View Full Version : What is the real purpose of DRM?


rleguillow
04-09-2010, 12:21 PM
We all seem to accept the excuse that DRM is used to stop pirating or DRM is used to support copyright law. At least, I see those excuses repeated here in the forums often.

When I bought my Sony reader, the sales gimmick at the time was 100 free ebooks - and they are all classics, out of copyright, and available on just about every ebook seller's website. So WHY is there DRM on those books?

It isn't to protect copyright - these books are out of copyright. It isn't to prevent piracy - what is the point? They are free.

IMHO, it is to prevent me from using these books on anything other than the Sony reader. Just as the Apple DRM was to prevent listening to music from iTunes on anything other than iTunes or the iPod. The sellers are hoping that if you have a lot of books that can be used on only their product, you'll only buy their product in future, to preserve your ebooks.

I don't plan to give my books away to a dozen of my friends, and I don't plan to put them out for pirates. I DO, however, plan to upgrade my reader whenever I want to and can afford it, and if it breaks down on me as it eventually will, I may or may not consider another Sony. I DON'T plan on buying all my ebooks again just because of DRM, if I don't get another Sony. So I try to always buy DRM-free books - prefer to give my money to sellers who support that (go Baen!) - and if I "gotta have" a book that I can't get from Baen, I at least make sure I get it in a format from which I can remove the DRM.

I think we could at least stop repeating the party line, and let the sellers know we are on to their game.

Opinions?

Ankh
04-09-2010, 12:29 PM
I think we could at least stop repeating the party line, and let the sellers know we are on to their game.

Sigh... They have exclusive rights to the content. They can, pretty much, do whatever they please with that content, including, but not limited to, infecting it with DRM before offering it for sale.

No competition, hence no way for customers to fight back.

CyGuy
04-09-2010, 12:31 PM
For me personally, it means:
DRM = Don't Read Me
DRM = Doesn't Really Matter (because I ain't buying it)

Jellby
04-09-2010, 01:12 PM
It is to make you used to DRM, to make you assume that every book you can encounter is only readable in a single device, to discourage you from sharing the books with other people, to keep you trapped in their store... They just don't tell you there's a bright world outside their store ;)

rlauzon
04-09-2010, 01:43 PM
We all seem to accept the excuse that DRM is used to stop pirating or DRM is used to support copyright law. At least, I see those excuses repeated here in the forums often.

"Excuse" is the correct word.

It's been proven, long ago, that the real purpose of DRM is to reduce competition by locking the consumer into a product.

I think we could at least stop repeating the party line, and let the sellers know we are on to their game.

The sellers have known and known for a while now. Cory Doctorow and others told them. But the sellers are at the mercy of the publishers. And the publishers are still living with their heads in the sand.

Worldwalker
04-09-2010, 01:44 PM
It's all about platform lock-in.

Modern corporations will do anything to avoid actually having to compete on price, quality, or innovation. Actually, to compete at all.

hiaig
04-09-2010, 01:54 PM
I'm new to ebooks and still trying to get my head around DRM. I have a jetbook (no DRM support at the moment) and I am enjoying reading the epubs from Feedbooks.

Am I correct in that the ebooks purchased are locked to the device?

If this is the case, how does one deal with reading these purchased ebooks on a replacement device?

Thanks

rlauzon
04-09-2010, 02:24 PM
If this is the case, how does one deal with reading these purchased ebooks on a replacement device?

It depends on the device and the seller.

If the seller is still in business, and if the seller allows it, then you can get an eBook locked to your new reader.

If you chose a different kind of reader, you are probably out of luck. Again, it depends on the whim of the seller.
If the seller is out of business, you are out of luck.
If the seller doesn't permit it, you are out of luck.

Even with Amazon it's iffy. Let say that pay for a Swindle... er... Kindle, load it up with eBooks and take it on a cruise. You drop it overboard. So you somehow get a new one and register it, you may not get all the books you paid for back. Amazon allows the publishers to set how many times you are permitted to download the eBook you purchase. If that number is set to 1, if you lose it, you are out of luck. Pay for it again.

Elfwreck
04-09-2010, 02:28 PM
Sigh... They have exclusive rights to the content. They can, pretty much, do whatever they please with that content, including, but not limited to, infecting it with DRM before offering it for sale.

They don't have exclusive rights to public domain works.

