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View Poll Results: What opinion do you have for/against Watermarks as opposed to full-scale DRMs
Both are equally BAD. 37 25.17%
Watermark is better than DRMs. 108 73.47%
DRMs is better than Watermark. 1 0.68%
Both are equally GOOD 1 0.68%
Voters: 147. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-01-2012, 05:53 AM   #76
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tompe: I wouldn't want that kind of watermark. I wouldn't care about any added hidden extras, but would certainly end up making a small util to run through and remove the visible bits from the book.

I don't mind anything like that been placed within the copyright/contents/any of the pages leading up to the very first chapter, nor after the very last chapter. But within the story itself, even if it's just a footer now and then, I don't want it.

However, it would probably not stop me buying books that are in that form, because unlike with DRM it'd be easy to fix the annoyances yourself.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:20 AM   #77
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tompe: I wouldn't want that kind of watermark. I wouldn't care about any added hidden extras, but would certainly end up making a small util to run through and remove the visible bits from the book.
It is not disturbing since it is written in another colour (grey) that is harder to read so you will easily skip over it. You must have something visible to remind peope that the book is marked with the owners name.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:32 AM   #78
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It is not disturbing since it is written in another colour (grey) that is harder to read so you will easily skip over it. You must have something visible to remind peope that the book is marked with the owners name.
Yes, it's better to have a visible part to tell the customer.
But it's even better to have neither wartermark or drm.

Last edited by EowynCarter; 10-01-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:31 AM   #79
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Yes, it's better to have a visible part to tel the customer.
But it's even better to have neither wartermark or drm.
Absolutely.

But I think it would be easier to get Publishers (and e-retailers) to accept to "downgrade" to Watermarks than to No DRMs. It gives at leasty a modicum of "protection", while removing all the anti-formatshifting/long term preservation issues.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:00 AM   #80
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Yes, it's better to have a visible part to tel the customer.
But it's even better to have neither wartermark or drm.
I agree. It's but a small minority of people who go, "oh goody a book! I must upload this to my zillion friends!".

I like buying stuff where there is no complication. Watermark wouldn't affect me at all because it contains ZERO of the reasons I vehemently dislike encrypted DRM (for things I purchase personally). But yes, having no watermark at all would be ideal for my utopia. The principle being, that I, as a customer, am by default trusted to keep my product for personal use.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #81
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I agree. It's but a small minority of people who go, "oh goody a book! I must upload this to my zillion friends!".

I like buying stuff where there is no complication. Watermark wouldn't affect me at all because it contains ZERO of the reasons I vehemently dislike encrypted DRM (for things I purchase personally). But yes, having no watermark at all would be ideal for my utopia. The principle being, that I, as a customer, am by default trusted to keep my product for personal use.
It seems to me that the watermark would provide no real benefit to publishers and authors--I can't see that people who are inclined to upload books would stop because of it; they'll find a way around it, or they'll use fake accounts, or they won't much care. And it might be more of a privacy issue than DRM for the consumer.

Let's say that an author finds that Peter Pirate has been uploading the author's books. How is the author going to track down this guy without further identifying information? There might be a number of people with that name. And if there is further identifying information, isn't that a potential privacy concern?

Aren't some sort of usernames attached to the torrent uploads and shared files now? Can't someone whose copyright has been infringed attempt to track down information on who is behind those names now?
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:51 PM   #82
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Let's say that an author finds that Peter Pirate has been uploading the author's books. How is the author going to track down this guy without further identifying information? There might be a number of people with that name. And if there is further identifying information, isn't that a potential privacy concern?
Anyone doing watermarking is going to add in information that identifies the customer's account with the bookshop that sold the book. The bookshop will have details like CC number/address or Paypal account.

But I don't think that any watermarking would directly include personal data. The link to the bookshop account is sufficient.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:14 PM   #83
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Anyone doing watermarking is going to add in information that identifies the customer's account with the bookshop that sold the book. The bookshop will have details like CC number/address or Paypal account.

But I don't think that any watermarking would directly include personal data. The link to the bookshop account is sufficient.
Yes, the link to the bookshop account, and maybe even not as clear as that.
For example, bookshop identifier and order number could easily suffice.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:19 PM   #84
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Anyone doing watermarking is going to add in information that identifies the customer's account with the bookshop that sold the book. The bookshop will have details like CC number/address or Paypal account.

But I don't think that any watermarking would directly include personal data. The link to the bookshop account is sufficient.
OK, so that basic bookshop account info is going to be visible? Because unless it is, how does my hypothetical author find the specific pirate who's costing him money by uploading books? So now the watermark is going to say Peter Pirate got this book at Amazon. And then what? Author contacts Amazon and Amazon gives out personal information, just on the author's say-so? Amazon takes on the job of contacting Peter Pirate?

I really don't see it. My first impression was, yeah, fine, watermark, won't affect me, but the more I think about it, about how it might actually work, it looks like a recipe for trouble. I think there might be huge privacy issues with it.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #85
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OK, so that basic bookshop account info is going to be visible? Because unless it is, how does my hypothetical author find the specific pirate who's costing him money by uploading books? So now the watermark is going to say Peter Pirate got this book at Amazon. And then what? Author contacts Amazon and Amazon gives out personal information, just on the author's say-so? Amazon takes on the job of contacting Peter Pirate?

