David Byrne: Kindle DRM means "you are f*cked"

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63 Responses to “David Byrne: Kindle DRM means "you are f*cked"”

  1. robcat2075 says:

    I remember a long time a go people were always quoting a study that said musicians had a natural aptitude for computers. But I’ve never met such a musician.

  2. Gilgongo says:

    I predict Gilgongo’s Law: As a discussion about ebooks grows longer, the probability of somebody giving an emotional defence of printed paper over digital delivery approaches 1.

  3. bunedoggle says:

    Vote with you wallet. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.

    Boycott DRM if it’s not for you. That’s what I do.

  4. Dave Faris says:

    How do we get Cory off this hobby horse of hatred?

  5. Pantograph says:

    I don’t know Dave, but having David Byrne ride that “hobby horse of hatred” makes the message so much more palatable.

    DRM does suck though.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Aw man, I love David Byrne and all, and he did sign my copy of True Stories on DVD back in the halcyon days of Windows XP, but he’s a bit off base on this one.

    DRM is only a trap for the unintelligent or unmotivated. I have no problems reading what I want on the Kindle. Between free Gutenberg Project books in Kindle format, to txt, .html, & .pdf files from across the wide world of the internet that I convert through Mobipocket Creator or other software. I haven’t had to buy a thing from Amazon yet. And the device works great.

  7. Anonymous says:

    @#40 Anonymous; “in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published” is the relevant clause. It isn’t a restriction on reselling the book, it’s a restriction on selling a stripped book, one that was reported destroyed to the publisher and not paid for. In many cases this is spelled out in the paragraph following the one cited.

    @#42 Anonymous; It took me a while to figure out that you were talking about vinyl analogue recordings. I disagree. I don’t miss the hiss, clicks, pops, or relatively poor signal to noise ratio of pressed vinyl analogue recordings. I also like the convenience of digital files. The compression and poor musical quality are features of the content, not the medium.

  8. a_user says:

    You buy the book not its ideas, in other words you pay for the container not the contents. Ever looked at the legal spiel printed inside a book? It forbids you from reselling, sharing or copying without the copyright owner’s permission.

    Now when the technology to mass produce a book means a printing press, it’s out of most people’s league, which means we’ve become accustomed to lending, buying second hand and photocopying, because the publishing houses didn’t feel this threatened their livelihood.

    However each one of us posses the technology to make identical copies, to the same quality as the original in almost limitless numbers.

    But the real agenda isn’t stopping copying, it’s simply the fear that people will realise they can make content of the same professional quality for themselves without having to agree to the publishers hoops. The fences and warning signs they put up all over their pastures are meaningless when people no longer care about the grazing they are trying to protect.

    Blogging is an excellent example, professional journalist bemoan the bloggers killing their industry. Blogging varies in quality but is an average blogger seriously less professional than say O’Reilly or Hannity who consider themselves journalists?

  9. Ugly Canuck says:

    I prefer actual books…even the bad ones are useful…in the outhouse.

  10. PaulR says:

    apoxia @3: “In New Zealand there are no e-readers on sale.”

    Um, you do have international mail in New Zealand, no? Or maybe courier service?

    Ognoglig’s Law: Eventually someone will say that ebook are definitely more pleasant to read than dead-tree books. And infinitely more pleasant to lug around (as David Byrne noted) than a stack of books.

  11. Cicada says:

    @41- You might not actually have to loan the thing– since Amazon’ll let you download a sample of the book, chances are good he can decide whether it’s worth buying a copy for himself or not.

    More amusingly is the minor tendency to offer the first book in a series for free, in the hopes you’ll like it and buy the rest.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @ #9 – sharing and reselling are not forbidden. At least not in the U.S.
    Google the first sale doctrine, and also look around for these things called “used bookstores”

  13. Geoffrey Sperl says:

    I hate to say it, but he’s wrong on a few, rather major, points.

    You do not have to go through Amazon via e-mail unless you have some sort of ancient computer with no USB, your USB ports aren’t working, or you simply don’t have a computer. Snag one of the Google EPUB files, throw it into Lexcycle’s Stanza, export it as a Kindle formatted file (probably .azw) and you have a nicely formatted, and free, ebook ready to be transferred via USB – no e-mail involved. You never have to buy a DRM’d file from Amazon.

