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Posts tagged cory doctorow

Kobo’s response to the WH Smith DRM situation
March 21, 2013 | 2:13 pm

WH SmithYesterday morning, we brought to your attention a rather unusual situation that had been taking place in the WH Smith e-retail store: Kobo e-books that were meant to be DRM-free had been listed on the WH Smith site as having digital rights management software added. Even books that had been authored by Cory Doctorow, perhaps the most vocal opponent of DRM today, were listed as having DRM installed. After contacting both Kobo and WH Smith and requesting statements about the situation from both, we heard from Kobo's Toronto-based media relations manager, René d'Entremont. And while his message wasn't exactly the picture of clarity,...

Updated: WH Smith adding DRM to Cory Doctorow books, and others’
March 20, 2013 | 10:28 am

WH Smith DRMCould there possibly be a modern author better known for his extremely anti-DRM stance than Cory Doctorow? Certainly not many, at any rate. But Kobo owners visiting the WH Smith e-retail store and attempting to buy Doctorow's books would be forgiven for thinking otherwise: They've all been saddled with digital rights management. (Scroll down for the incriminating screen shot.) The Bangkok-based author Simon Royle brought this truly odd turn of events to our attention this morning; if you happen to be a regular reading of the KBoards, you may have already seen the thread Royle created just after 7 a.m. this morning. "I was happy...

Check out my first-ever e-book reader!
March 14, 2013 | 4:26 pm

I mentioned earlier that it's been spring cleaning week here. Well, in amongst one of those random boxes of this and that, I unearthed this gem: my first-ever e-book reader! Back when I purchased this puppy for $50 plus shipping off eBay (a fortune!), it was 2005 and I was living in New Zealand for a year, doing a graduate program. The town I lived in was the fourth-largest in the country, but to my jaded North American city girl eyes, it was hardly a bustling metropolis. There were cows five minutes up the road from me. There was a sheep...

Book Promotion: What Works, What Doesn’t
March 5, 2013 | 11:02 am

book promotionThanks to Nate over at The Digital Reader for alerting me to this great blog post by author Lindsay Buroker. Buroker runs through a number of Amazon 'tricks' which, for various reasons, are losing steam as powerhouse author tools. Some tools, such as tagging and keyword manipulation, never worked that well anyway because people don't tend to search for books using those methods. Others, such as freebie promotions, are less potent than they used to be because of Amazon's restrictions on these practices. So, what was Buroker's perhaps surprising conclusion? She points out that authors should not lose heart when these things...

Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon and Publishers Misses the Mark
February 21, 2013 | 12:52 pm

According to the Huffington Post, three independent bookstores are filing a class action suit against Amazon and the "Big Six" publishers. Alyson Decker of Blecher & Collins PC, lead counsel acting for the bookstores, described DRM as "a problem that affects many independent bookstores." She said the complaint is still in the process of being served to Amazon and the publishers, and declined to state how it came about, or whether other bookstores had been approached to be party to the suit. "We are seeking relief for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores so that they would be able to sell open-source and DRM-free books that...

Our upcoming TOC 2013 coverage
February 12, 2013 | 12:39 pm

Author Revolution Day O'Reilly's Tools of Change for Publishing 2013O'Reilly's annual Tools of Change for Publishing conference just got underway this morning at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. And while we unfortunately weren't able to make it New York for the event's first day, we will be on the scene, tweeting and reporting live, throughout days two and three. Today's big TOC draw, of course, is the (day-long) event being referred to as Author (R)evolution Day, which may very well end up being considered a revolutionary event in and of itself; the focus is on independent authors and the swiftly-growing self-publishing scene. As the TOC site describes it,...

Games Workshop, self-publishing author battle over ‘space marines’
February 9, 2013 | 1:19 pm

spots-marineSelf-publishing has a lot of advantages and just as many countervailing drawbacks. The biggest advantage is, of course, you get to be your own boss and can publish whatever you want to, without some publisher taking a cut of the money. But the dark side of this freedom is that it can leave you vulnerable if some big company with money and lawyers decides it doesn’t like what you’re doing. And even if their claims are completely outlandish, it will cost you money you don’t have—more money than your book will ever make—to fight them, and you don’t have any guarantee...

Aaron Swartz suicide represents gross miscarriage of justice
January 13, 2013 | 8:33 pm

swartzOn Friday, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his apartment; he’d apparently hanged himself. Swartz was only 26, a brilliant and troubled young man who suffered from clinical depression, and also an Internet activist who spoke out and acted out in favor of making access to public information more free to everyone. He was a friend of both Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow. Swartz’s other accomplishments include RECAP, a tool that uploaded public-domain legal documents retrieved from the subscription-based PACER document record system into a duplicate free-access database. He was also reportedly involved in the early stages of...

