Originally Posted by DiapDealer
But make no mistake: there is no "second-hand DRM-stripping of someone else's purchases and then the mass/illegal distribution of that file" going on in today's scene. At the very best, the original owner is handing a possibly illicit copy of an ebook to a pirate... and at the worst: uploading that illicit copy themselves.
Good point. I partially addressed it in my previous post, but I will clarify (hopefully!) here why I think that my scheme could offer a reasonable solution. By the way, it is aimed not only at ebook but at downloadable digital media in general (music, ...).
So, today illegal distribution is done by two categories of people:
A) people who get a copy of someone else's file(s), stripped of DRM by the original buyer or by someone else (including the distributor);
B) people who bought the file and decide to illegally distributing it.
Let's consider categories A and B one at the time, starting with A.
In my scheme, if I buy a media file I can give it to other people legally and without restrictions, so I do that without removing the embedded metadata first (why bother?). Of course (as I explained) the whole scheme is designed to strongly discourage giving files to people you don't really trust: so we can assume that I will give my files to people who I think care for me enough not to put me into trouble, and ask these people not to share their files with anyone else.
So, if one of the people who received a media file from me through this trust-based process wants to illegally distribute it, she/he will need to:
1) remove the metadata identfying me;
2) break the promise of not sharing that (implicitly or explicitly) she/he made to me;
3) create a dirty secret between her/him and me (friend, spouse, ...);
4) get preoccupied that the "metadata-removal tool" they downloaded from that suspicious-looking website may not work perfectly, thus bringing a fine to me and a terribly awkward situation between she/he and me.
Is it worth it, just to let unknown people save some money? I'm not convinced.
Of course, the distributor can be a complete bastard who doesn't care at all about me while simulating exactly the opposite (pretty low probabilility, I'd say). In that case, she/he will likely have other reasons for such scheming that than illegal uploading, and presumably will not risk blowing her/his "cover" just to upload a file.
Now, to category B of illegal uploaders.
If I pay for a book (or record, or...) by author A, it means that I like what A does. Generally, I will be pleased if A gets paid to continue her/his fine work. I know that if I upload my book (or record or...) A will get an economic damage, maybe a large one if my file really spreads. Would I do it all the same, all for the sake of having unknown people save some money? I'm not convinced.
Of course, I could have other motives. I could be, in fact, a disgruntled customer. Aha, the publisher asked me an absurdly high price for this book! Let them pay (<press "Upload">). If I did something wrong and I'll get a fine, it was worth it all the same (maniacal grin). Or: yes, John Smith is a good writer but this new book is a collection of short stories that I already have (I'm a fan) plus a single new item: a grocery list. John Smith robbed me, and I'll rob him (<press "Upload">).
These kind of (extreme) situations can be avoided rather easily if publishers, media vendors and authors avoid robbing their customers too openly :-)
What do you think?