And it's possible someone could freely offer DRM cracking software with the stated intention of *only* having it used to remove DRM from public domain content, which is not protected by the DMCA. No copyrighted material = no copyright violation; no rights to digitally manage. As more and more ebookstores put DRM on public-domain content, this becomes more legally viable.

mr ploppy
04-09-2010, 02:41 PM
It is used to lock you into specific hardware, so that if you buy new hardware you need to buy your books again.

Elfwreck
04-09-2010, 02:59 PM
I'm new to ebooks and still trying to get my head around DRM. I have a jetbook (no DRM support at the moment) and I am enjoying reading the epubs from Feedbooks.

Am I correct in that the ebooks purchased are locked to the device?
[/QUOTE]

Depends on the type of DRM, and the device.

EReader DRM, and Barnes & Noble's new ePub DRM, requires a credit-card password to open it. You can read those books on any computer by entering the credit card # to open the book, and any device that allows entry of the password (which is based on the device's software); this includes most PDAs & mobile phones, but not most dedicated ebook devices.

Mobipocket & Adobe Digital Editions both register the devices themselves through a corporate server; only those devices they recognize can be authorized, and a limited number of devices can be authorized at one time.

Some forms of DRM only allow viewing the content while connected to the server online; you can't read it offline at all, which means it can't be transferred to most mobile devices.

Some DRM for software (not common for ebooks) is dongle-based: you need a physical device attached to the computer to run the program.

There are other forms of DRM, and more being created; those are some of the most common. And yes, transferring your content to a new device or a computer with a reinstalled OS ranges from "a hassle" to "impossible," depending on circumstances. (If the original DRM server is gone, you can't register new devices on it.)

Ankh
04-09-2010, 03:03 PM
They don't have exclusive rights to public domain works.

And it's possible someone could freely offer DRM cracking software with the stated intention of *only* having it used to remove DRM from public domain content, which is not protected by the DMCA. No copyrighted material = no copyright violation; no rights to digitally manage. As more and more ebookstores put DRM on public-domain content, this becomes more legally viable.

Millennium act, wasn't it? They have every right to put DRM on whatever they please (public domain or not), distribution of any tool that can be used to circumvent DRM is a criminal act...

Elfwreck
04-09-2010, 03:49 PM
Millennium act, wasn't it? They have every right to put DRM on whatever they please (public domain or not), distribution of any tool that can be used to circumvent DRM is a criminal act...

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act only protects copyrighted material. Removing the "DRM" from non-copyrighted material can't (erm, should not?) be illegal, because there are no digital rights to protect.

For public domain works, "DRM" is a misnomer; it's just usage-prevention software at that point.

Ankh
04-09-2010, 04:11 PM
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act only protects copyrighted material. Removing the "DRM" from non-copyrighted material can't (erm, should not?) be illegal, because there are no digital rights to protect.

I agree with your sentiment, but the letter of law, as I understand it, is somewhat different. You see, the said act went a bit further, and defined a new type of criminal activity. From what I know, the design and distribution of any tool that can be used to circumvent copyright protection became a crime.

So, if company A, has one copyrighted title protected by a given protection scheme, that makes the complete scheme legal fortress. Since the act did not prevent company A from applying protection scheme on non-copyrighted material, it is impossible to create a tool that will target only non-copyrighted material, and will not work for copyrighted material offered by company A.

pholy
04-09-2010, 06:13 PM
Ankh - Why are you worrying about the DMCA? It's an American law, only Americans have to fret about it. Canadians, so far, only have to worry if we get a bad new copyright law or let ourselves get sucked into the ACTA business. We still have a chance to fight both of those.

Proud Supporter of Fair Copyright for Canada

Kali Yuga
04-09-2010, 07:13 PM
Ok peoples. When it comes to ebooks, DRM rarely locks you to a specific reading device.

For example, DRMed books purchased from B&N can be read on their proprietary device (the Nook). And on iPhones, iPod Touches, PC's, Macs and Blackberries. Amazon Kindle books are on the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, PC and Mac. It's reasonable that Android versions will also be available, and additional tablet OS's are practically a given. AFAIK the Adobe ebook DRM is also cross-platform.

There's also a ton of ways to get DRM-free public domain ebooks. B&N can slap whatever DRM they want onto a Charles Dickens book, that is extraordinarily unlikely to prevent readers from getting open versions.

This is a bit of an exception, as DRM is often used for vendor lock-ins. But for whatever reason(s), that does not seem to be the case with a lot of ebook retailers.

