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Old 07-17-2011, 02:41 PM   #1
tho
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Arrow Just an idea: floating DRM

Hello,

nobody could give me an idea so far how to give a DRM eBook to somebody legally. From my point of view this is not an technical issue but an organising one. For example imagine a shop selling DRM content. When you buy a book just get a DRM for a specific time on a specific device, lets say a week. Than you can get an other DRM for the next 3 weeks or so. After finishing the book 2 weeks later you would give it your wife for reading but you have to wait one more week to let your DRM on your device expire. Than you order a DRM for 2 weeks (yes my wife reads twice as fast as I) for her device and later you give it as a gift to a friend. The friend should have also an account in this shop and you tell the shop to give all rights of DRM managing for this book to your friends account.
That could work but you depend on the shop and there are many shops. So I like the idea of a global DRM content hoster. Wherever I get some DRM content I put it there and download DRMs for specific periods for specific devices. That could be daily or even for hours and could be done totally automatically. Engineers know a kind of this as floating licence.

Any opinions or even better ideas?

tho
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
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This is not a technical issue. Everything you describe is possible, but the publishers would never want to do it, so they are not going to implement it. It doesn't benefit the publishers to allow people to resell or give away DRM content.

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Old 07-17-2011, 03:48 PM   #3
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If DRM is floating, it should still go down when you flush.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:54 PM   #4
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This is not a technical issue. Everything you describe is possible, but the publishers would never want to do it, so they are not going to implement it. It doesn't benefit the publishers to allow people to resell or give away DRM content.
Well said. DRM was never good at stopping piracy. It's just there to boost the death rate among sold copies and so ease competition against newly released books. The ever-growing copyright durations have the same aim. DRM is not about fairness, and I think it's a waste of time to come up with schemes that try to make it so unless there is some way of imposing them on the DRM imposers.
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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If DRM is floating, it should still go down when you flush.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:42 PM   #6
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Yeah.. if they could the publishers would gladly do away with the first-sale doctrine altogether.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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To me the ideal DRM would be one that 'mimics' pbook purchases. The book could be transferred from person to person indefinitely. Like pbooks though as it left one location and arrived at another there would be no trace of it in the originating location. Even if you took a disc editor to it and you would find no trace whatsoever.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:58 AM   #8
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In the software business, this is a license with a limited term. It will never happen with ebooks, at least, not in a way that's commercially successful. Those who want DRM, of any kind, will simply never do it in a way that isn't obviously inferior for the consumer. In other words, there's no point to a system where you can increase your use period for an additional payment, to be able to load it out, because it will cost exactly the same as the person you're loaning it to simply buying it in the first place. And there's no possible way it will ever happen in the real world in a way that costs less than the one-time payment, indefinite use arrangement we have now (theoretially, anyway, some DRM content has already been lost through companies closing up). Charging you more for the same thing is the whole point of DRM, after all.

And regardless of how true the above is or isn't, it's the public perception of DRM, and so long as it is, there will be publishers willing to cater to the market by not using DRM. And those publishers will continue to thrive.

For an example of how an idea like yours can fail, and spectactularly so, go look up the original DIVX (not the codec used today, the DVD-like discs).
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
To me the ideal DRM would be one that 'mimics' pbook purchases. The book could be transferred from person to person indefinitely. Like pbooks though as it left one location and arrived at another there would be no trace of it in the originating location. Even if you took a disc editor to it and you would find no trace whatsoever.
And that's simply not possible, and never will be. If the buyer can read it at all, it can be copied somehow.

(Not that there aren't some who would love to try. S.M. Sterling once proposed, on usenet, that the punishment for copyright violations should be automatic prison rape, and that he, personally, should be able to remotely examine ever computer hard drive at any time, without restriction, to make sure you're not ripping off his work. He was not kidding. For some odd reason, he stopped posting to usenet shortly after that.)
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:19 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=taustin;1663218]...If the buyer can read it at all, it can be copied somehow.

