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Old 04-04-2011, 01:46 AM   #1
rogerVA
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Why are DRM ebooks evil and why should I avoid them like the plague?

I should know this by now. DRM is an evil thing, I gather from everybody here. I'm not even sure which if any ebooks I have on my Kindle 3 are DRM and I'm not sure what the difference would be. Could somebody give me a quick rundown? (If this is too much to answer, I understand that, too.)
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:49 AM   #2
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I'm not even sure which if any ebooks I have on my Kindle 3 are DRM and I'm not sure what the difference would be.
You and millions of other totally unaffected ebook consumers. If you try to give a copy of the book to someone and they can't access it, there's DRM. If you buy a different brand ereader and can't access the ones you bought for Kindle, there it is. If you put on a tinfoil helmet, the DRM becomes visible.

My advice is to go enjoy your books. There are people starving to death, political prisoners being tortured, and natural disasters wiping out cities. Don't go looking for things to be concerned about inside your luxury electronic device. Run from this thread while you still can. I'm saying this out of love. Love.

Last edited by OtterBooks; 04-04-2011 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rogerVA View Post
I should know this by now. DRM is an evil thing, I gather from everybody here. I'm not even sure which if any ebooks I have on my Kindle 3 are DRM and I'm not sure what the difference would be. Could somebody give me a quick rundown? (If this is too much to answer, I understand that, too.)
Example.

We have 3 e-ink readers and 3 LCD devices which also double as readers in our house. One is a Kindle, one sony, one BeBook Mini, and 3 WinCE devices.

Now, if I buy a book from Amazon, it'll be perfectly readable on the Kindle. No problem there. However, that Kindle is my husband's and I want to read that book too on my Sony or WinCE device. Which I can't do, because it's DRM'd. Or I buy a book from BooksOnBoard, which I can read perfectly on my Sony, but not on that Kindle, because it's DRM infested.

But, luckily, there's a perfect solution to DRM-infested books. And that's not not buying them, but simply removing the DRM.

I recently bought a book from Amazon, removed the DRM and put it on my sony to read. The kindle has the original version (loaded via wifi).
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:33 AM   #4
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If you try to give a copy of the book to someone and they can't access it, there's DRM. If you buy a different brand ereader and can't access the ones you bought for Kindle, there it is.
Roger, suppose Amazon used the word "rent" instead of the word "buy" when you clicked to obtain your eBooks. Would you be willing to spend $9.99 per book?

Suppose Amazon stated with every eBook rental transaction that the eBook cannot be read on competitors' eBook readers. Would you be willing to spend $9.99 per book?

A big concern among many here is the issue of ownership. If you can't give it away, do you own the eBook, or are you just renting it?

Combine that with the fact that there is more than one DRM. If your Kindle breaks one day in the future, if you buy a Sony to replace it and you can't read the eBook on your new Sony, is your accumulated eBook library worth anything to you then? Is the money you have spent on eBooks down the drain?

Or would you feel that you have no choice but to buy another Kindle because of the money you have already spent on eBooks? When you bought your Kindle, did you think that you were entering into a lifetime arrangement with Amazon?

Personally, I think that money has a lot to do with it. If the price of all eBooks were a trivial 99 cents, I don't think there would be too much objection to the issues I raise. Sure the issues would still be there, but for 99 cents, who cares?

But when eBooks go for prices near those of paper books (which don't have these issues), a lot of people here feel they are being gypped.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:39 AM   #5
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Personally, I think that money has a lot to do with it. If the price of all eBooks were a trivial 99 cents, I don't think there would be too much objection to the issues I raise. Sure the issues would still be there, but for 99 cents, who cares?
By that logic, why not just say all ebooks and by extension all digital content should be priced at 0.00 and will essentially be donationware. It makes perfect sense to me!

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Old 04-04-2011, 04:31 AM   #6
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By that logic, why not just say all ebooks and by extension all digital content should be priced at 0.00 and will essentially be donationware. It makes perfect sense to me!

