The eBook Test blog
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Digital Rights Management -- commonly known as DRM -- is a hindrance to full-ownership of digital media. 1) It prevents buyers from placing digital media on any compatible device they might own 2) It restricts the number of owned devices such media may reside on 3) It often restricts the kind of device digital media may be placed on. For example, only Kindle-format eBooks can be read on a Kindle eBook reading device. 4) It leaves buyers at the mercy of DRM servers and DRM schemes which might not persist through the full-lifetime of the purchaser. 5) It is antithetical to the entire definition of "purchase." DRM at its worst redefines "ownership" to "ownership at-will." 6) DRM is against the tide of history. Just this week, Apple announced DRM-free music on its iTunes Music Store. This is the way and wave of the future. 7) DRM prevents universal adoption of digital media due to problems with authentication and restriction on types of devices used. 8) DRM is often a way for a company to employ monopolistic practices. It has been said that MobiPocket -- an eBook vendor owned by Amazon -- will not license its technology unless it enjoys sole DRM presence on a device. This is Restraint of Trade because we have had devices -- Palm PDAs and Pocket PCs -- which could simultaneously employ MobiPocket *and* other DRM schemes. 9) DRM is an annoyance to legal purchasers and merely a ridiculous challenge to the technically adept. So far, there has not been a single DRM scheme that has *not* be broken. DRM is not in the best competitive interests of the United States technology industry, not in the best interests of fostering digital goods, and not in the spirit of what is universally and traditionally known as purchase "ownership."