FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00775

Submission Number:
Gemma Dearing
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The DRM I come into contact with most frequently is on ebooks. I hate it. DRM forces me to use different software. It limits an ebook's accessibility. It leaves me vulnerable in the event a supplier switches off a DRM server, effectively stealing my purchase from me. It insults me and gives me, a paying customer, a *worse* product than I would get if I downloaded a pirate copy. I generally purchase ebooks from Fictionwise.com. [I have bought 324 ebooks from them and counting.] If I buy a non-DRM title, I tend to download it in .pdfformat. I used to prefer .lit format, but it was no problem to re-download my non-DRM ebooks in .pdfinstead of .lit when I made the switch. Similarly, if I buy an ebook reader or change my preferences again, I don't have to worry about my Multiformat book files. I can just download them again in whatever file type is most suitable. I bought a Book, not a File Format. When I purchase secure ebooks I end up having to use: a different file format, a different browser, and different software to read the ebook. DRM forces me into using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox and MS Reader instead of Foxit reader and forces me to have a Microsoft account. Fictionwise will not allow me to switch between different DRM file types if my habits or platform changes. Once I have downloaded a secure .lit file I am stuck with it, even if in future I am no longer able to open it. A DRM .lit file is burdened with the weaknesses of MS Reader. I can choose between three font sizes only. [People who need large print need not apply.] In fact, the re-sizing of fonts is unreliable in MS Reader. I have several ebooks which will not resize at all, and are stuck in a typeface I find too small for comfort. A DRM .lit file is actually more burdened than a normal MS Reader file. It has text-to-speech functionality disabled. Great: if the text is too small or I have other problems with vision or reading, I cannot even fall back on a robotic voice to access the content I legally purchased and paid for. The final insult is the issue of providers no longer supporting their DRM servers, or no longer allowing certain people to access files they paid for. Overdrive used to supply many DRMed ebooks to Fictionwise. With one month's notice they cancelled that relationship and stranded their paying, law abiding customers. There will inevitably be similar issues in the future. Imagine if I bought a book for a bookshop and it goes bankrupt in the credit crunch: I still have that book and can keep taking it with me each time I move house. If I buy an ebook shackled with DRM from a bookshop that goes bankrupt, or no longer cares to talk to me, next time I change computers I have lost it.