At 99 cents you can consider the book "rental". At 9$, i expect to own the book. And be able to read it for a long time, on any e-reader I own and will own.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:44 AM   #7
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerVA View Post
I should know this by now. DRM is an evil thing, I gather from everybody here. I'm not even sure which if any ebooks I have on my Kindle 3 are DRM and I'm not sure what the difference would be. Could somebody give me a quick rundown? (If this is too much to answer, I understand that, too.)
So long as you only read your books on your Kindle, you won't notice any difference between DRMed and non-DRM ebooks, except that only the DRMed ones are likely to prevent you using the Kindle's text-to-speech feature.

When you replace your Kindle with a new ebook reader, if it's another Kindle, you still won't really notice the DRM. (Although any back-ups of your ebooks you made won't work on your new Kindle - you'll need to download from Amazon again.)

But if it's anything other than a Kindle, you won't be able to re-read any of your Kindle ebooks on this new gadget.

If Amazon stop supplying Kindle ebooks in general, or some Kindle ebooks in particular, you won't be able to read affected ebooks on new devices, since the DRM locks each copy of a Kindle ebook to one particular device, and you need to download from Amazon for each device you want to read the ebook on.

If your SO or children want to read any of the ebooks you've bought, you'll need to register their Kindles with your Amazon account, rather than their own Amazon account. You can't just copy a DRMed ebook from your computer onto their Kindle.

There are two ways to avoid these potential future problems.

1. Don't buy DRMed ebooks. Non-DRMed Kindle ebooks have, in the Product Description section, the line: "Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited"

2. If you do buy DRMed ebooks, removed the DRM. This may or may not be legal for personal use, depending on the country you live in. In some countries (including USA) it's unclear whether it's legal or not, and the courts have never ruled on it. In any case, if it's only for personal use, I can't see how anyone would know.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rogerVA View Post
I should know this by now. DRM is an evil thing, I gather from everybody here.
Please don't tar everyone with the same brush. It's certainly not the case that "everybody" thinks that DRM is "evil".
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #10
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I'm not even sure which if any ebooks I have on my Kindle 3 are DRM ...
All of them, I'll wager.

Quote:
... and I'm not sure what the difference would be.
Hey, if it works for you, that's cool. Buy whatever suits your needs. (Just don't try to move away from the Amazon environment, ever, or buy elsewhere; it will fail in mysterious ways.)

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Originally Posted by OtterBooks View Post
If you put on a tinfoil helmet, the DRM becomes visible.
My geek goggles will do nicely, thank you very much

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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Please don't tar everyone with the same brush. It's certainly not the case that "everybody" thinks that DRM is "evil".
Let's call it a "nuisance", then, or perhaps a pain in the you-know-where. I can't imagine a reader actively embracing it.

Last edited by rogue_librarian; 04-04-2011 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:26 AM   #11
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I can't imagine a reader actively embracing it. [DRM]
Hardly surprising. DRM has no advantages for the customer at all.

(And none for the publishers either, if only they'd realise it.)
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:31 AM   #12
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Could some one PLEASE tell me HOW to remove the DRM from my Kindle ebooks!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:32 AM   #13
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Could some one PLEASE tell me HOW to remove the DRM from my Kindle ebooks!!
Ask your friend Apprentice Alf. He'll be happy to assist you.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:47 AM   #14
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Very easy way to get around the DRM thing without removing it (possibly illegal) or avoiding a book worth reading. Simply search if there is a DRM-free alternative. Many books are released on Smashwords as well as Amazon or another retailer. Smashwords is automatically DRM-free. So for those who want to read their book via Kindle and who could care less of a restricted book, a purchase from Amazon would be ideal, otherwise, buy it from Smashwords. No need to form a movement, no need to punish authors.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:28 AM   #15
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... buy it from Smashwords.
Wow, you make this sound like it's a real alternative! Only, it's not, sadly. Only a tiny fraction of books can be found there.

Quote:
No need to form a movement, no need to punish authors.
I'm sure that's foremost on everybody's mind. It's not as though we readers really need authors, is it?
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