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Old 08-19-2007, 06:30 AM   #31
rlauzon
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The simple fact that companies which sell DRM-protected eBooks have been a commercial success.
What companies are those?

And since you seem insistent on limiting our DRM discussion to eBooks, then your statement is incorrect because no eBook seller has been a commercial success - yet.

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Nonsense. The leading DRM format for eBooks is MobiPocket, and that certainly hasn't been broken.
Because we can get the content from other sources.

Ever seen the movie "Sneakers"? There was a scene where Robert Redford was blocked by a door with a digital lock - a lock that was very hard to pick. So he kicked open the door. They put a $1000 lock on $10 frame.

As security professionals say "Security is only as good as the weakest link."

And as Cory Doctorow has pointed out many times, only 1 source needs to be broken to free content.

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Most digital formats you buy are "proprietory, closed formats". Take, for example, the "Red Book" standard which controls how music CDs are formatted. That is a proprietory, closed format owned by Philips. You have to buy a licence from Philips in order to produce audio CDs. Are you going to claim that CDs have been a failure?
It's not closed, since I can rip a CD to my hard drive. It's not proprietary because just about anyone can create software that can read a CD.

You are confusing the format with the legal process to make a company that creates CDs.
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:54 AM   #32
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What companies are those?
Let's see: MobiPocket, Fictionwise spring immediately to mind. I'm sure I could come up with a few more.

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Because we can get the content from other sources.
Hang on. You said that it was a "Fact" that all major DRM had been broken. MobiPocket is without question a "major DRM". It has not been broken, therefore your statement is incorrect. Don't try to wriggle out of it by making excuses!

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It's not closed, since I can rip a CD to my hard drive. It's not proprietary because just about anyone can create software that can read a CD.
Please go and look up the word "proprietary" in a dictionary. It means that the format is owned and controlled by someone - in the case of CDs, that someone is Philips. Being proprietary has nothing to do with the ease or otherwise of creating that format.

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You are confusing the format with the legal process to make a company that creates CDs.
No, I'm not. It is you who are confused about the meaning of the word "proprietary" .
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:15 AM   #33
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Let's see: MobiPocket, Fictionwise spring immediately to mind. I'm sure I could come up with a few more.
OK. If you want to define "success" as "staying afloat", then, yes, MobiPocket, is a "success".

But MobiPocket still sells an insignificant number of eBooks.

Fictionwise sells more than DRMed eBooks. If we are going to talk about DRMed eBooks and business success, Fictionwise can't be in the list.

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Hang on. You said that it was a "Fact" that all major DRM had been broken. MobiPocket is without question a "major DRM". It has not been broken, therefore your statement is incorrect. Don't try to wriggle out of it by making excuses!
MobiPocket is not "major DRM."

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Please go and look up the word "proprietary" in a dictionary. It means that the format is owned and controlled by someone - in the case of CDs, that someone is Philips. Being proprietary has nothing to do with the ease or otherwise of creating that format.
Hmmm... Interesting. I was not aware of that.

Then I can change my statement to "the CD is an open format" meaning that I can take the content and turn it into something else. Something that is not proprietary (or at least open).
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:09 AM   #34
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I do want to point out a very important thing.

The format specification for CDs, while owned by Philips, is freely available. You just go to the web site, pay some money and get the specs.

To me, this looks like Philips basically saying "we put in alot of time and effort to create this format, and we'd like some money back if you are going to profit from it."

But the important part is that Philips doesn't prevent anyone from making CDs.

Now, let's compare that to the MobiPocket format.

The site is still down, so I cannot re-verify this, but the last time I checked their site, they did not publish the full format for the MobiPocket format (I'm not talking about the PalmDOC-encoded-HTML-file).

So, tell me, how many non-MobiPocket (company) programs exist that can create a MobiPocket format document?
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:49 AM   #35
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I can't check it either at the moment, but I'm pretty sure than anyone can publish a book with MobiPocket DRM. I believe there's a free program on the MP web site for doing so.

Whether or not there's any OTHER program for doing so, I don't know, but given the fact that it's free, does it matter if there is or not?
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:11 PM   #36
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I too think that DRM is a bad thing.
  1. It does not stop piracy.
  2. It only hurts the people who legitimately purchase DRM'ed material.

How many people here purposely purchase DRM'ed .LIT ebooks because they know they can break the DRM? (under the guise of the DRM preventing accessiblity)

I think the ebook industry/market is less mature than the emusic industry/market, and it is certainly less successful. EMI and now Universal have dumped DRM because it is hampering their growth in digital sales. Watermarking the ebook file as Universal Music will be doing with it digital music is a great compromise in my opinion.

