Tuesday, February 17

Why DRM Schemes Are Destined To Fail

OK, so I decided to try downloading an ebook from amazon.com instead of having them ship a bound package of pulped dead trees. Sounds great, right? No need to further clutter the apartment with another object; immediate access; instant gratification -- count me in.

Not so fast there, bub. I placed the order and... nothing happened. All last night, the file remained unavailable. This morning, the Digital Locker was still saying "Open order -- being processed." So I wrote to complain, and sure enough, the email with the download link came through just after I sent complaint. Doesn't it just figure? So I followed the download link. But the Adobe Reader software squawks an error message, saying that it couldn't contact the Adobe DRM (Digital Rights Management) Server, so my document is unavailable. So, as of the time of this writing, I'm still blocked from accessing my content. I just wanted to read Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own."

Note to all content providers and distributors: your customers don't want DRM. The customer is always right. And the customer doesn't enjoy being treated like a criminal. Just give us the data we paid for and stop trying to control how we use it. Focus on ameliorative measures for infringers, rather than preventative schemes. We're not all potential pirates. If you want to do business with us, you've got to chill out.

Now ask me if I plan to buy any more ebooks from amazon.com any time soon? Methinks there's a wealth of still-unread, public domain, classics over at Project Gutenberg.

That's all I wanted to say.

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