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Old 04-08-2010, 10:15 AM   #1
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Will DRM on ebooks go the way of iTunes

Not sure how many people realized, but songs on iTunes can be purchased without DRM. Higher bit rate (better quality) a bit more expensive, I don't remember how much, and without DRM. Makes one wonder if all the yelling about DRM helped? And if so, will DRM on ebooks go the same route? Eventually just going away?

Just a thought!

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Old 04-08-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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I think pirating enabled music to do away with DRM . Music is/was relatively easy to pirate. Stripping DRM for music didn't seem that difficult. As a consumer, if you don't sell me what I want (DRM free music) than I'll just get it for free the way I want. That puts pressure on the producer to cave in and do away with DRM as well as provide better quality products.

I find it ironic that DRM was made to stop pirating but it appears that pirating is the reason that you can now find DRM free music being sold.

We aren't seeing that with ebooks because books are relatively hard to pirate since they are more difficult to digitalize/rip compared to music. So there isn't as much pressure for the publishers to get rid of DRM or even offer a good product. Look at all those poorly formatted ebooks out there for sale with all the typos.

The only way I see it happening is if people band together and stopped purchasing both paper and ebook versions of books whose ebooks are DRMed. If enough people dislike something and agree to stop buying the item for those reasons, companies will get the hint. Companies tend to listen when their profit margins fall. However, getting enough people to band together to do this will probably not happen so I believe DRM books will continue to exist for quite some time.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:50 PM   #3
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Books are actually quite easy to digitize. Scanner technology has really improved. The thing to keep in mind is that it only takes one person to digitize something to make it available for everyone. Of course, what some mean by pirate (anyone who makes a digital copy of anything) is a lot different than what most people mean by pirate (anyone who makes money on unauthorized digital copies.)

My guess is that DRM will disappear within a few years. Right now, there aren't any major ebook DRM formats that haven't been cracked, so really, what's the point.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:56 PM   #4
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I think it will eventually as the market grows.

If not, we'll at least see DRM that allows for lending, permanent transferring of licenses etc.

The current restrictive systems won't be tolerated once the market gets a lot bigger and the consumer voice has more power. Then there will be more companies getting into the e-book game and once one big one goes DRM free, the rest will follow as happened with Music.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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Books are actually quite easy to digitize. Scanner technology has really improved. The thing to keep in mind is that it only takes one person to digitize something to make it available for everyone.
I still can't agree with that. I don't know anyone who has scanned an entire book but I know quite a few people who have "ripped" music.

I'm not familiar with scanning a book using new technology but I just assume it takes longer to do than music and that it takes special equipment and might be filled with errors.

Ripping a song off a CD can be done with just about any computer out there today, it's fast and produces a pretty good copy.

Just a guess, but I believe a lot of the people who put the music illegally out there for free are student aged folks. A lot of kids rip and share their music making it widely available. I doubt the same is for books. Don't hear many kids or even adults talking about scanning books to share.

In terms of books, it's probably more difficult to find illegal copies of books that are not best sellers or technical guides. For music, you can find a lot of songs even though they aren't main stream.

I'm not sure DRM will go away as the market grows. Look at DVD's. The market is pretty large for those and DVD movies still have DRM. However, the DRM for movies is less restrictive and doesn't cause many problems for the consumer. For example, you can watch your DVD on any DVD player that supports that region. That includes DVD's in computers and game consoles so the DRM isn't so noticeable.

In my opinion, the DRM on ebooks are pretty crazy and I'm surprised that more people aren't upset by it. What drives me crazy is the number of different DRM's out there for the same format. For example, I think Barns and Nobles uses their own DRM on Epub's versus Adept Epub versus whatever Apple uses for their Epubs.

1 DRM scheme with 1 standardized format I can live with. 3 different DRM's on one format makes me want to abandon ebooks.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MerLock View Post
What drives me crazy is the number of different DRM's out there for the same format. For example, I think Barns and Nobles uses their own DRM on Epub's versus Adept Epub versus whatever Apple uses for their Epubs.

1 DRM scheme with 1 standardized format I can live with. 3 different DRM's on one format makes me want to abandon ebooks.
* Apple's format can only be sold to those who own devices which can read Apple's format, so it's more-or-less irrelevant at this point.

* B&N's new format is going to be supported by future mobile devices using Adobe Mobile DE.

* B&N's new format is arguably better than standard Adobe; rather than tying it to the Adobe account, it works like the old eReader one where there's a key based on name/credit card number. As long as you have those, you can use it on any future device supporting the format; no need to worry about activation like with MS Reader/old Adobe ePub, or servers still willing to issue you the book like Mobipocket.

It's frustrating, but I think that B&N's new DRM will eventually be for the better.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:29 AM   #7
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I don't know anyone who has scanned an entire book
The fact that you don't know them does not mean it does not happen.