I really don't see it. My first impression was, yeah, fine, watermark, won't affect me, but the more I think about it, about how it might actually work, it looks like a recipe for trouble. I think there might be huge privacy issues with it.
First off, Some information will be visible such as "Book sold to Peter Pirate". Next additional information with shop/order number will be watermarked invisibly inside of the ebook.

Should Peter Pirate want to spread the ebook, he will have to get rid the ebook of it's visible and invisible parts.

If we suppose that some of them are removed, (but not all), and the ebook is torrented, Publisher will get the pirated copy, give it to the Watermark's creator, who will find out the shop and order number. With that, the Publisher can indeed go and see the reseller to ask for the customer's data.

Yes, it CAN lead to privacy issues , but no more than encryption-based DRM, which for all we know not only does restrict the legitimate uses, but also contains personal data, with EXACTLY the same privacy issues.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:57 PM   #86
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Something nobody's mentioned is that watermarks could allow legal transfer of ebooks. (Not duplication, transfer. I'm sure you know the difference.) Some method might need to be developed to record the transfer-or maybe they'd leave it up to the individual. Such things are common for other licenses. Sometimes the 'owner' wants to keep track of who's got the license (i.e. the transfer needs to be registered) and sometimes it only matters when something happens. In the latter case it's up to the users to keep their own records of the transfer-which often isn't done & can end up penalizing an innocent party. People rarely understand how important it is to keep transaction records.

One other point is the use of DRM by libraries. First, the essence of watermarking is that every 'copy' is unique in some way. There's no big trick about doing that so there's no reason why libraries shouldn't be able to apply their own watermarks to the copies they 'lend'. As with purchased copies this would allow re-lending. (I've often checked books out of the library for people who are handicapped. I'm not sure what would constitute a handicap for an ebook, maybe not having Internet? But I see no legal reason why I shouldn't be able to check out & 'return' an ebook for somebody else.)

Regarding privacy invasion, it's already there with almost anything you buy. The only way to avoid it is to pay cash-and even then some places ask for ID. (I actually had one place say they couldn't complete the sale without my name & address-but that seemed to be a limitation of their point of sale system since they readily completed the sale when I told the clerk to feel free to fill in their own name & address.) In both cases (watermarks or non-cash purchases) a court order *should* be needed to access the information-but no organization has been totally able to keep secrets so whatever is recorded you can expect it will get out. (Remember that not even the CIA was able to keep a Russian mole out. About the only place that I haven't heard of secrets leaking from is the NSA-and I expect that it's simply not hearing about it rather than not having happened.)
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:31 PM   #87
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IANAL but I would think that any form of watermark that discloses a customer's CC or banking information MUST be illegal...it probably violates any number of consumer protection/privacy laws or vendor agreements between CC processing companies and vendors.

I would certainly think such watermarks would open up the publishers to lawsuits for breaching customer privacy/banking laws.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:50 PM   #88
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IANAL but I would think that any form of watermark that discloses a customer's CC or banking information MUST be illegal...it probably violates any number of consumer protection/privacy laws or vendor agreements between CC processing companies and vendors.

I would certainly think such watermarks would open up the publishers to lawsuits for breaching customer privacy/banking laws.
Even if the watermark only discloses the bookstore where the book was purchased, I don't see how the bookstore has any right to disclose information about the purchaser in the absence of a subpoena. IANAL either, and possibly the existence of a copy of a watermarked book on a file-sharing site is enough to warrant the issuance of a subpoena, but ... wouldn't it all pretty drastic and time-consuming for everyone involved? And wouldn't it make it even sharing with a close friend or family member even more problematic than it is now, when you can just remove the DRM? An e-book that you innocently give to one person could end up being uploaded without your knowledge or consent, several steps removed from you, and yet you'd be the one accountable. That makes it worse than ever for the individual purchaser.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:30 PM   #89
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An e-book that you innocently give to one person could end up being uploaded without your knowledge or consent, several steps removed from you, and yet you'd be the one accountable. That makes it worse than ever for the individual purchaser.
I really don't see the problem. If you innocently give an e-book to one person and that book winds up on a file sharing site then they will come to you and you will tell them who you shared the book with and so on down the line until they get to the guilty party. Exactly how it should be. You will get off with a warning and the real offender can be punished. And yes, it would mean that people should not share their books with friends or family members they cannot count on to act responsibly. Another plus.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:13 AM   #90
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I really don't see the problem. If you innocently give an e-book to one person and that book winds up on a file sharing site then they will come to you and you will tell them who you shared the book with and so on down the line until they get to the guilty party. Exactly how it should be. You will get off with a warning and the real offender can be punished. And yes, it would mean that people should not share their books with friends or family members they cannot count on to act responsibly. Another plus.
You don't see a problem that someone can arrange to get your personal account information, accuse you of something you didn't do, and put you in a position of having to finger other people who may also be innocent? Really?
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