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Old 01-29-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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FutureBook - More on DRM

Now if only publishers would wake up and follow the watermarking idea if they really have to do something. That makes far more sense than DRM and I'll gladly live with that.

More on DRM

Quote:
"DRM can encourage piracy", Duke University

After 4 years of DRM-free music, the industry has now enough data to be able to work out what impact the removal of DRM has had on the market and on piracy. Recent research from Duke University, reported by Wired last October, argues that DRM actually encourages piracy as it penalises honest users (the 'good guys').The dishonest ones (the 'bad guys') are not really affected by DRM because they exchange files which are not protected in the first place and can enjoy a version of the ebook/music/video without all the restrictions that come with DRM.

Analysis from Enders, a UK based media research company, shows that the revenues for music publishers kept on growing when DRM was removed (see chart above). Revenues declined after the credit crunch in 2009 but are now recovering and growing again.

DRM is not the cure (#DRMIsNotTheCure)

Looking at the data and considering the side effects, it appears that DRM not only is not the cure to piracy but it's actually causing some pretty serious 'collateral damage'. Here's a few of the undesired side effects which could be attributed to DRM:

· Can encourage piracy and at least does not seem to prevent it

· Can help incumbents lock-in customers inside non-inter-operable silos (read a good piece by Cory Doctorow on this point)

· Reduces the perceived value of an ebook due to the number of heavy restrictions (making the ebook inferior to the paper book)

· Reduces competition as vendors don't have a truly inter-operable solution

· Reduces innovation as the locked down nature of DRM'ed ebooks removes the flexibility necessary to develop new ideas

· Increases the cost of ebooks (the DRM cost is on top of everything else)

These are quite striking side effects. If DRM was a medicine, I would hope the MHRA would not approve it.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Watermarking ebooks seems to have a lot of advantages over DRM. If a book ends up on the net the publishers can trace the watermark to the origional buyer and have questions for him about why it is there.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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People noticed DRM restrictions on mp3s because they have multiple devices they want to play them on. With ebooks that isn't really the case, and is unlikely to be any time in the future, mainly because most people only read them once and only ever buy from the official site registered with their device. DRM on ebooks is annoying to advanced users, but pretty much transparent to everyone else. And without any major consumer uprising against it, I can't see it ever being removed. The distributors make far too much money from gullible publishers telling them it will help combat piracy to remove it voluntarily.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Watermarking ebooks seems to have a lot of advantages over DRM. If a book ends up on the net the publishers can trace the watermark to the origional buyer and have questions for him about why it is there.
Until you install your watermarking removal plugin...
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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watermarking could also be broken into and forged...
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by spindlegirl View Post
watermarking could also be broken into and forged...
As could any DRM scheme. Watermarking would just be a far less intrusive option and won't cause undue hassles for legitimate buyers, unlike DRM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:02 AM   #7
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Watermark was a widely discussed thing in the 90's for digital photos and pdf . Pretty sure it was mostly abandoned in widespread usage, but I have seen it on photographers websites so could be wrong there.

A watermark would be pretty trivial to remove IMO, so not a deterrent to a large scale knowledgeable pirates although it would allow the publishers to catch a few.

The big drawback that I see is in order to trace a book each watermark has to be unique to the purchaser. Each book would have to be processed by the seller, and while I am sure it can be done, how many sellers would want to do it. They could pay adobe to do it for them, as adobe has a lot of expertise in this area, but why would they switch if they are already invested in DRM.

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Old 01-30-2012, 11:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
People noticed DRM restrictions on mp3s because they have multiple devices they want to play them on. With ebooks that isn't really the case, and is unlikely to be any time in the future, mainly because most people only read them once and only ever buy from the official site registered with their device. DRM on ebooks is annoying to advanced users, but pretty much transparent to everyone else. And without any major consumer uprising against it, I can't see it ever being removed. The distributors make far too much money from gullible publishers telling them it will help combat piracy to remove it voluntarily.
The thing found so far, is that watermarkings, if invisible, are not removed. As long as there is nothing actually stopping them from using the files on another device, they just simply don't bother. O'Reilly has had DRM free, but watermarked, ebooks for years, and studies on them have shown that many watermarked copies have shown up online.

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Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
Watermark was a widely discussed thing in the 90's for digital photos and pdf . Pretty sure it was mostly abandoned in widespread usage, but I have seen it on photographers websites so could be wrong there.

A watermark would be pretty trivial to remove IMO, so not a deterrent to a large scale knowledgeable pirates although it would allow the publishers to catch a few.

The big drawback that I see is in order to trace a book each watermark has to be unique to the purchaser. Each book would have to be processed by the seller, and while I am sure it can be done, how many sellers would want to do it. They could pay adobe to do it for them, as adobe has a lot of expertise in this area, but why would they switch if they are already invested in DRM.

Helen
The watermarks discussed in photography were visible ones. It was pretty much culled due to astetics, and how easy it was for people to spot it, and crop it out.