    I can also say: The DRM is optional. I’ve played with Amazon’s tools. That means the publishers are setting the DRM for each book – Amazon is not (unlike Apple having required Fairplay) compelling the publishers to apply the DRM.

    As for telling what iTMS tracks are which: Turn on the “Kind” column in iTunes. The “Protected” ones are the DRM’d ones.

    Personally, I think Amazon is where Apple was seven years ago when the iTMS started – they are going to have to bow to the publishers’ whims until they can prove the publishers are being paranoid. And they will. People like Gaiman, and Stross, and Cory will be able to show they have a following, and still sell books, while giving copies away, allowing “unauthorized” transfers, etc…

  14. Anonymous says:

    with all respect to Mr. Byrne, he is also incorrect on the following point:

    ‘if you migrate to a different tablet (the forthcoming Apple one we hear so much about, for example), you are fucked. All the unread books in your Kindle library are stuck on what will eventually become antiquated technology.’

    I’ve been reading my kindle books on an ipod touch with the Kindle Reader App, and will continue to be able to read these books on alternate mac devices (most likely including the tablet) through this program.

  15. trebonius says:


    Also, it’s trivially easy to strip the Amazon DRM from the files and end up with an unencumbered MOBI that is useful on a wide variety of platforms.

    Really? Because I can’t find anything online about it. If the kindle drm was easy to remove I might actually buy some kindle books.

    Hmm. Looks like the scripts are slightly harder to find than when I grabbed them, but not impossible.
    They’re python scripts called kindlepid.py mobidedrm.py (and mobidedrm2.py). It’s fairly easy to find instructions on how to use DeDRM. Easier than finding the actual scripts.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Paulr @11: “Um, you do have international mail in New Zealand, no? Or maybe courier service?”

    Yes there is international mail to New Zealand but unless you have a US credit card (which requires a US address) your options for ordering are limited.

  17. John Joseph Adams says:

    I dislike DRM as much as the next guy, but I don’t expect that if you switch to the mythical Apple Tablet device that you’ll be fucked if you have a bunch of Kindle files–the iPhone can already read Kindle files (there’s a Kindle app), and so one would think that the Apple Tablet will have that same functionality, since one would assume it’ll have access to the same app store.

  18. Karlos says:

    Between the Nintendo DS & Sony PSP there are over 160 million potential ebook readers already out there.

    You’d think that Sony at least would use it’s download service to make ebooks easily available on their big screen portable (at 10.9cm / 4.3in about paperback width).

    Oh wait… they HAVE a more expensive ebook reader, guesss they don’t want to compete with themselves again.

    Of course last time they did that they lost the walkman crown to the iPod and Sony Music Entertainment crippled their electronics division.

    Nintendo & Sony should release a “good enough” firmware that supports ebooks on their portables, that’d get the market going!

    Doin’ it for the Kidz

  19. randwolf says:

    I think the bottom line is that the Kindle is part of an Amazon lending library. You don’t get anything like the rights and “affordances” you get with the purchase of a physical book. Paper books don’t suddenly blank themselves, for instance, return themselves to the store, or disappear when the publisher goes out of business or just decides that they don’t want you to have it any more. Now, if Amazon was willing to lower its prices commensurately, the Kindle, even with DRM, would be OK. You’d know you weren’t getting the same deal, and it wouldn’t be a problem. But that’s not where it’s at. Amazon charges as much for a Kindle document as it does for a paper one (sometimes it is less than the store price), and you get nowhere near what you get with a paper book.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Someone will build a DRM free cross platform reader for a reasonable price and elegant functionality. People will convert post and illegally download books. RIAA er, ah I mean the publishing industry will begin sueing torrent and newsgroup hosts then a company will begin offering books at closer to their real value with no DRM and everyone will be sort of happy.

  21. jccalhoun says:

    Also, it’s trivially easy to strip the Amazon DRM from the files and end up with an unencumbered MOBI that is useful on a wide variety of platforms.

