not obliged to buy a company's product if you don't like how it works. That is how a fair, free market works, by means of VOLUNTARY trade.

Now one may argue that in the end, DRM is not the most effective way for the company to protect it's product, and they may be right. But it's the company's right to choose how to protect their investment however they see fit. Knowing that, you can choose your purchases accordingly.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 02:35 PM
I think you have just demonstrated mrkai's law.

Yes, I did. I did, because it's true. However, notice that I did not accuse anyone specifically in this thread. But thanks for putting a name to it as if that means anything.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 02:42 PM
There's no such thing as "intellectual property."

Intellectual property is a valid concept.

Oh, you mean like publishers who are still printing, under copyright, works where the authors are long dead?

Yes, them too. Did it sound as though I was excluding anyone who was taking something that they had no right to take? I don't think so. Whoever does hold the copyright should seek civil redress against whoever is printing that material.

Oh, yes, these people are not leaching off of the producers.

Sounds to me like they are, or at least they are leeching off whoever does have the copyright.

But "copyright violation" is not "stealing".

I'm afraid we will have to disagree. Taking something that one has not earned, that does not belong to them, which rightfully belongs to another is theft. I know folks like to rationalize that to themselves, but that is what it is, rationalization.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 02:51 PM
For the user that brought up 'Laws', here's RB's law. In discusions about property rights and DRM, rarely will either side change their minds on the issue.

Given that law, I'm only going to reiterate that I agree with the OP and will not waste any more of my time on the matter.

Go DRM!!! :)

JSWolf
01-23-2008, 03:12 PM
PaperbackDigital went out of business, They used to sell DRMed ebooks. The device authorizations cannot be updated; eventually the customers will lose the ability to read the ebooks they purchased. What about the customer's property rights?
One thing I notice about PaperbackDigital is that they dd not seem to sell a lot of the new eBooks. That right there caused people to go look elsewhere unless they wanted older eBooks.

slayda
01-23-2008, 04:01 PM
If Microsoft has broken the law (and I disagree that it has... if you want to see a monopolistic company look at Airbus, or Apple), then it will be punished. Too many people want to sic the power of the state on Microsoft, though, not because Microsoft has done something wrong but because they've done something right (made products that people want to buy, and that make it hard for other companies to compete).


"Something wrong" is not the same as "something illegal".
Doing something illegal doesn't always lead to punishment.
Stealing other peoples work, whether legally or illegally done is not the same as making products that people want to buy.
"Needing to buy, in order to do business" is not the same as "wanting to buy"

:chinscratch:

slayda
01-23-2008, 04:08 PM
First, DRM isn't supposed to protect YOUR property rights. That is a company's way of protecting their rights. They protect theirs, you protect yours. So, it sounds like you are aware of a number of problems with DRM. Thus, your property rights are exercised and protected when you choose not to buy products with DRM.



I suppose that if I remove the DRM to protect my property rights then doing so is legitimate?

slayda
01-23-2008, 04:11 PM
Should you buy something with DRM and your property rights and/or terms of your contract with that company are violated, then you should seek civil redress in court. The producers on the other hand do not get that option in the vast majority of instances because their property is stolen anonymously over the internet and they can hardly ever find out who to pursue.

And who does the customer pursue when the company who sold the ebook goes out of business. Note they do not necessarily go out of business due to financial reasons.

rationalbiker
01-23-2008, 04:40 PM
I suppose that if I remove the DRM to protect my property rights then doing so is legitimate?

I had intended to depart this discussion, but I will answer your last two questions.

To the question above, it depends on the agreement you made with the producer when you purchased their product KNOWING it had DRM. If that agreement was that the DRM should not be removed or that the content not be altered, then it would not be legitimate'

And who does the customer pursue when the company who sold the ebook goes out of business. Note they do not necessarily go out of business due to financial reasons.

This question would be best answered by an attorney. However, I suspect that the owners of the now defunct business would be who you sue next.

The best advice I can give you is that if you don't like DRM content, don't buy it. Send DRM producers the message that they will not get your consumer money unless they produce products that meet your approval. Money talks, BS walks.

Now, from this point on I'm outta this thread. That gives all those who disagree with me the last word.

hacker
01-23-2008, 04:48 PM
Stealing is stealing, and stealing is wrong. Microsoft's property rights are not linked to the size of its bank account, and neither are peoples' ethics.I see this all the time, about how we're "stealing" from the corporations if we breach DRM to be able to use the data on our device.

Please correct your erroneous assumptions: Piracy is NOT stealing.

If I "steal" you bicycle, I now have possession of it, while you do not. I have deprived you of your bicycle.

If however, I take a series of high-quality digital scans of your bicycle, and recreate the exact same bicycle in my basement, have I stolen your bicycle? Are you no longer able to ride your bicycle?

The RIAA/MPAA/etc. have shoved this down our throats for a long time, to the point of forcing us to watch the 2-minute mini-movie at the beginning of full-length feature films, about piracy...

