TeleBloggers speak out against DRM rip-offs—and Cory Doctorow reports yet another one
November 8, 2007 | 4:53 am
Good, healthy distrust of DRM showed up in the TeleBlog yesterday, with not a single soul countering the spirit of Paul Biba’s excellent post asking, "What’s on your reader? And what DRMed books are in your e-collection, and why?"
At the most, I suspect, I’ve bought no more than a dozen or so DRMed books in my years of e-booking, and that includes a Mobipocket dictionary. Among my "protected" works are those purchased for work purposes (such as The Agent, giving me insights into the publishing industry) and books that are just plain fun (The War of the Roses, for example).
DRM as an accidental promoter of classics
I might break discipline more often now that I’m blogging for Publishers Weekly and need to get even closer to the commercial scene than I had been. But I continue to agree fervently with a point that Joseph Gray and Bookwise made—namely, that DRM is a great way to drive us to the public domain classics, blessedly nonencrypted, at least if they’re not Sony-style oldies.
While I believe that the IPDF should try to develop a DRM standard if publishers insist, I’d advise these houses to beware of competition from rivals with a smarter ‘tude.
Why we’re angry: Another example of DRM horrors, via Cory Doctorow
As if to vindicate the wisdom of TeleBlog commenters, Cory Doctorow has reported yet another DRM rip-off, which, though not involving e-books directly, reminds us of the perils of the technology for consumers, readers, whatever: "Allan Wood (a baseball megafan who has written a book about Babe Ruth) purchased over $280 worth of digital downloads of baseball games from Major League Baseball, who have just turned off their DRM server, leaving him with no way to watch his videos. MLB’s position is that since these videos were ‘one time sales,’ and that means that Wood and everyone else who gave money to MLB is out of luck — they’ll never be able to watch their videos again,.
"MLB shut down the DRM server because they’ve changed suppliers, and now they expect suckers to buy downloads of games in the new DRM format. Anyone who does this needs their head examined—using DRM itself is contemptible enough, but using DRM this way is just plain criminal."
As the Gemstar debacle shows, with its mix of DRM and eBabel, e-book fans are hardly safe, especially when they upgrade to new machines that may not work with old e-reader software.