    Really? Because I can’t find anything online about it. If the kindle drm was easy to remove I might actually buy some kindle books.

  22. gollux says:

    The Kindle Book Burner. Mmm, love the smell of burning bits in bondage. Pretty annoying platform from the get-go.

  23. digitalcole says:

    I’ve made the choice to not support DRM in any device. This started with music (I only buy DRM free music and usually only from independent sites or sites that us CC licensing). I see this naturally progressing to writers as well. If publisher and the industry choose to use DRM then they choose not to have my money.

  24. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    A User,

    Ever looked at the legal spiel printed inside a book? It forbids you from reselling, sharing or copying without the copyright owner’s permission.

    No it doesn’t. At least not in any of the books I own (or any I found on Google Books). It asserts copyright over the contents; says “All Rights Reserved”; and sometimes says things like “No part of this book may be reproduced, copied, scanned” etc.

    But it doesn’t mention lending or reselling. You are (possibly depending on what country you are in) allowed to lend books to your friends and resell them to a second-hand bookshop (unless you deny the existence of second-hand bookshops?).

    And in the US, the first sale doctrine guarantees you the right to lend, resell or even rent your books, unhindered.

  25. Gilgongo says:

    “Ever looked at the legal spiel printed inside a book? It forbids you from reselling, sharing or copying without the copyright owner’s permission.”

    I wonder how on earth we’re all going to work out the issues of copyright in the information age when people are so utterly confused about the existing situation. I’m not aware of any jurisdiction that forbids you from reselling or sharing a printed book.

  26. truballer2 says:

    yea i don’t support DRM either.

  27. DWittSF says:

    Perhaps Mr. Byrne should have put this all in a PowerPoint presentation to share…err.

  28. Anonymous says:

    You DO NOT HAVE TO PAY to convert text and other documents for use on the Kindle. I use my Kindle primarily for documents and have never paid one cent. You send it to your complimentary “free Kindle” e-mail account and then load the conversion with the USB (take off the electrical plug). Are people reading the literature when they buy their Kindles? A lot of confusion could be solved if they would do their homework. As for the DRM, I doubt that this was intentional – this is still an experimental medium. Everything is a conspiracy to people!

  29. Anonymous says:

    @ #3:
    You might want to check out the Eco Reader (http://www.ecoreader.com.au/). It’s not Kiwi, but it is an Aussie company, which isn’t too far. Also, supports a plethora of formats (a damn sight more than the, imo, rubbish kindle).

  30. Bloo says:

    The DRM issue, to me, always comes down to one point: How are creators to support themselves?

    Cory and others have shown that people _will_ pay for content even if it is available free. They pay for the convenience of receiving it in perhaps a different format, or with “value added” items like liner notes or high-quality illustrations, whatever.

    DRM does not seem to improve the ability of creators to support themselves and their families; instead it seems intended to support the income of those who would be middlemen and distributors of things.

    We are in the midst of a chaotic era, an era that is eliminating middlemen and distributors in many many areas (a friend used to distribute music equipment to music stores for companies – that is being eliminated because you can order direct from the company now via their web sites). We now have the ability to get content directly from the creators, over large distances, something we didn’t have before. The middlemen and distributors are losing their part of the income stream, BUT:

    We still need to make sure the creators can get by, else they will have to do other things to feed their families (Cory in red cape digging ditches is not a fun picture).

    How do we do that?

  31. Takuan says:

    since I haven’t yet: my sincere appreciation to all those with the work ethic and brains to keep chiselling away at DRM. My own contribution to the fight is to simply not buy the Kindle under their terms so far. Not a strategy for the long term since it is inevitable that the digital publishers eventually turn to the active suppression of printed books as the best means to sell theirs. Not in conspiracy mind you, things will just work out that way. They always do. It will just become too damned inconvenient and difficult to print paper books. Until then, my salute to all who work to keep words free.

  32. bentrafford says:

    (EPub is being touted as a cross-platform format, but still, ugh, with DRM)

    EPUB does not come with DRM. DRM can be added to it after the fact. The ignorance about ebooks still profoundly amazes me, especially from those commenters who should really know better.