Sony and publishers, even more so, need to see "the light".... will it happen?
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:28 PM   #37
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Sony tried the "expiring content" DRM model with the original Librie - it was a disaster. People just don't want content which disappears.
Was it subscription-based (like a real library)? Otherwise, what was the price per-book? Comparable to what it would cost to get from a (public) library (ie. in the cents per title)?
-For reference:
--Public library subscription (near my house): 20€ per year (and only because I'm older than 18 and younger than 65 - 18-and-under it's free while "oldies" get discounts).
--Maximum of 3 books "loaned" at a time, for a period of 2 weeks (extendable if so desired.. but lets just leave this part out for convenience's sake).
--3books per 2weeks & 52weeks total = 156 books for 20€ = 12.8c (0.128€) per book. And that is not taking into account early returns, etc.
-- Of course, this is somewhat of a high figure (most people won't get that many books out), so lets just take half of that many books (78), thus doubling the price: 0.256€.
-- And lets not forget that anything beyond your small-village public library probably has a selection of books quite a bit more extensive than that of most ebook providers.

EDIT
I should note of course that aside from the under 18s, college and such students also get massive discounts (or straight-out free access). Now lets look at the average "consumer" of pirate-ware... I don't think I'd be far off the mark if I stated that probably the majority of those would fall exactly within the category of under-18 or college-age. Arguably one of the reasons why many SW companies bring out extremely cheap "student" versions - getting 100US for a 1000US SW package is better than getting nothing.
/EDIT

Or was it just another corporate attempt at ripping people off by raping what otherwise could've been a good idea?

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Nonsense. The leading DRM format for eBooks is MobiPocket, and that certainly hasn't been broken.
I think he means protected media in general, not ebook DRM per sé.
Or at least that's the way I read his comment.

----

And not in the UK? Well, the UK has always been considered an outsider in Europe (or at least, not wanted to be considered an integral part of it - anyone that's ever done international politics knows that even in the EU the UK has always been a monkey-wrench, and more often than not gone against the "norm", the issue with Iraq a few years ago being the perfect example hereof). But then again, what do I know? I'm just a war journalist specialized in international politics.

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Old 08-19-2007, 05:24 PM   #38
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I can't check it either at the moment, but I'm pretty sure than anyone can publish a book with MobiPocket DRM. I believe there's a free program on the MP web site for doing so.

Whether or not there's any OTHER program for doing so, I don't know, but given the fact that it's free, does it matter if there is or not?
Yes it does. Why should I have to ask MobiPocket's permission to publish an eBook? While it's free today, it might not be free tomorrow.

Microsoft used to be very generous in how people used Office. Then they drove their competition out of business and they stopped being generous.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:40 AM   #39
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Yes it does. Why should I have to ask MobiPocket's permission to publish an eBook? While it's free today, it might not be free tomorrow.
But nobody is forcing you to publish your books through MobiPocket. If you choose to publish your books through MobiPocket, however, you play by their rules. That seems entirely reasonable to me. If you publish your book through any publisher, you follow the publisher's rules.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:48 AM   #40
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But nobody is forcing you to publish your books through MobiPocket. If you choose to publish your books through MobiPocket, however, you play by their rules. That seems entirely reasonable to me.
Because that's what it is today. Not what it will be tomorrow.

The MobiPocket format is completely controlled by MobiPocket. If they decide to change the rules, they can - at any time. If MobiPocket becomes the dominant eBook format, that will cause problems - as history has taught us.

And you still didn't answer my question: Why do I need to ask MobiPocket (or any other company) permission to publish an eBook?

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If you publish your book through any publisher, you follow the publisher's rules.
Remember that publishers exist for the authors, not the other way around. Why does an author need the publisher's permission to publish?


But getting back to the topic that we've strayed so far from...

When I buy a pBook, I have certain rights. Among those are the right to re-sell the book - or in other ways transfer ownership to someone else.

If I buy a pBook on Amazon for $15 and after reading it I decide that I probably won't re-read it, I can re-sell that book and get something back for it.
I can also give that pBook away to someone else.

On the flip side, if I really like that book, I can put it on my bookshelf and in, say, a year, pull it back down and re-read it.

If I get a DRMed eBook, things are very different. I am barred from transferring ownership. So the "residual value" of the book is gone. I pay $15 for the eBook and don't like it, then I'm stuck. I can't get any money back for it.

If the eBook is DRMed or in a closed format, then I may not be able to pull it off my "bookshelf" a year later and read it. Either the key for the DRM may no longer work, or my current reader may not support the format, or the format may be no longer supported.

The bottom line is that a DRMed eBook, or a closed format eBook, is a 1 shot read. It's disposable. The expectation is that the eBook will be priced accordingly.