Kali Yuga
04-09-2010, 07:22 PM
Sigh... They have exclusive rights to the content. They can, pretty much, do whatever they please with that content, including, but not limited to, infecting it with DRM before offering it for sale.

No competition, hence no way for customers to fight back.
This is largely incorrect.

You are correct in that it is illegal to, for example, publish a tool or disseminate instructions for how to circumvent a DRM model.

However, putting DRM on content that is in the public domain does not magically re-apply copyright. E.g. B&N often puts out its own ebooks of texts that are in the public domain. While it may be illegal for me to invent a tool that cracks their DRM scheme, they cannot in any way, shape or form prevent me from redistributing that PD text.

Even if they somehow became the only publisher of that text, I will still have the legal right to transcribe it into another form (paper or electronic) and distribute it in any method and at any price point I choose.

I.e. adding DRM does not, and cannot, re-establish any sort of exclusivity or equivalent of copyright protection to a public domain text.

Now, in some cases a company like B&N or Penguin will add essays or similar content to a PD text. That material can by copyrighted. However, the rest of the text is still in the public domain.

Similarly, if the text is still in copyright, short of signing an exclusive contract with a retailer, the rights-holder can distribute that title in any fashion they see fit. B&N putting DRM on a Stephen King book does not in any way, shape or form prevent Amazon, Apple or Sony from selling the book as well.

rlauzon
04-09-2010, 08:03 PM
Ok peoples. When it comes to ebooks, DRM rarely locks you to a specific reading device.

Right. DRM always locks you in to a specific vendor. Which leaves you at the vendor's mercy as to what device they will decide to support in the future.

This is a bit of an exception, as DRM is often used for vendor lock-ins. But for whatever reason(s), that does not seem to be the case with a lot of ebook retailers.

Then please show us how to read DRMed Kindle eBooks on a non-Amazon supported device.
Or how about DRMed Sony eBooks on a non-Sony device?
Or DRMed B&N eBooks on a non-B&N device?

DRM = lock-in and lack of choice for the consumer. Period.

vaughnmr
04-09-2010, 08:09 PM
Ok peoples. When it comes to ebooks, DRM rarely locks you to a specific reading device.

Kali, this was the silliest statement you have ever made. Substitute "frequently" for "rarely" and you will be a lot closer to reality.

delphidb96
04-09-2010, 08:21 PM
Ok peoples. When it comes to ebooks, DRM rarely locks you to a specific reading device.

For example, DRMed books purchased from B&N can be read on their proprietary device (the Nook). And on iPhones, iPod Touches, PC's, Macs and Blackberries. Amazon Kindle books are on the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, PC and Mac. It's reasonable that Android versions will also be available, and additional tablet OS's are practically a given. AFAIK the Adobe ebook DRM is also cross-platform.

There's also a ton of ways to get DRM-free public domain ebooks. B&N can slap whatever DRM they want onto a Charles Dickens book, that is extraordinarily unlikely to prevent readers from getting open versions.

This is a bit of an exception, as DRM is often used for vendor lock-ins. But for whatever reason(s), that does not seem to be the case with a lot of ebook retailers.

*IF* one is willing to 'take the next step' and gather the (in many areas illegal) DRM breaking tools, then yes, DRM rarely prevents one from using a purchased ebook on only one type of device.

On the other hand, if one sticks to 'the rules', one is so tied down with restrictions, gobbledigook and downright *HOSTILE* malware that it almost appears as if the publishers would rather that their clients not read at all!

Yes, I realize that one can 'authorize' multiple devices (especially true for Amazon), but that number is *FAR FEWER* than the number of reading devices I *personally* own! They are *my* devices, I should have no limits on which ones I may use to read my purchased ebooks!

Derek

Lemurion
04-09-2010, 08:25 PM
DRM exists to make money for DRM providers; they use FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) as a marketing tool and sell DRM as the cure.

It's a moderately successful con game which makes DRM providers plenty of money.

Ankh
04-09-2010, 09:15 PM
However, putting DRM on content that is in the public domain does not magically re-apply copyright.

Nowhere did I claim that copyright is re-applied. I was discussing an ALTERNATE mechanism which prevents you from using copies distributed with DRM protection. I said that it is illegal to remove DRM protection EVEN from content that is in public domain, and that it IS not illegal for distributors to apply such a protection on public domain matériel that they sell (or give away).

It is not a COPYRIGHT, but your capability to use THAT copy is severely limited, would you agree?

While it may be illegal for me to invent a tool that cracks their DRM scheme, they cannot in any way, shape or form prevent me from redistributing that PD text.