  33. Adam Stanhope says:

    Kindle + Kindle Reader App for iPhone = a truly appealing and enhanced solution for eBook reading

    Your eBook exists simultaneously on both your Kindle and your iPhone. Both devices keep track of where you are in a given book, allowing you to switch seamlessly between reading from the Kindle and reading from the iPhone.

    Read from the Kindle when it is convenient to carry it and there is adequate light for reading. Read from the iPhone whenever/wherever you might use your smartphone or in low/no light conditions.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Geoffrey Sperl is right on all counts. I’ve copied *numerous* MOBI or text files to my Kindle and they work just fine. You don’t need to go through Amazon for anything other than PDF … and I believe there’s software to convert PDFs out there.

    I prefer actual books myself, but the convenience of the Kindle is wonderful at times. With a dozen books on it, my wife and I swapped it back and forth while camping. And when I was on vacation visting my folks, and finished 2 out of 3 (physical) books in a trilogy, it was just a few minutes work to buy, download, and start reading the final volume. That was wonderful.

  35. Dave Faris says:

    Amazon made a big mistake. When they yanked those copies of 1984, they should have replaced them with a legit copy, at a loss. Half of the ire and hatred of Kindle would have be averted.

  36. a_user says:

    @ Arkizzle & Gilgongo

    …..
    Restricted acts

    It is an offence to perform any of the following acts without the consent of the owner:

    Copy the work.

    Rent, lend or issue copies of the work to the public.

    Perform, broadcast or show the work in public.

    Adapt the work.
    ….

    http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

    Knowledge is freedom.

  37. Flaminica says:

    Real books have no DRM, and no one’s going to come into your house and take it from your bedside.

    Early adopter was so 20th century. Luddite is the new cool.

  38. Takuan says:

    a little Bradbury?

  39. Anonymous says:

    I dislike DRM as much as the next mehum, and yet…

    Bloo: Cory and others have shown that people _will_ pay for content even if it is available free. They pay for the convenience of receiving it in perhaps a different format, or with “value added” items like liner notes or high-quality illustrations, whatever.

    This is an interesting point to consider. More specifically, what Cory and others have actually shown is that releasing free digital copies of books can, if well-timed and properly executed, be an effective marketing strategy for driving sales of the paper versions. This works so well at this point in history precisely because most people do still prefer to read long-form works of literature on paper rather than on a screen. The digital versions allow people to sample a chapter or two, often leading them to buy the “real thing,” as it were.

    However… Will this dynamic continue when eReaders are more ubiquitous and the majority or people are perfectly comfortable reading that way? When the experience of reading a free download of a CC-licensed book is completely identical to the experience of reading a purchased copy–you read it on the same gadget, same screen, same user-configured font even–how likely is it, really, that releasing a free version will continue to drive sales of the paid edition?

  40. mamayama says:

    I find I’m reading much more on my iPod touch than I used to read “analog” books. I was considering a Kindle, but I’m sure glad I got the iPod first…the ‘pod was cheaper and more versatile, the books are free and/or DRM free (I’m using the Stanza app), and, the key point: since it’s always in my pocket, I can sneak a few pages in anywhere (including the bathtub, in a ziplock bag). Searchable like Kindle, easy to look up definitions as well, and the lit screen is handy for nocturnal literary excursions (reading in my backyard hammock at night, for instance).

    Thought I’d mind the tiny pages, but after a moment you cease to notice as you’re flicking your thumb along the pages, and the fonts are adjustable, as well. At last: one handed reading made easy!

  41. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    A User

    1. Your assertion was that those things are written at the start of books. They are not. Only copying (including scanning, et al) is generally mentioned.

    2. The guidelines you quoted specify “to the public”.

    3. In section 8 of the guidelines (Acts that are allowed) it excludes “Private and research study purposes” from these restrictions.

  42. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    And from the “Understanding Fair Use” page:

    Typical free uses of work include:
    • Inclusion for the purpose of news reporting.
    • Incidental inclusion.
    • National laws typically allow limited private and educational use.

    http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p09_fair_use

    Also, do you acknowledge the existence of second-hand bookshops?