True I was just looking at it from a personal 'ownership' point of view. As for S.M. Sterling, some people just take life way to seriously. :-)
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:09 AM   #11
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:29 PM   #12
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If DRM is floating, it should still go down when you flush.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:49 PM   #13
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The Kindle DRM works similarly to what you have proposed. If you have multiple Kindles, all registered to one account, they can all read the same books. If you have a sister, for example, that you trust, you can let her deregister from her account, and register to yours, temporarily, to download a book.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:59 PM   #14
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nobody could give me an idea so far how to give a DRM eBook to somebody legally. From my point of view this is not an technical issue but an organising one.
The IEEE has a plan for setting this up, and they're working on the technical side of it. (It involves a registered "playkey" that can get handed off. Once you hand over the playkey, you can't get it back.)
Quote:
The basic idea of P1817 is as old as the first generation of DRM implementations: to approximate important characteristics of physical media products in the digital world, so that physical-world business models can migrate online. But P1817 follows a different approach to this goal than DRM systems have done so far. Briefly, it binds a “playkey” tightly to an encrypted content file, so that you have to possess the playkey in order to play the content (or more accurately, to decrypt a content key which unlocks the content). So far, so typical; but here’s the difference: a key identification and management scheme sits in the background and ensures that only one user can possess a given playkey at a time.
However, as mentioned, the big publishers aren't interested. Most of them don't allow ebooks to be loaned once for two weeks; they're certainly not going to agree to ebooks being exchanged or *gasp* resold, with profit going to someone other than the publishing house, just like used paperbacks.

Transferring legal ownership of digital files is a technical problem that the DRM-pushing world has no interest in solving. The main purpose of DRM is not to prevent piracy; it's to prevent casual sharing and loans-to-friends. The publishers are under the impression that they'll sell more books if people can't hand them to a co-worker when they're done reading. They believe that if you liked the book & talk about it at work, your co-worker will go out & buy their own copy if they can't borrow yours.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #15
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Well said. DRM was never good at stopping piracy. It's just there to boost the death rate among sold copies and so ease competition against newly released books. The ever-growing copyright durations have the same aim. DRM is not about fairness, and I think it's a waste of time to come up with schemes that try to make it so unless there is some way of imposing them on the DRM imposers.
DRM's aims and the reality are disconnected. Just as the people making the business decision and the people making the technology decision are disconnected.

The aim is to create a method of enforcing the sort of copyright limitations provided for by law, on digital content. The problem is that you can't trust the keys to the mansion to the guy who wants to rob it, yet with DRM, you must or the scheme flat out doesn't work. The end result is that you get DRM that flat out doesn't work at stopping a single pirate from stripping it and then putting it online, but it certainly places limitations (and then some) on most everyone else. DRM is what the publishers want.

Now, the people implementing the DRM and paying for that cost aren't the publishers! That's a problem right there. OEMs and the like will implement just enough of a DRM system to keep the publishers happy, and call it good. They are looking to minimize their engineering costs (which can get expensive), and they aren't invested in DRM themselves, so they do the bare minimum to keep their contracts with the publishers.

What this leads to is very simple DRM systems that lock down content much more than needed. Although it is certainly true that publishers don't seem to care about various uses of DRM such as lending, and are looking to maximize sales, not realizing that lending can spawn more sales. But an engineer isn't going to add consumer-centric features to DRM unless the customer demands it.

There's also the customer/company disconnect in that it's a lot harder to get feedback to the people making the decisions within larger companies these days. Those engineers get more direct feedback from publishers than customers, so it provides them a biased view of what the product should actually be like. I need to negotiate directly with a publisher to get their content, but I've got layers between me and the customer (retailers, wholesalers, customer service script-readers, project managers trying to filter overwhelming amounts of feedback, etc).

In this sort of world, DRM has very little realistic use. And systems to allow for lending/transfer/etc of a license is not exactly an easy problem. DRM already has dependencies on servers to run encryption and assign keys to users. To do license transfer realistically, you need a fairly hardy design that nobody is willing to invest in at this point. It either needs to be a central service which can get expensive (iTunes, Amazon, for example), or you need some way to verify that keys have been appropriately transferred and smashed, opening up more loopholes for pirates to exploit.
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