I am grateful to all of you posters for your contributions. You gave life to a very stimulating and enjoyable debate, and helped me to shape my proposal (last version is in post #356) for a "social DRM" system that empowers media users without increasing piracy (just the opposite, actually).
Now it seems to me that, among the problems raised by you posters so far, only two have not yet been already tackled, both of them "technical" ones:
- the legal feasibility aspect, that Hellmark just introduced (from the perspective of US law, I think);
- the interest that publishers/vendors could have (or not) towards this type of copy-control scheme.
So I'd suggest to concentrate on these (or on other problems which did not appear earlier in this thread).
For what concerns point 1, I really can't say anything and am looking forward to comments from experts.
For what concerns point 2, I'm asking if any of you have hard data about the following issue: how much of the illegal uploading that takes place today is actually due to the original buyer uploading the file?
(The rest of illegal uploading is due, of course, to people who got the file from any other source, including the original buyer, through any means.)
This is a key point, because my scheme has no diminishing effect on this type of piracy (while it has on all other types). I had lunch today with a colleague who worked on these issues, and he told me that "buyers-uploaders" could even represent the vast majority of uploaders. Can some of you provide numerical data about this?
Finally, I noted a strange thing. Among all the critiques, no alternative proposals emerged. Up to now, only one single poster proposed a copy-control scheme that was alternative to mine (precisely, the proposal was: no DRM of any kind at all, and let's boycott publishers that don't comply until they change their ways). I would have liked to read more of these alternative proposals, because they're very interesting as a source for inspiration and to highlight the shortcomings of mine.
Is it possible that (among all of us people interested in ebooks and digital publishing) there isn't a wealth of innovative ideas about how to do better than current DRM systems, either on the side of user possibilities or on that of controlling piracy?