  43. Andrys says:

    You’re one of the few columnists who know that Sony will be adding Adobe’s DRM to their sold ePub files.

    A bit more:

    1. To get conversions done for free, use the email you use for correspondence with Amazon and send the file to [you]@free.kindle.com

    That’ll come back within a couple of minutes and you can transfer the converted file to your Kindle. This tends to be quicker than doing it yourself.

    2. To find out how to remove DRM (this works for .azw files but not for .azw1 (topaz) files,
    google:
    kindle drm remove

    I like this capability in case I can’t use my Kindle anymore.

    3. .mobi or .prc are totally readable on the Kindle

    4. For ePub, best conversions currently are done with Calibre. See article on converting ePub files from Google’s million public domain ones to .mobi at http://bit.ly/milkbooks

    – Andrys

  44. torgeaux says:

    The bottom line is this: If Amazon discontinued the kindle, could I still read the purchased books? Yes.

    Can I lend the book to a friend? Sure. Same as any physical book, I can hand them my kindle and let them read. What people seem to demand is the ability to lend a copy and KEEP a copy, something not possible in a physical book either. No resell? Not ideal, but you know, I don’t sell books anyway. That’s a reason I buy the kindle, as I re-read everything and I’m being buried under books to which I have no sentimental attachment (to the physical book).

    Tomorrow, Amazon discontinues the kindle, and I’m stuck with just the other sources of ebooks, I’m ok. Inconvenienced, but still useful. That convenience IS the point of the device.

  45. scifijazznik says:

    Headline should have read:

    David Byrne: Kindle DRM means “you are fuh-fuh-fuh-fuhh-fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-f*cked” Run, Run, Run away.

  46. BeeVee says:

    Despite its extremely limited screen resolution, the Nintendo DSi is shaping up to be a great ebook reader thanks to DSLibris and calibre. Unfortunately Nintendo, while opening up the DSiWare store further, still hasn’t made access to the DSi’s built-in SD card possible through a published SDK meaning that using the DSi as an ebook reader is currently limited to those motivated enough to find a homebrew card and make their own ebooks. Since I’ve been doing the same on my Palm for the last ten years, I’m happy to continue in this format…

    B

  47. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned yet, however the Mobipocket Creator is a free widows based app that will convert pdfs and a number of other formats to .mobi and.prc. Both of these formats work fine in the Kindle.

  48. wilsonhome says:

    Always lurk and rarely post, so when i do it obviously gets out of control.

    I don’t really understand the Kindle hate that pops up sometimes. I don’t like DRM, but the article isn’t exactly objective either. I now read pretty much everything on a Kindle. When reading 150-200 books a year it makes economic and storage sense.

    I also don’t understand the migration comment, as someone who went from 8 track to cassette to CD to itunes. I have migrated everytime i changed technologies and there is always a way to migrate. Just because it hasn’t been envisioned yet doesn’t mean it won’t be there.

    I have had no problem at all sharing books with others who have Kindle. I suspect i could share with others who have different devices, but i know only a few people who own kindle and nobody who owns a different reader. Of course, i generally only share the books that were obtained free (creative common or through Amazon) as part of an effort to introduce people to new authors anyway.

    I also buy from several sources, although in all honesty Amazon is currently easier and generally better. Being able to pre-purchase books to be published at a later date, by authors i know i want to read, and just having them show up is pretty awesome.

    Also, (here is one of the very predictable comments, i guess) i don’t have to lug pounds of books around. Furthermore, i will admit to the nerd-factor. Since i watched Star Trek reruns as a child, i have always wondered when i was going to be able to read on a little slate i carried around with me.

    I think Kindle owners tend to be big readers and book lovers so i don’t understand the hate occasionally directed at them and the device, and frankly Amazon.

