DRM is to publishing as science was to Stalinism, says Cory Doctorow
January 31, 2012 | 9:46 am
By Paul Biba
My latest Publishers Weekly column is “Digital Lysenkoism,” a look at the bizarre internal forces that causes people who work at publishers to defend DRM, even though they know it doesn’t work.
I also recently chatted with a big-six digital strategist, who explained to me how his employer would soon be sending out all of its digital advanced reader copies (ARCs) as DRM-crippled PDFs. We shared a moment of incredulous silence at this. Most reviewers, after all, get hundreds of times more material than they can ever use. I literally get 100 books in the post for every one that I choose to review, and the idea that reviewers like me will put up with crippled e-ARCs that must be read at one’s desk or on one’s laptop, that we can’t load onto our tablets or e-readers, that generate all kinds of failures in the wee hours of the night, on weekends, or on airplanes when no one is around to offer technical support—well, it’s beyond absurd.
What will happen to these crippled e-ARCs, most likely, is that they will be ignored. This is exactly what happens to most DRM-locked screener copies distributed to voters for major film awards, like the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards. When you have 50 times more movies to consider than you could possibly watch, and when 10% of those movies require you to figure out how to connect a special player to your already overly complex home theater, well, that just makes it easy to exclude 10% of the load.
(Image: Lysenko with Stalin.gif, public domain/Wikimedia Commons)
[Reprinted from boingboing under a Creative Commons license]