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Old 07-06-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
bigtext
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The intersection of DRM, fair use, and ereader device spying

A comment made by Mr. Ploppy in this thread caught my attention. Imagine the scenario where you own a Nook and have purchased hundreds of dollars of epubs from Barnes and Noble. At some point in the future you are in the market for another e-reader and decide to purchase a Kindle. What do you do with the epubs you purchased from Barnes and Noble? This is where the advice I so often see comes in to get Calibre, add the DRM removal extensions, convert the epubs to mobi format, and transfer the converted files to the Kindle.

The question in my mind becomes does Amazon (or flip the scenario around to any other company with a reading device that connects to the cloud) keep track of the fact that there are books on your Kindle device that don't have DRM on them that should? I'm not saying there is anyone actively monitoring what you do in the moment, but simply creating a permanent record via electronic databases that can be retrieved at any point in time in the future.

Would Amazon be interested in this from the perspective that they expect customers to buy ebooks from them in order to make up for selling their hardware below cost? A customer buying from Kobo or Google, breaking DRM, and converting is not good for the business model they set up. Amazon may avoid confronting customers for PR reasons, but maybe an aggressive publisher concerned about piracy would sue Amazon for access to the data? The private decision to use Calibre to remove DRM, may ultimately be public due to the fact that these devices do spy on their users?
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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It's quite simple. The more power you give corporations by docilely doing as they tell you the more the chances of them wishing to control what you do and don't do, have and don't have. Which is why people take power back into their hands by removing DRM or sharing files on the net.

If they had their way, all the way, we'd all live in a "1984 Big-brother-is-watching-you" type of society where they would know what you are doing, all the time.
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Quexos View Post
It's quite simple. The more power you give corporations by docilely doing as they tell you the more the chances of them wishing to control what you do and don't do, have and don't have. Which is why people take power back into their hands by removing DRM or sharing files on the net.

If they had their way, all the way, we'd all live in a "1984 Big-brother-is-watching-you" type of society where they would know what you are doing, all the time.
So true.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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Breaking DRM is the coward's way out. Exercising self control in not purchasing DRM'ed eBooks is where the true consumer power is.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WillysJeepMan View Post
Breaking DRM is the coward's way out. Exercising self control in not purchasing DRM'ed eBooks is where the true consumer power is.
It is not that simple. Most eBooks I would want to read come with DRM. So stripping the DRM is what I do.

Also, it is not quite possible that stripping DRM has become legal. John Scalizi's eBook of Redshirts was supposed to be sold DRM free but some online stores botched it and sold it with DRM. On his blog, John posted to get the tools and go strip the DRM. Given that he OKed DRm stripping, that may very well have made stripping DRM and/or owning the tools nice and legal.

Last edited by JSWolf; 07-06-2012 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WillysJeepMan View Post
Breaking DRM is the coward's way out. Exercising self control in not purchasing DRM'ed eBooks is where the true consumer power is.
What a nice easy blanket statement. Why should I deprive myself of the books I want just because of DRM? I paid full price for them, they are mine to keep forever. And the only way to do that is to strip the DRM so that I can put them on any reader or tablet that I own regardless of what the publishers or Amazon, Apple, and B&N want.

And what they want is to lock you into their stores forever. I refuse to be held hostage by any of them!
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #7
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A couple of observations by me:

i) can the cloud owner 'look into' your file base with them? If it is part of their TOS that they can look into your deposits, then I would be very wary of placing anything with them.

ii) if there is no legal entitlement to the cloud provider to look into your file storage without proper legal intervention, eg warrant, then no-one should know what's been stored.

But hey, irrespective of the TOS I'm sure that the cloud provider would be running some sort of check to ensure that porn or paedophilia type stuff isn't being stored.

Of course, the cloud service could by 'mischance' lose your stored material and then you're up the creek if it's your only data copy.

I don't like the idea generally of keeping info on someone else's server ..... it's easy enough to use an external hard drive, usb stick and sd cards to keep a copy of your stuff, imo.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:42 PM   #8
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quexos View Post
If they had their way, all the way, we'd all live in a "1984 Big-brother-is-watching-you" type of society where they would know what you are doing, all the time.
Do you mean to imply that we're not?
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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Exactly. We're at least three quarters of the way there already in terms of constant surveillance and we've submitted to it perfectly willingly. In terms of the 1984 police state I guess it depends to a greater degree on where you live.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:52 PM   #11
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Would Amazon be interested in this from the perspective that they expect customers to buy ebooks from them in order to make up for selling their hardware below cost?
My guess, and it is no more than that, is that Amazon does not scan my Kindle to find out what is on it for reasons of legal liability. Suppose they have in their database the fact that someone has child pornography, and didn't do anything about it. Could lead to liability. In other countries, there might be laws against bombmaking books, or Nazi books. The easiest response to a court order to find out what is on a customer's Kindle would be to truthfully say that they don't know, and don't have software in hand designed to do that job.

Of course, even if they don't keep a database of all my books and articles today, that could change. The question of whether to go after pirates who store their booty on their Kindle has to be one that gets revisited from time to time.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:20 PM   #12
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Exactly. We're at least three quarters of the way there already in terms of constant surveillance and we've submitted to it perfectly willingly. In terms of the 1984 police state I guess it depends to a greater degree on where you live.
Throw away your cell phone, GPS navigator, and all of your credit cards; disconnect from the grid, bust the OnStar (or equivalent) in your car, unplug your land line, cable and internet. Change your name and move to Walden Pond, and hope that your new neighbors don't know who you are.

And you might escape notice for a week or two. Oh yeah, don’t forget to make sure you have your Government approved health insurance, or the IRS will be coming looking for you!
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:51 PM   #13
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Oh yeah, don’t forget to make sure you have your Government approved health insurance, or the IRS will be coming looking for you!
It's gonna be a long campaign season
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:12 PM   #14
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My guess, and it is no more than that, is that Amazon does not scan my Kindle to find out what is on it for reasons of legal liability.
I'll be Amazon does, because Barnes & Noble DEFINITELY does this. I've received recommendations based on side-loaded books on my Nook...
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
What a nice easy blanket statement. Why should I deprive myself of the books I want just because of DRM? I paid full price for them, they are mine to keep forever. And the only way to do that is to strip the DRM so that I can put them on any reader or tablet that I own regardless of what the publishers or Amazon, Apple, and B&N want.

And what they want is to lock you into their stores forever. I refuse to be held hostage by any of them!
Who held a gun to your head and forced you to buy DRM'ed ebooks?! You bought a DRM'ed book knowing that it was locked into that particular store. That's the agreement you entered into when you made that purchase. Why you feel entitled to modify the terms of that agreement after-the-fact is puzzling to me.


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It is not that simple. Most eBooks I would want to read come with DRM. So stripping the DRM is what I do.
It IS that simple.

. . . . . . . . .

In a so-called free market, supply and demand help shape the products being sold. If people buy products in spite of the fact that those products don't suit their needs (ie. non-DRM ebooks) then there is no incentive for companies to do anything different.

By purchasing a DRM'ed ebook what you are saying is that the DRM issue has a lower priority than the ebook format. In these instances, the presence of DRM was not enough to prevent you from spending your money.

I dislike DRM'ed media. I'm not a criminal and I don't like being treated like one, and I'm certainly not going to pay for the "privilege" of being treated like one. So I don't buy DRM'ed media.

But unfortunately, many of the people who feel the same way about DRM, buy DRM'ed media anyways and then strip it away... which undermines the power of the consumer.

Having said that, I know that my opinion is in the minority.
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