Fair market value (as set by the local library): $0
Since libraries only have a limited number of copies, we can raise the price a little for the service of immediately borrowing a copy from the eBookstore. The price as set by iTunes: $0.99.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:20 AM   #41
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And you still didn't answer my question: Why do I need to ask MobiPocket (or any other company) permission to publish an eBook?
I'm sorry, but you've entirely lost me. You have a completely free choice as to whether or not to publish your book through MobiPocket. It you decide to go with them, you use their publishing tools. Nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying "you must publish your book through MobiPocket". If you want to set up your own web site and do it yourself, go ahead.

I believe that, if you do sell through MobiPocket, they take a 40% cut of the selling price. That pays for the web site, the publicity, etc. But again, if you decide that you don't want that, it's your free choice.

Quote:
Remember that publishers exist for the authors, not the other way around. Why does an author need the publisher's permission to publish?
Permission? What on Earth are you talking about? It's YOUR choice whether or not to publish your book through MobiPocket. If you don't want to - don't. Nobody is forcing you to.


Quote:
But getting back to the topic that we've strayed so far from...

When I buy a pBook, I have certain rights. Among those are the right to re-sell the book - or in other ways transfer ownership to someone else.

If I buy a pBook on Amazon for $15 and after reading it I decide that I probably won't re-read it, I can re-sell that book and get something back for it.
I can also give that pBook away to someone else.

On the flip side, if I really like that book, I can put it on my bookshelf and in, say, a year, pull it back down and re-read it.

If I get a DRMed eBook, things are very different. I am barred from transferring ownership. So the "residual value" of the book is gone. I pay $15 for the eBook and don't like it, then I'm stuck. I can't get any money back for it.
<shrug>

Suppose you go to the cinema, and don't like the film. Do you expect to get your money back?

Yes, eBooks are different to paper books, nobody's denying that. But nobody is forcing you to buy an eBook - if you'd prefer to buy a paper book, go ahead and doing so. It's a free market - the customers will ultimately decide whether or not the business model works.

Quote:
If the eBook is DRMed or in a closed format, then I may not be able to pull it off my "bookshelf" a year later and read it. Either the key for the DRM may no longer work, or my current reader may not support the format, or the format may be no longer supported.

The bottom line is that a DRMed eBook, or a closed format eBook, is a 1 shot read. It's disposable. The expectation is that the eBook will be priced accordingly.

Fair market value (as set by the local library): $0
Since libraries only have a limited number of copies, we can raise the price a little for the service of immediately borrowing a copy from the eBookstore. The price as set by iTunes: $0.99.
In your dreams .
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:59 PM   #42
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Yes it does. Why should I have to ask MobiPocket's permission to publish an eBook? While it's free today, it might not be free tomorrow.
When you convert a book to mobipocket format using their freely available software, you have a few choices.
  • No Encryption
  • Encrypt (Prevents from ripping books to source text)
  • Encrypt with Password (Forces you to use a password to read the book)
  • Encrypt with DRM (Use Mobipocket's standard DRM scheme.)

Mobipocket's DRM server software is freely available as well I believe. You can use the mobipocket format without depending on the company for anything but the software (a one time download).
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:23 PM   #43
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I'm sorry, but you've entirely lost me. You have a completely free choice as to whether or not to publish your book through MobiPocket. It you decide to go with them, you use their publishing tools. Nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying "you must publish your book through MobiPocket". If you want to set up your own web site and do it yourself, go ahead.
If you will go back and read the messages, you were the one who bought MobiPocket into the picture. I simply used it as an example.

To sum up the argument:
When a single entity owns an eBook format, you must ask permission of that entity to publish an eBook in that format.
If that format becomes the dominant format, the company ends up controlling what can/cannot be published.
Therefore, closed formats are bad for eBooks and consumers.

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Suppose you go to the cinema, and don't like the film. Do you expect to get your money back?
Poor counter-example.

If the item you purchased at WalMart doesn't meet your needs, WalMart doesn't prevent you from selling that item on eBay to get something back for it.

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In your dreams .
In your nightmare. You keep complaining about piracy. That's what happens when the legal alternatives provide poor value.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:24 PM   #44
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When you convert a book to mobipocket format using their freely available software, you have a few choices.
Show me where I can get a non-MobiPocket (company) program that creates MobiPocket content.

Until you do, there is no choice.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:37 PM   #45
NatCh
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Posts: 11,605
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Republic of Texas Embassy at Jackson, TN
Device: Nook STGR
Seems to me that once Mobipocket releases a content creator for their system into the wild (which they've done), they can't really control who makes what using it. They can stop distributing the maker, they can stop distributing the reader, but they can't make the existing copies of either go pfft!
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