    People talk about eliminating the middleman. It makes sense in some ways, but it is usually the middleman who introduces new products. If not for Amazon, who (in electronic format) would have introduced me to Brandon Sanderson or T.A. Pratt? I could name at least 20 from the last few years, i even found Richard Kadrey on Amazon before i would have seen him anywhere else. Of course, i couldn’t get any of his books through Kindle until “Blind Spyder” otherwise known as Butcher Bird, showed up recently so i just book marked him and waited. I am still waiting on Sandman Slim. Most people simply are not going to go searching over and over through multiple sites to find things when they are otherwise gathered in one place. Call me lazy, i really don’t care.

    Additionally, as someone who only generates IP as form of valuable work product, i definitely do not understand the idea that selling IP is corrupt. It has a short lifespan after which it is essentially super cheap or free. People complain about this in regards to drugs all the time (inviting more hate, i know). There are tons of things to complain about related to the drug development industry (and academia). But, as far as selling IP goes, as long as you are actually working on something that cures or substantially changes the effects of a real disease, and not just on something that has already been done (and i do realize that doesn’t happen as much as it should), what the world ends up with is something great that costs for 10-15 years and then is basically free. I take generic loratadine (Claritin) every morning at pennies a pill.

    I will finally end by inviting more hate from some and saying that, while others have made the decision to not support DRM in any format, and i fully respect that, i have made a different decision. I have made the decision to use my individual economic power, as minor as it may be, to support the existence of whatever is currently the best purchase and delivery system available for reading the books i want to read as well as helping me find new authors that i might like.

    If someone comes up with an international system where i can easily get the British & Australian authors i want to read before Amazon does…Amazon loses and i switch. If someone comes up with a creator cooperative that actually contains all of my favorites (or if there are two-three coops) and can help point me in the direction of new authors and is better than Amazon, same thing, etc, etc.

    I may be weird in this, but don’t generally believe in acquiring books for free as too many of my favorite authors seem to stop publishing because of lack of sales. Sometimes this happens in the middle of a series or trilogy that i really liked. Syne Mitchell’s Deathless series comes to mind.

    Pre-kindle i would occasionally read on computer under Creative Common License to find new authors. If i finished the book, i would buy in paper. Now, when i now run across authors who don’t have books published on Kindle but have them available in free ebook form otherwise, I really feel bad about reading them on Kindle, so i usually don’t. I don’t really know why i feel this way now, probably a psychological problem. Fear that now i have a device that makes it so easy to read i will give in to the evil and not pay for a paper copy that i would just turn around and give to the library (if they will take it, which surprisingly they sometimes won’t).

    The two times i have done so, i sent an email to each author telling him them i really wanted to read but felt bad about doing so because i want to support authors i enjoy reading. Said i wished would publish on Kindle, or somewhere else, or let me know how else i could pay. One eventually published on Kindle and i bought then, even though i had already read. The other has never published, so i bought a different book of his on kindle although i already had in paper and in fact had been introduced to that particular author by reading that particular book under creative common license.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I’m finding the Kindle 2 pretty disappointing. Firstly, it’s a pain to fall asleep with. I feel much less comfortable sleep twitching a $300 device onto the floor than a $9 difficult to smash realbook. My eyes don’t love it as much as paper and holding it one handed still able to hit the go button is a pain. In other words, I’m not finding it such a great device.

    As far as the DRM goes, I guess I’m not as religiously opposed to it but I wish that the price point of Kindle books was something closer to a rental rate than a barely reduced retail book price. Loaning books to people is a big deal. I miss that the most. Maybe reading on the kindle makes me lonelier for that reason.

  50. PaulR says:

    #16 posted by Anonymous
    “… unless you have a US credit card (which requires a US address) your options for ordering are limited.”

    Only if, for some vastly mistaken reason, you’re trying to order a Kindle from Amazon.
    See here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200316870&#intl

    I strongly suspect that there are two reasons why this is the case:
    1) The Kindly uses Sprint’s Whispernet to funnel the user back to Amazon’s bookstore for easy one-click purchases.
    2) The USA’s DMCA makes reverse engineering the Kindle DRM illegal.

    So your options are ‘severely limited’ to ordering anything except the Kindle. What’s the problem?

