Rythan's Tech Commentaries

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Doctorow: DRM advocates are "the real pirates"

Doctorow: DRM advocates are "the real pirates"

13.10.09 Catherine Neilan

Publishers who continue to use digital rights management (DRM) or other methods to tie readers to a single e-book device, are "bent on the destruction of publishing" and are the "real pirates", according to Cory Doctorow, a keynote speaker at today's O'Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The author, activist and co-editor of the influential Boing-Boing blog urged TOC delegates to "restore ownership to books" and blasted publishers and rightsholders who continue to apply DRM to their content.

Doctorow said: "Digital licensing systems currently employed destroy the bond between the readers and the book."

He said that DRM was a "farcical" way to get money out of readers, adding that "there is no mechanism whereby a retailer of a [print] book can take it away from you", describing a system that this happens as "insane". Earlier this year, Amazon was the centre of controversy in the US when it remotely deleted Kindle versions of 1984 from customers' devices after the edition was added to Amazon's catalogue without the rightsholder's permission.

Amazon last week settled a lawsuit over the fiasco with a Michigan teenager—who had his Kindle notes deleted as well as his e-book—for $150,000.

Doctorow added that ownership was the "most valuable asset that publishers have" knowing that a book "is passed to kids or has come from your parents".

The third keynote speaker at TOC—the first of publishing's pre-eminent digital talking shops to take place in Europe—Doctorow sounded a note of optimism. He said: "The library of tomorrow will better than the library of today. Just stop believing that the pirates in your digital department are right."

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Posted via web from The Great Canadian Pumpkin


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