Like I say frequently..the paradigm is still yet to be set for DRM, and it could go a lot of different directions based on who gets to influence it. Once a method gains traction and market, it will be hard to overcome. Unfortunately, it might be determined by niche markets with money, like education, rather than the avid ebook readers. Contrast this with the overwhelming power of the interested song-listening masses insisting on MP3s, which even caused Sony to acknowledge they had to handle MP3 format music on their portables.
But even music is starting to backtrack with the DRMd online services. It's like you really don't own what you buy. Reminds me of the old RealOne software I used to play cds on my computer once. When my PC had to be reloaded from scratch, including the OS, I lost all my rights to those mp3 files. I'll never use Real software for music files now, no matter how much they change that.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that ebook controls are going to be more about revenue protection than usability. It seems to have a lot of support from lawmakers across the world.
But don't assume all content providers are evil. Here's a very interesting article by a content provider about the p2p "enemy"...
It's written by Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball franchise. I'm a big fan of his. He's also an owner of an HDTV network, so he's speaking as a content provider. He basically says that content owners are passing up on great opportunities for revenue and opportunities to make things better for consumers because they are so focused on hanging onto what they have, and prosecuting to keep it. They need to open their eyes and be creative instead of calling in the henchmen and hiding their heads in the sand.
Wow, if only all content providers would think more like he does. Life would be wonderful for all of us consumers, and people would still be making a bundle of money. And he's not a novice to the computer world either... he's the founder of broadcast.com which started off the whole internet broadcast industry
At least with ebooks we can always retreat to free text that's in the public domain!
And in my mind there's a bigger question... why in the world should we be giving copyright protection after 5yrs on content? Do you really believe content will stop being produced if it becomes public domain in 5yrs? Can you imagine what a wonderful thing this would be for the public if movies were freely available after 5yrs! Movie studios would still make lots of bucks, and I'd sure be willing to give up an occassional movie that they decide not to make because of not having that ongoing revenue. The benefit of all that content for free far outweighs the very slightly reduced incentives to produce. If it's all about incentive to produce, why don't we charge everyone on the internet a $100/yr fee that goes to the content producers based on their sales. That would really increase the incentive to produce content, but it wouldn't make sense because consumers lose... just like with the current copyright laws!
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