That's a very creative idea, Olympus. I like it. Kind of a combination of social DRM and being really clever with encryption.
Let me see if I understand a few details:
- The text, which is encoded into the "cover art" picture can be decrypted by anyone using the "public key" analog from the publisher.
- The cover art includes some identifier linking the book to the original buyer (i.e. name or some such).
- The text can't be decoded if the "cover art" is monkeyed with via an image editor, so the social DRM can't be changed without trashing the text.
Am I following correctly?
Assuming for the moment that I am, the questions I see are:
How much data can this "cover art" hold? Will it accommodate full books? My instinct is that it would, since digital texts are so "small," especially if a "pure text" save schema (i.e. HTML, etc.) were used.
Couldn't someone take the "public key," use it to decode the text and separate it from the image and pass that around? I'm thinking they could, but there we'd be depending on the premise that most
people (and honest people) will accept DRM if it isn't too intrusive and restrictive. A premise I happen to think is more correct than not.
I think this notion has some potential. It would allow folks to "lend" books. It would encourage them to be very careful of who they lend them to,
as well, which is probably a good idea. I'm not sure about re-selling them, but if they're cheap enough, folks stop caring about that so much. It would allow people to give books away, but again, they'd be careful of who they gave them to. And it would make it easy for them to pass into the Public Domain once that time limit passed.
A very interesting notion, indeed.