That's interesting question. I guess it is legal to distribute encrypted version of "War and Peace" from Sony... but since protection can NOT be legally removed from THAT copy, that version is useless to anybody except yourself (who have a registered device, hence a key, to read it).

Ankh
04-09-2010, 09:23 PM
Ankh - Why are you worrying about the DMCA?

For the very same reason that Mobile Read does not want to deal with hosting of "Gone with the wind" (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72615), a work of art which is in public domain in Canada. It is messy, and costly to deal with lawyers.

AlexBell
04-10-2010, 03:10 AM
Right. DRM always locks you in to a specific vendor. Which leaves you at the vendor's mercy as to what device they will decide to support in the future.

Sorry, that statement is simply not true. Many of us routinely remove DRM from ebooks as soon as we download an ebook.



Then please show us how to read DRMed Kindle eBooks on a non-Amazon supported device.

Google or private message are your friends.


DRM = lock-in and lack of choice for the consumer. Period.
That's very likely the publisher's intention, but 'It ain't necessarily so'.

Regards, Alex

rleguillow
04-10-2010, 05:49 AM
Ok peoples. When it comes to ebooks, DRM rarely locks you to a specific reading device.



Delighted to hear that. :rolleyes: So why then am I totally unable to read the 100+ ebooks I bought for my first ereader? They are in .rb format (which doesn't work on my Sony) and they have DRM - There are programs available for converting from .rb to something else, but not if there is DRM - and I have yet to see a DRM remover for those ebooks.

My first ereader was a Rocket. After they went out of business and the reader died, I purchased the nearly identical eBookwise version. It could read .rb format - but not those books, because they had DRM that it didn't accept.

Nope, Kali, can't say as I agree with your statement. It is only true insofar as the format is readable on the desired reading device, and the desired reading device has the capability of identifying you as a valid reader for that DRM.

rlauzon
04-10-2010, 10:01 AM
Sorry, that statement is simply not true. Many of us routinely remove DRM from ebooks as soon as we download an ebook.

And I will remind you that you are not the general public and that the instructions for removing the DRM are pretty much beyond the knowledge of most people.

I will also remind you that what works today may not work tomorrow. Amazon has complete control over the device and can change the DRM that they use at any time.

Gunnerp245
04-10-2010, 12:03 PM
It isn't to protect copyright - these books are out of copyright. It isn't to prevent piracy - what is the point? They are free.

Opinions?

It is all about the mighty $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.:help:
Gunner...

DawnFalcon
04-10-2010, 12:08 PM
It's about the War On Customers. You know, the one you can't win and can only hurt yourself during...

Kali Yuga
04-10-2010, 12:56 PM
It is not a COPYRIGHT, but your capability to use THAT copy is severely limited, would you agree?
Yes and no.

Yes, in that if I buy a DRMed copy of a Dickens book, I cannot legally break the DRM and redistribute that specific copy.

No, in that I can still take any portion of the book (excepting, say, an essay written recently and copyrighted) and do what I want with the actual text. Or I can get the same text from a multitude of methods.

E.g. I get A Tale of Two Cities for the Nook, and want to read it on another device. Even if I can't read that specific copy, or legally crack the DRM and move it, it is trivially easy to get a legal non-DRM protected copy of the text.

Thus there are almost no practical effects of the limitation.

Kali Yuga
04-10-2010, 01:12 PM
Right. DRM always locks you in to a specific vendor. Which leaves you at the vendor's mercy as to what device they will decide to support in the future.
I do agree it locks that copy in to that specific vendor, but that's not what I contested. I pointed out that when it comes to ebooks, you are not particularly locked into a specific hardware platform. Ebooks happen to be far less restrictive than a lot of other content.

Compare this to a video game, for example. If you buy a game for a Nintendo DS, you are thoroughly locked into that vendor, that platform, and that hardware device.


Then please show us how to read DRMed Kindle eBooks on a non-Amazon supported device. Or how about DRMed Sony eBooks on a non-Sony device? Or DRMed B&N eBooks on a non-B&N device?
Again, these vendors are supporting a variety of devices: smartphones, PCs, readers. You have a lot more options than with console games or DRMed movies, or iTunes DRM'ed music at its start, for example.

Further, if I have an iPhone for example, there is no problem with my purchasing one Kindle ebook, a B&N ebook, and reading public domain books via Stanza or any number of other apps. So at worst a specific title that I purchase may be locked to a specific vendor, but I certainly am not.

