This is a proposal to curtail abuse of the copyright system. The idea would be to push for legislative changes in these directions. The US government is distracted with other things right now, but maybe our friends in the EU could help get things going there? We'll need to take this up with all governments (or at least all in the WTO) eventually.
Digital Millennium Cultural Heritage Act
Purpose: To preserve cultural heritage by ensuring that creative works remain available so long as any members of a community find them valuable enough to preserve.
Creative Works: Creative works (herein referred to as "a work") consist of any content created and distributed by the creator, including, but not limited to, text, images, music, video, or software.
Copyright expiration: the holder of the copyright of a work shall retain that copyright while the work remains in commercial distribution. If a work falls out of commercial distribution for three years or more, copyright reverts first to the creator of the work (if different from the former copyright holder and still living), and then, after a period of two years, to the public domain. Works entering the public domain in this fashion must still retain attribution to their creator(s) if distributed further.
Commercial Distribution: Commercial distribution is defined as the ready availability of a work for all fair use by any purchaser. Works in commercial distribution may not be restricted by any means to prevent such fair use, which includes, but is not limited to, presentation by accessibility tools, excerpt for scholarly or critical purposes, creation of personal archival copies, resale, or the ability of the purchaser to enjoy the work via any device or medium capable of presenting the work. Fair use does not include the distribution of a work currently in commercial distribution or substantial portions thereof to third parties, unless explicitly authorized by the copyright holder, other than resale of ownership to a single party (see below).
Non-Hinderance of Translation or Conversion: A copyright holder may not hinder the translation of a work to another language or to a format supported by a device capable of presenting the work. A copyright holder has one year after the initial request of the work in a human language or for a specific device in which to make the work available in that language or for that device. After this point, compulsory licensing may be used to compensate copyright holders for the translation or formatted version of the work as performed by a third party. This includes works not commercially in distribution as digital works at the time of the request.
Transfer of Ownership: Fair use of a work applies to the purchaser specifically for the period of time the purchaser chooses to retain ownership. If a purchaser of a work chooses to resell their ownership of the work, all copies of the work held by the seller must be transfered to the buyer or destroyed at the time of purchase.
Limited Licensing: Limited license forms of a work, such as rentals, leases, demonstration or time-restricted versions, etc. which restrict fair use do not qualify as commercial distribution for the purposes of copyright expiration or non-hinderance of translation or conversion.
[I considered adding something about equitable pricing between digital and non-digital versions, but decided to drop it and see if the market could take care of the problem.]
Note that this doesn't explicitly prohibit DRM, it just specifies that DRM can't get in the way of fair use by the individual user (or someone the purchaser wants to sell the work to). Which probably effectively eliminates DRM, other than, say, watermarking or similar schemes. But if the publishers can figure out a way to do it without blocking fair use, they can still do it.