If you know where to go, you can already now download more books than you can read in the rest of your life in just a couple of hours (and that's not just the Gutenberg stuff, but current titles). Scanning a book and correcting the OCR version takes a lot more time than ripping music, but distribution of the result is a lot quicker because of the smaller file sizes. People will re-upload what they found. So I expect it won't take long before all these books are as easy to find as your favorite music.

Let's compare to the situation in Russia. Over the years a number of online libraries have emerged there, giving access to well over 100,000 e-books, and some of them manage to stay up-to-date with the latest releases. The reponse of the publishers is that they sell e-books through legal shops for a price much lower than the p-book price, and without DRM. Why couldn't that happen here (in the US and in Western Europe)?
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:38 AM   #8
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Another interesting tidbit but about DVDs is now it's legal to rip your DVD to make a backup copy. I've purchased software that will do this for me. I've ripped them as a complete DVD, with all the menu's, subtitles, etc straight to my home server. I'm able to stream them to my TV, it looks and acts just like the real DVD.

Also, a DVD doesn't have DRM, you can give it to anyone and they can play it in their player...as long as they're from your country...so that's a bit different than ebooks.

It took iTunes/Apple years to catch on, I'm hoping for the same with books...although hopefully not having to wait as long.

Aaannndd.....I have several hundred (at last count) downloaded books in several different formats. All usable on my Sony...but I'm fussy and will convert them and clean them up so they look purty on my Sony!

Dave

P.S. The blue Sony 505 is still the fastest and bestest.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #9
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Another interesting tidbit but about DVDs is now it's legal to rip your DVD to make a backup copy.
Really? I find this hard to believe since DVDs do in fact have a copy protection mechanism (CSS) which would have to be cracked in order to copy them. Technically that's no problem but legally I think it's still a “valid” copy protection. At least in Germany it definitely remains illegal and seeing how the USA are whoring even more for the content industry (DMCA), I just can't believe that. Plus, some companies have tried to sell systems that do copy DVDs (like Real Networks and this hifi company Kaleidescape or something) in the past and all of them were legally forced to cease these products. Do you have any source for that information?
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:02 PM   #10
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Gotta love laws and sematics:

•In United States, it is legal for an individual in the United States to make a copy of media he/she owns for his/her own personal use. Fair Use grants you the right to make a backup copy of your media for your own personal use. But in the case where media contents are protected using some effective copy protection scheme, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to circumvent that copy protection scheme. This law makes it illegal to rip most commercial DVDs as they are typically protected by CSS encryption.

Sooo..it's legal to make a backup unless those who sell it to you don't want you to?

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Old 04-09-2010, 01:07 PM   #11
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Sooo..it's legal to make a backup unless those who sell it to you don't want you to?
It's legal to make a backup if you leave the DRM intact. The catch is that that's effectively impossible to create a copy at home with the CSS keys, as far as I know.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:46 PM   #12
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The fact that you don't know them does not mean it does not happen.

If you know where to go, you can already now download more books than you can read in the rest of your life in just a couple of hours (and that's not just the Gutenberg stuff, but current titles). Scanning a book and correcting the OCR version takes a lot more time than ripping music, but distribution of the result is a lot quicker because of the smaller file sizes. People will re-upload what they found. So I expect it won't take long before all these books are as easy to find as your favorite music.
...
Yep. I know at one time, there were tons of ebooks available on various news groups. I understand they have moved to other areas, but if you are interested and are willing to take the risk, they are easy enough to find. For that matter, instructions on how to build your own book scanner using cameras are out on the web.

My understanding is that a group of people will get together and crowd source the OCR and proofing of the books. If you take five different OCR versions of one page and compare them, you get a pretty clean text, so it's actually easier for the various ebook scanning groups to produce a clean copy of a book than it is for a publisher. Really, all you have to do is look at the Guttenburg project to understand how easy it is to scan a book and produce good copy when you have a team of people working on it.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:50 PM   #13
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The fact that you don't know them does not mean it does not happen.
But it does mean that it's not all that easy. Especially compared to ripping CDs which for years has just been put in CD, press an import button in iTunes and tons of other programs.

Most everyone I know has ripped a CD, no one has scanned a whole book. And I'd never scan a whole book as I'm not going to buy something that will do it, and I don't have the patience to do it manually, I'd rather just buy the paper book.

Book scanning has no doubt gotten easier, but I think it's going to far to say it's easy, or something that the average joe will ever do. Vs. things like ripping cds, dvds etc.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:13 PM   #14
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It'll be easier to do... once books are already in digital format. The more books available digitally, the easier the process of sharing them will be. Maybe that explains part of the reluctance of publishers towards seriously done ebook publishing.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:26 PM   #15
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IMO, music dropping DRM is currently the exception rather than the rule. Video games, movies, applications, DRM has persisted for years.

It could happen, but I don't think it's a given.
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