I concur things could be a bit more open, but the situations where your options are truly restricted are dwindling, as more and more platforms are supported.

Kali Yuga
04-10-2010, 01:29 PM
So why then am I totally unable to read the 100+ ebooks I bought for my first ereader?
I have a stack of Atari 800 games on cassette tapes gathering dust in a basement. Why can't I play them on my Mac with OS 10.6? Plus I've got all those Leading Edge Word Processing documents on 5.25" floppies. :D

It's unfortunate that you got spiked on the bleeding edge of a technology, but that can occur for any number of reasons. And further unfortunately, you are in a tiny percentage of people with this specific issue; i.e. if there are 10,000 or even 100,000 people who purchased unreadable and/or unconvertible .RB files, and 30 million iPhone owners who can purchase ebooks from over a dozen vendors, that puts you in the minority. Since the ebook market is much larger now, and is about to explode in popularity into an environment where your ebooks are not locked to a specific hardware device, and where vendors like Sony are moving towards standards like ePub, you have my sympathies but not my agreement with your characterization of the current environment.

By the way, in theory Rocketbook may try to make a comeback. Take up DRM-removal or multi-platform support with whatever organization is trying to revive the name. ;)

rlauzon
04-10-2010, 05:02 PM
Again, these vendors are supporting a variety of devices: smartphones, PCs, readers. You have a lot more options than with console games or DRMed movies, or iTunes DRM'ed music at its start, for example.

Ahh... In other words, "Don't complain about the size of your prison cell. It's 700 sq ft. Other prisoners get only 200 sq ft."

Kali Yuga
04-10-2010, 09:44 PM
Ahh... In other words, "Don't complain about the size of your prison cell. It's 700 sq ft. Other prisoners get only 200 sq ft."
Well, I am often tempted to tell people that they are whiney little kvetches who need to man up. ;) But no, that's not my point here, and I can see why people have issues with vendor lock-ins. The point is that DRM is not used all that often as a hardware lock-in, particularly for ebooks.

E.g. PC games and applications often have DRM; however, the developer could care less if you run it on an HP, a Dell, a home-built computer, or a virtual machine running on a Mac or Linux host (though they will care if you run it on too many computers at once). Microsoft used DRM for its PlaysForSure content, which was not locked to a specific hardware device, as it was designed to play on multiple devices. DVD's use DRM and copy protection, not to lock you into a specific vendor but to protect content. Google's upcoming book project will use DRM, and will run on any device with a web browser. There is no reason why you can't take your iPhone app and publish an identical app for Android, Blackberry or other handheld platforms.

Apple seems to be one of the bigger offenders in this department -- e.g. initially iTunes audio tracks only worked on Apple hardware, for example -- but DRM is just a small part of that tendency. They use a multitude of techniques to control their platforms, with both positive and negative consequences. Even so, they switched their music sales to DRM-free not too long ago.

In contrast, Amazon -- whom I'm sure many people here would blast as "using DRM as a vendor lock-in method" -- sells DRM-free music, video files with DRM but does not offer a hardware device to lock it to, leaves it up to the content provider of DTP content to decide whether or not to apply DRM, and provides methods for reading their DRM-protected ebook content on a variety of hardware devices. Amazon could kill the Kindle reader today, and could still sell Kindle ebooks on a wide variety of devices, and Amazon's strategy from the start was for both the device and ebooks to separately produce profits. And of course, absolutely nothing stops you from loading up a Kindle app, a B&N app, Stanza, and a dozen other ebook apps on your PC, Mac or an increasing variety of smartphones.

How, exactly, does the above reveal a diabolical design by Amazon to lock their customers into a specific hardware platform via DRM?

Paper books also "bake in" their own restrictions. E.g. you can't make an unlimited number of duplicates with near-zero cost and perfect fidelity; you can't restore your paper copy from a backup; you can't simultaneously read your one copy of the paper book on 6 different devices at once. And of course, the usual copyright-related restrictions apply unless the book is in the public domain. So do these restrictions define a "prison" whose "cell size" is merely a little bit larger than what you get with a DRM'ed ebook...?

DawnFalcon
04-10-2010, 09:48 PM
Simple test - can you utilise your legal rights, including those under fair use and first sale/exhaustion of rights.

Paper books - yes.
Non-DRM'ed eBook - yes.
DRM'ed eBook - no.

Black and white.

