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Old 04-10-2012, 04:06 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
What prevents someone from downloading an ebook, stripping the DRM, and giving a copy of it to his/her friends (or half the Internet) now? So, nothing new here.
Under the current system, someone paid for that book. Maybe the downloader who bought & stripped the DRM, maybe someone else who bought the ebook, maybe someone who bought the physical book & scanned it. Currently, most copies are related to a paid copy somewhere. (A few are related to review copies.)

Also: publishers are not going to accept the argument of "well, it's no more insecure than current DRM, so you should do it this way."

The system we are using now penalizes all purchasers, always. My scheme would be an improvement.
The current system requires purchasers to be aware of what they're buying. Also, some venues have return options--Amazon allows returns of ebooks (although it's possible that too many returns will get one's account frozen) as well as physical products, and any purchase made through a credit card can be reported as inadequate and a refund will be authorized. The current system requires buyers to jump through some hoops to get their money back.

And I am beginning to think that to get any real innovation from the existing companies, the only solution is probably using the law to push them. (Which of course opens the way to another set of problems.)
No, the solution is to find a new business model & get some companies to use it successfully. Any system that requires total buy-in from all forms of business is demanding restrictions on commerce that the US doesn't allow.

If it's viable in an open marketplace, all you have to do is convince a business to try it. Plenty of new startups are looking for innovative methods to get customer support.

Maybe the key to the issue could be that you get an inferior quality version of the content unless you either confirm the purchase or the exchange window expires, and only then you get the full quality version to keep.
Say, (shabbily formatted) pdf instead of epub for books; low-bitrate MP3 instead of flac for music; low-resolution video instead of full HD for video. Something like that.
Badly-formatted PDFs (or for that matter, well-formatted PDFs) are mostly unreadable on ereaders. I can't find out if the story is of a quality I'd pay for if the text is running off the end of the screen, or the lines are overlapping, or the words are too small to see.

You can't use a bad version of a product to convince people it's worth buying the good version.

This is another issue that requires work. Maybe (I'm making this up on the fly, it really needs more thought) the "preview copy" could actually be not a downloaded file, but an online "page" that you get an access to when you make your purchase, and that is common to all sellers of that specific work.
If it requires total participation, it's a plan for failure. Who's going to pay for this preview page? Who maintains the servers and the software? What's the buy-in cost for a small business that wants to use it? Who gets access to the *data* of which customers access what content?

[quote]It would be easy (and would not entail privacy risks) to forbid multiple accesses to the same "page" from the same IP address, if not sufficiently spaced over time.[quote]

"Not from same IP address" means "not from library computers," and "multiple family members can't have different accounts."

I have to think more about this one. Fortunately the solution is not required to make cheating impossible; it only needs to make it sufficiently awkward that 98% of people prefer to buy instead. Ideas are welcome!
For it to work, cheating has to be difficult (hence, ability to scam the system via proxy servers is not relevant; most people can't & won't bother), but it also has to be difficult or at least a hassle after the methods are known--if you can make a Firefox plugin that taps into a proxy server to get access as a new IP address, that's removed the difficulty.

A book preview that used, for example, Google's book viewer, would be difficult to scam... but someone would make a plugin that did series of screencaps to be sent to OCR. The only reason it's not done now, is that you can't get access to whole non-PD books for free.

There is no such thing as streamed content. There's just "content that's only copied to a temp folder on your computer, attached to software that tells it to delete very quickly." Which means all it takes is interrupting the "delete" message, and getting access to the temp area, to get a permanent copy of the content.

And the more popular and widespread the commercial system is, the more incentive to find a hack for it.

For it to be accepted by businesses, they need to believe it's more effective than the current DRM system. They're not going to pay for anything more buggy than the current setup. Also, you'd have to convince them that this would get more sales than the current system--that people wouldn't be more prone to scam returns than they are right now, or that they'd be so overwhelmingly in favor of this system that they'd buy more stuff.

And they won't. People have limited entertainment budgets; they might shift *types* of entertainment based on advertising or customer service features--might buy books instead of games if they're easy and fun and risk-free--but only if they don't feel they need the other kind of entertainment more.

I will not be buying more albums or movies regardless of how amazing the sales system is; I have more than I have time for now. I *might* buy more books... but that's also unlikely; it's more possible that I'd switch my buying from one company to another.

You're describing an awful lot of complex infrastructure which, yes, would be nicer for consumers, but doesn't seem to bring any benefit to manufacturers. Why would they bother? Consumers are not currently boycotting any particular businesses en mass based on a lack of returns policies. You're trying to fix a problem most people don't believe exists.

I like to reread my favourite books every few years. But I would NOT like to be forced to cram all the (re)reading within 24 hours!
I read fast. Most books are less than a day's reading for me, and that's at a comfortable pace. 50,000 words between lunch and dinner isn't marathon-cramming for me, it's how I spend my weekends when I don't have other plans.

Downloading a book in the morning that I'd have to return before midnight to get it free sounds like an excellent "free books forever!" plan for me.
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