OK. Jon Noring and I have made it clear. We’ll have DRM in OpenReader for interested publishers–and let the marketplace sort out the issue. Many smaller publishers actually hate it. But if Random House loves DRM, we’ll allow it and do our best with the implementation–just so book-buyers can vote in the end. We’ve got a top network security expert ready to work on this.

In this blog today, guest contributor Scott Redford, owner of Diesel eBooks, eloquently passes on a retailer’s perspective on the complexities here, and we want to be responsive.

At the same time, it’s important to remember the anti-consumer potential of the technology–the subject of lawyer Michael Geist’s column in the Toronto Star. The title is “‘TPMs’: A perfect storm for consumers,” with TPM standing for “Technological Protection.” But whose protection?

HP among the hoods

Especially scary is Hewlett Packard’s use of DRMish tech to regionalize printer cartridges so they work only on printers sold in the States but not elsewhere–or perhaps vice versa. A little “divide and conquer” to gouge consumers with? Perhaps one more way for CEO Carly Fiorina to make up for the botched Compaq merger?

John Edwards, for all his pro-consumer, pro-populist rhetoric, never would take a stand on the the DRM-linked DMCA even though he sat on just the right Senate committees. Did campaign contributions shut him up? Anti-competitive DRM could cost the U.S. public billions.

Coming: A Canadian DMCA?

Oh, and then there’s the possibility of a Canadian version of the DMCA. Meanwhile the usual nasty free speech issues arise from DRM. CBS, for example, as part of Rathergate, released a DRMed document that would not let Net users electronically copy and paste sentences.


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