My 5 Favorite Sources for DRM-Free E-Books, part 2 of 2
October 21, 2012 | 8:00 am

Smashwords logoFrom Part 1: I love DRM-free books! I know that for most people, DRM is an issue they might not think about often; if their books work, they’re happy. But for many more experienced e-book users, it’s an issue to care about. Unless, that is, you buy and read books that are DRM-free. The books referenced and linked to below can be kept forever, converted using free software such as Calibre, and read on any device you might own. But where to get them? Here are some of my favorite sources: 3. SMASHWORDS This is the Amazon of self-published books. Some genres are better represented...

Review: Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow
October 13, 2012 | 5:50 pm

Cory Doctorow Little Brother Pirate CinemaCory Doctorow—blogger, former EFF employee, and all-around Internet activist—has a new novel out. It's part of the Humble E-Book Bundle I mentioned a few days ago. It's also available for free, separate from said bundle, from his website. I bought the bundle, and also checked out the free version from the website, and figured it would be worth a review. Is it worth reading free? Well, for starters, sometimes it seems like Doctorow has this Jeckyll and Hyde thing going on. It's like there are two different Cory Doctorows who show up in his writing. Not so much "good Cory" and "evil Cory," but more...

The Humble Bundle finally does e-books
October 10, 2012 | 12:15 pm

You may have noticed I haven’t posted anything at The Digital Reader lately. It was a fun run, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Fortunately, Dan Eldridge was kind enough to extend an offer to me to write here again, and I’m happy to be back where I was for six years before leaving. Here’s to at least another six!                 And it’s almost as if current events were welcoming me back, because what should happen on the day of my return but one of the things I’ve been either calling for or predicting (depending on how much prescience you’re willing...

Salon Magazine still alive and kicking
July 25, 2012 | 7:57 pm

Digiday has a brief piece on beleaguered online magazine Salon. I remember the days, a dozen years or so ago, when Salon was the face of the future of online news media. It had many fascinating feature articles. It was where I first learned about the Palm Pilot, and began my ever-since love affair with e-books and e-reading which ended up bringing me here. I still remember the big to-do around 1998 when Salon broke the story of an affair House Judiciary Committee Henry Hyde with a married woman in the 1960s, as Salon founder/editor David Talbot wanted...

How DRM weakens publishers’ negotiating leverage with retailers
April 2, 2012 | 11:09 am

Images A post by Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing (reprinted under a Creative Commons License): My latest Publishers Weekly column is "A Whip to Beat Us With," which describes how publishers who allow retailers to add DRM to their products hand those retailers a commercial advantage to exercise over the publishers themselves. Jim C. Hines’s e-books are marketed both through a big publisher and solo. The books that were re-priced by Amazon were his solo titles—unagented, and unrepresented by a major publisher. As an individual, Jim has no leverage over Amazon. Not so Macmillan, which controls a much larger number of SKUs and has much...

DRM is to publishing as science was to Stalinism, says Cory Doctorow
January 31, 2012 | 9:46 am

20110131174000Lysenko with Stalin From boingboing: 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 ...

Cory Doctorow: The coming war on general computation
January 9, 2012 | 9:55 am

From TorrentFreak: In short, Doctorow argues that the copyright industry’s fight isn’t against copying, but against general-purpose computers. As more and more devices we buy are general-purpose hardware devices with custom software designed to make that hardware do certain things out of the box, that custom software that drives the device is also custom-izable software that lets the hardware be recoded and repurposed to do completely different things. Shortly, we’ll see basically every industry trying to crack down on the freedom to tinker, to keep the products they sold us in the same state as they were before we owned them. This...

Megaupload to sue Universal over video takedown; other media companies abuse Youtube ContentID on public-domain videos
December 12, 2011 | 12:07 pm

Here is another movie-related story (or a continuation of the same story) about YouTube rights abuses, with implications for all electronic forms of physical media (including e-books). In a follow-up to yesterday’s story about Universal’s allegedly fraudulent takedown of a Megaupload promotional video, Torrentfreak reports Megaupload has instructed its legal team to file suit against Universal over the matter. (One of my friends noted that, if Universal really did do what Megaupload accuses, it should also be liable for criminal charges of perjury.) It will be interesting to see what happens. Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow’s latest column in the...

Study shows small fraction of freemium buyers spend huge amounts of money
July 28, 2011 | 12:20 pm

put-your-money[1]I’ve touched on the “freemium” philosophy of giving some content away for free and charging for extras before, but here’s a post on AllThingsD with some interesting new findings touching on video gaming. It covers a study by Flurry, an analytics provider for mobile games on Apple and Android devices, on the spending habits of freemium gamers. (Found via Slashdot.) Of the people who play freemium games on iOS or Android devices, the study reveals, most will never spend money on the games at all—only 3% are likely to do so—but within that 3%, the average transaction is $14...

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