Hamlet53
04-11-2010, 11:11 AM
I don't see DRM going away anytime soon because it is a different sort of animal than in the past. There was never a Universal DVD player made to play DVDs released by Universal and restricted to playing on the Universal VD player. One of the principal objectives of the current DRM for e-books is to restrict the e-book use to the e-book viewers made by the company selling the e-book. I believe the only reason Amazon, Sony, and Barnes & Noble (to cite the principal players) have any interest in e-books at all is to promote sales of their e-book devices.

That is why I am so down on the whole e-book pirating. If people could be trusted to just pay for the content that they are getting this justification [preventing pirating] for DRM would vanish. Authors would lose any incentive for supporting DRM and actually have an incentive to oppose a DRM scheme that hampers sale of their books through restriction to only certain e-reader devices.

So DRM is not going away soon which leaves me the e-book consumer with limited choices for books not in the public domain. Public domain books can be had without DRM several places, including here. In fact from this site I have already replaced the 100 'free' titles that came with the Sony PRS-505, my first e-reader purchase. It freed me from the ever so slight twinge of guilt for stripping the DRM from those books and in all cases provided better versions anyway. When not in the public domain my options in order of preference are: buy the e-book from Sony if available, buy it from another source and do what is necessary to make it readable on my Sony Daily Edition, or all to often discover that the book is not available as an e-book.

I consider it a real paradox in current law, in the U.S. At least, that I am committing a greater crime in buying an e-book form Amazon and removing the DRM to allow conversion to an EPUB viewable on my reader than I would be going to the 'darknet' and downloading a free copy; and action that deprives the book author and book publisher of their rightful income.

“if the law supposes that then the law is an ass.”

Ankh
04-11-2010, 12:46 PM
That is why I am so down on the whole e-book pirating. If people could be trusted to just pay for the content that they are getting this justification [preventing pirating] for DRM would vanish.

I doubt it.

You properly described the characteristics of DRM protected ebooks in your post: they are goods unlike anything that we have seen so far. They are tied to one particular device (hence cumbersome to share even with someone from your household), they are time constrained (that device will eventually go to garbage dump), the "ownership" of copy is not tied to permanent information carrier like paper, no second-hand sales...

IMHO, the prevention of piracy is very low on the list of reasons for existence of encryption. And if it goes through, if the market swallows that new and transformed type of goods where everybody pays for the encrypted content, DRM will stay with us forever.

No, it is only the lack of success, if sales are affected by the publisher's insistence on DRM, that can force publishers to give up on encryption.

rlauzon
04-11-2010, 01:15 PM
The point is that DRM is not used all that often as a hardware lock-in, particularly for ebooks.

And my point still is that Hardware lock in is like a 200 sq ft prison cell.
Vendor lock in is like a 700 sq ft cell.

Yes, vendor lock in is better, but it's still a prison cell.

Microsoft used DRM for its PlaysForSure content, which was not locked to a specific hardware device,

Laugh! PlaysForSure content sure didn't play on a Zune. Talk to the many, many people who purchased PlaysForSure "secured" content and then bought a Zune, only to find that the Zune wouldn't play the content that they "bought".

Apple seems to be one of the bigger offenders in this department -- e.g. initially iTunes audio tracks only worked on Apple hardware, for example -- but DRM is just a small part of that tendency. They use a multitude of techniques to control their platforms, with both positive and negative consequences. Even so, they switched their music sales to DRM-free not too long ago.

But iTunes will only work with closed platforms and iTunes is the only program that will (reliably) sync your music with an iPod. Apple updates to iPods keep breaking the 3rd party programs.

Hmmm... Still smells like vendor lock in to me.

In contrast, Amazon -- whom I'm sure many people here would blast as "using DRM as a vendor lock-in method" -- sells DRM-free music, video files

The topic here is eBooks. The Music industry already (grudgingly) accepted the truth of the market.

How, exactly, does the above reveal a diabolical design by Amazon to lock their customers into a specific hardware platform via DRM?

Ever hear of the Kindle? Ever hear of Amazon eBook DRM?

How many non-Amazon devices can read an Amazon DRMed eBook?

Why did Amazon make their Mobipocket format different from the one that had been in use for years?

In order for DRM to do anything reasonably useful, the reading device must remain outside the customer's control. It must remain closed. Once the device opens up, the secret that the DRM uses to keep content "secure" is out and the DRM becomes a useless expense.

Paper books also "bake in" their own restrictions.

Yes, yes, yes. But all those restrictions are because the book is physical. Again, the topic is eBooks, not pBooks.