"You wouldn't steal a car!"
"You wouldn't steal a television set!"
"You wouldn't steal a DVD!"
"Downloading pirated movies is STEALING!"

When in fact, it isn't (http://blog.gnu-designs.com/piracy-is-not-stealing).

Now, what I've written above is in no way defending piracy or copyright violations. I abhor the industry's garbage and would rather see them rot out on their own vine, than contribute to their inertia. I support artists directly and film and movie studios directly.

They're already stealing enough from us every day, by applying their tariffs on recordable media, players and other devices.

If I buy a spool of CDRs and DVD+RW media that I use to burn Linux ISO images for my Linux User Group every month, and a portion of the cost of that recordable media goes into the pockets of the MUSIC or MOVIE industry... is that stealing? YES, you're damn right it is.

rlauzon
01-23-2008, 04:52 PM
Intellectual property is a valid concept.

Then you should be able to explain how it's possible to own an idea.

Yes, them too. Did it sound as though I was excluding anyone who was taking something that they had no right to take? I don't think so. Whoever does hold the copyright should seek civil redress against whoever is printing that material.

Then justify why someone who did not write the book should be able to own it long after the author is dead.

Sounds to me like they are, or at least they are leeching off whoever does have the copyright.

There's an old saying:
It's not wrong to steal from a thief. It's certainly not wrong to take your own property from a thief.

I'm afraid we will have to disagree.

Then you disagree with the law.

hacker
01-24-2008, 09:24 AM
There's an old saying:
It's not wrong to steal from a thief. It's certainly not wrong to take your own property from a thief.

It may not be "wrong" in some moral view, but it is illegal, and you will be arrested and prosecuted for doing so.

JSWolf
01-24-2008, 09:34 AM
There is DRM and then there is DRM. Look at DVD DRM. I can take my legally purchased DVDs and play them in any DVD player. Not a problem. If my DVD player breaks, I can purchase another and my DVDs will work. I don't have to worry which DVD player I purchase. If Phillips stopped making them, I can get a unit from another company. It's that easy.

Now, if my 505 breaks beyond repair, my eBooks purchased from Sony won't work on a Gen3 or even a new 505 unless I register it and redownload. So if my 505 broke, I cannot go out and get a Kindle or a gen3 as they won't work. So if I have unread eBooks purchased from Sony, I either have to purchase another 505 or give up on the eBooks purchased from Sony. This is NOT a good way to handle DRM. That is part of why I am purchasing most of my eBooks in a form that I can take with me to a different platform should I ever want to.

hacker
01-24-2008, 09:38 AM
There is DRM and then there is DRM. Look at DVD DRM. I can take my legally purchased DVDs and play them in any DVD player. Not a problem. If my DVD player breaks, I can purchase another and my DVDs will work.
Unless you live outside the US, or are playing a DVD that was designed for another country. Try playing some anime DVD you bought in Japan on your US region DVD player. It won't work. Likewise, try bringing your US region encoded DVDs to another country and try to play it on their players. They won't work either.

I don't have to worry which DVD player I purchase. If Phillips stopped making them, I can get a unit from another company. It's that easy.Not quite. Unless you're changing the region-encoding on your player every time you play a DVD from a non-US country (which you can only do 7 times, iirc), you're going to run up against a limit.

AnemicOak
01-24-2008, 12:33 PM
Region coding has pretty much been rendered meaningless to anyone who wants to view DVDs from another region. Region free players are quite easy to buy & don't really cost anymore than most other decent players. Anyone in the US who wants to view a DVD from another region (like Japan) generally knows it will only work on a region free player and it's not a problem.

JohnClif
01-24-2008, 03:13 PM
I see this all the time, about how we're "stealing" from the corporations if we breach DRM to be able to use the data on our device.

[...]

If however, I take a series of high-quality digital scans of your bicycle, and recreate the exact same bicycle in my basement, have I stolen your bicycle? Are you no longer able to ride your bicycle?


If you take a series of high-quality digital scans of my album, or my book, or my software, so that you can exactly reproduce this on your computer without paying the copyright holder, then yes, you have stolen my property. My property is not the work, per se, it is the right to be compensated by those who would utilize my work. You are as much of a thief as is the person who sneaks into a movie theater or hooks up to their neighbor's cable TV feed.

Now, if you listen to my song, and then play the same tune on your piano and sing in your voice, that is not a copyright infringement. If, however, you decide to release your album, with my song on it, but performed by you, you are stealing my property (my right to be compensated for use of my work) and you will be held liable.

Honestly, this stuff is so simple that I can't understand why people don't get it... unless it's because they don't want to get it because they want to continue to steal while hiding behind the fiction that they aren't stealing.

Don't ask me to defend the RIAA, but I will point out that it was the growth of things like Napster that spurred RIAA on, just as it was the discovery by Microsoft that 2 out of every 3 copies of Windows was pirated which spurred them on to add online license verification.