And the watermarking would be done with similar systems as to what they have for DRM. Every single DRM'ed ebook you buy is specific to you. If I buy an ebook, and you buy the same exact ebook, my reader won't open your copy, and yours won't open mine. Every time DRM is put onto something, everything is encoded to only be unlocked by one specific key. For Amazon, that key is the PID (basically the serial number) of the Kindle that downloaded it. You have multiple kindles on the same account, books downloaded on one kindle will not work on another, despite all being linked to the same account. For Adobe's ADEPT DRM, the key is based on your account info, so each device that is authorized for your account has the key, while it is authorized (as soon as the device is deauthorized, it no longer has the key). It is trivial to make a system that encodes your information into the ebook, invisibly, when you buy it. They've already been doing it for a while, only difference is this time they don't do anything to stop it from working on nonauthorized devices.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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I don't like watermarking because I am highly nervous about the legal system and how ignorant a lot of lawyers and judges are about technical matters. There are many, many, MANY ways to steal or intercept a file from a computer or phone or eReader. If a copy of something I bought, embedded with a watermark that maps to me, gets out into the wild, I simply cannot prove that I've never been to MegaUpload or BitTorrent or wherever and that I don't know how the copy of my book got there. I feel like when it comes to piracy there's a presumption of guilt, and that makes me very nervous.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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I don't like watermarking because I am highly nervous about the legal system and how ignorant a lot of lawyers and judges are about technical matters. There are many, many, MANY ways to steal or intercept a file from a computer or phone or eReader. If a copy of something I bought, embedded with a watermark that maps to me, gets out into the wild, I simply cannot prove that I've never been to MegaUpload or BitTorrent or wherever and that I don't know how the copy of my book got there. I feel like when it comes to piracy there's a presumption of guilt, and that makes me very nervous.
This is what I meant by watermarking being easy to forge. That idea kind of makes me look at it wearing a tinfoil hat.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:26 PM   #11
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This is what I meant by watermarking being easy to forge. That idea kind of makes me look at it wearing a tinfoil hat.
Meh, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not right.

But, yeah, I mean, even if you rule out maliciousness, a lot of companies don't understand technology. Records are lost, stolen, or altered (accidentally or otherwise) routinely. Watermarking isn't immune to that, and it greatly concerns me. The only use for watermarking is to supposedly track and litigate. That single-use is highly compromisable from a security standpoint.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:49 PM   #12
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Watermarking ebooks seems to have a lot of advantages over DRM. If a book ends up on the net the publishers can trace the watermark to the origional buyer and have questions for him about why it is there.
Yeah, and then what? "I left my thumb drive in the computer lab. My car was broken into and my backup CDs stolen. My account was hacked. ..."
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #13
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People noticed DRM restrictions on mp3s because they have multiple devices they want to play them on. With ebooks that isn't really the case ...
It is, actually. There's my primary PC, the laptop, the iPhone and my dedicated reader. Then there's my wife devices, if she wants to read the book, too. DRM annoys the heck out of me.

Quote:
DRM on ebooks is annoying to advanced users ...
That's much of a consolation. No, really.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #14
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People noticed DRM restrictions on mp3s because they have multiple devices they want to play them on. With ebooks that isn't really the case, and is unlikely to be any time in the future, mainly because most people only read them once and only ever buy from the official site registered with their device. DRM on ebooks is annoying to advanced users, but pretty much transparent to everyone else. And without any major consumer uprising against it, I can't see it ever being removed. The distributors make far too much money from gullible publishers telling them it will help combat piracy to remove it voluntarily.
Uhm, that's not exactly true. With Adobe Digital Editions, you're allowed, what 6 authorized devices?

I have my phone, my ebook reader, android tablet, my desktop, and my laptop. I'm looking at getting a new laptop in the next few weeks. If I get a new reader, or a new phone, or decide to use my girlfriend's reader for something, I'm SOL. Not to mention, I'm a Linux user, and if I multiboot, each OS that I have ADE installed onto will eat up one of my spaces. My current laptop I have ADE installed on both Windows and Linux. Not all my books are on every device, but I have each authorized, in case I want to get a book using what ever I am using at the time. I am already at my max device limit, just on my own personal devices.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:34 PM   #15
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Uhm, that's not exactly true. With Adobe Digital Editions, you're allowed, what 6 authorized devices?

I have my phone, my ebook reader, android tablet, my desktop, and my laptop. I'm looking at getting a new laptop in the next few weeks. If I get a new reader, or a new phone, or decide to use my girlfriend's reader for something, I'm SOL. Not to mention, I'm a Linux user, and if I multiboot, each OS that I have ADE installed onto will eat up one of my spaces. My current laptop I have ADE installed on both Windows and Linux. Not all my books are on every device, but I have each authorized, in case I want to get a book using what ever I am using at the time. I am already at my max device limit, just on my own personal devices.
Yeah, I've already used up all my Adobe Digital Edition licenses. I own 4 computers, 1 smart phone (with multiple apps that eat up an Adobe license!), and 5 e-Readers.
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