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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

We are gathered to witness the death of DRM

The US Department of Justice's look into alleged eBook price fixing has thrown up an interesting side issue in the use of the despised DRM or digital rights management.

The industry say that DRM is used to stop people pirating eBooks but in truth in terms of piracy DRM is ineffectual, and all DRM does is lock users into one type of platform for using eBooks they have bought and paid for.

Imagine a situation where your CD's could only be used on a player supplied by the record company, or a book that could only be read using a lamp made by Random House - and that's pretty much DRM in a nutshell.

DRM exists primarily as a way to control how consumers access purchased content. A side effect of this is that DRM can be used to lock people into a particular platform or service. And the really insidious thing about this is that people are unaware that they are being locked into a platform or service. ZD NET
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Many people don't understand DRM but what it means is that if I buy an eBook from say Amazon, I can't then use it on my Sony eReader and quite often visa versa. I've no doubt that DRM will go the way of the dodo though - it always has in the past and Apple themselves removed DRM from music bought in their store when Amazon started selling DRM free MP3'S.

  "Amazon uses DRM to lock people in. If you later want to "drop out of Kindle, you lose all your books. eBooks without DRM technology are easily shareable between users, just like print books," and therefore, "books without DRM are more valuable to readers." 

It is estimated that within five years there will be  four billion media-enabled mobile phones on the market. That's an incredibly huge opportunity for content providers . These providers will not want the headache of numerous file types and for books will most likely settle on ePub which can be read across a number of devices and this will, of course, mean no DRM. So DRM, much misuderstood beast that it is, will eventually roll over and no longer trouble us, but while it remains it is causing problems and not for people who want to pirate eBooks, they have long found a way around DRM, but for organisations such as The British Library.

The British Library is continuing its campaign against the threat of digital rights management (DRM) technology to the management of UK cultural data.
The British Library is tackling the undefined nature of IP rights in the digital age, as embodied in UK law, with DRM implementations being increasingly unforgiving for libraries and public bodies.

Defective by Design are an organization fighting the use of DRM in all digital media and they have some interesting points to make on their website HERE.

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