    I purchased an iRex iLiad over a year ago, directly from iRex Technologies in the Netherlands. From Canada. With a Canadian CC.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Not uncommonly found on (hard-copy) books’ copyright pages is the text:

    Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that is which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

  52. salsaman says:

    But, the Amazon DRM is different from iTunes or other media DRM in that the file isn’t “the thing” as much as the record of the sale in Amazon’s account. So, worrying about losing a paid-for, DRMed MOBI is similar to worrying about losing an iPhone app– it should always be recoverable from the “mother ship.” Of course, that requires a user to be being tethered to an Amazon account and faith in Amazon’s perpetual support– odd requirements for ensuring access to a book.

    If we accept that people genuinely want to share books and that some people will do it disingenuously, why not let Kindle user A transfer a purchased book to Kindle user B for a nominal fee? User A could allow Amazon to remove it from A’s Kindle while simultaneously loading it onto B’s. That’s the only extension of the Kindle model that stands a chance of being accepted by book publishers. $1 seems reasonable.

    Anyway, the recent George Orwell fiasco makes “Whispernet” sound downright sinister.

  53. Cicada says:

    So, slightly lower longevity (how much? No idea), and less ability to share or trade than with printed books, but greater convenience and portability.
    Doesn’t sound like being fucked, sounds like a reasonable tradeoff, with variation depending on whether the term “DRM” makes you reflexively twitch.

  54. mdh says:

    if the kindle DRM is so odious, why not just buy the actual book?

    the worst case scenario is that the kindle is not the future, which they never claimed to be in the first place.

  55. apoxia says:

    So there are problems. In New Zealand there are no e-readers on sale. No Sony, no Kindle, nothing. I wouldn’t mind some DRM if I could buy a freakin’ reader.

  56. wilsonhome says:

    By the way… i meant to say this in the overlong last post, but i am not sure the Kadrey book that mentioned as available on Kindle is authorized. I have seen a few things get published through their publishing service before that were copies of other books and likely not authorized. I have also seen this on a a few other ebook seller websites. I sent an email to Amazon a few days ago but haven’t checked back. Not planning to buy it until i know who gets paid. So i technically still have no Kadrey at all.

    So that is a point that i did forget in my excessively long post. When a product is only available in digital format free in anticipation of people going out to buy the paper copy, not only will some people never purchase the paper, but there is always some A..hole who will try to steal and sell the work.

    I hope that isn’t the case with the Kadrey book because i want to read it. The name difference makes me suspicious though.

  57. Anonymous says:

    you know what has no drm?

    VINAL!

    fuck these goddamn over compressed, shitty quality, overly corporate-ized pieces of shit we call “tracks” these days.. goddamnit I want MUSIC! sans bullshit.

  58. trebonius says:

    A few factual errors:
    You don’t have to run MOBI files though amazon. It reads DRM-free MOBI files if you just copy them to the device over USB.

    You can also have Amazon convert PDF, Word, etc files for free. I know how wicked it makes them seem when you only mention the fee-based model. What they’re really charging for is wireless transfer to your device. If you have them convert it for free, you just have to transfer it over USB yourself.

    Or you can use one of a handful of software products available (some free) to convert any of these files to MOBI yourself.

    Also, it’s trivially easy to strip the Amazon DRM from the files and end up with an unencumbered MOBI that is useful on a wide variety of platforms. There are software packages available to convert that to EPUB, if that’s your bag. However, freeing your purchased media for your own personal purposes is still, technically, illegal in the US. How stupid and embarrassing.

    That all said, I really dislike the DRM of any sort. I despise it. But I don’t know how much good it does to our cause to promote sharing. I generally only give DRM-stripped ebook copies to friends who I know have already purchased the book in some form, or at least read it.

    I don’t think I have any particular right to start giving my friends free copies of my favorite books. Unless, of course, I delete my own copy afterward.

    But you know, I don’t think the Kindle is going to kill off the paper book. I own one, and it’s a convenience. I buy ebooks only if they’re rather cheaper than the paper version. If I want to share the book with a friend, I buy a paper copy. If it’s worth sharing, it’s worth supporting the author a little more. Books are cheap, considering how much enjoyment I get out of them.

  59. Anonymous says:

    In general I agree – DRM is to be avoided. But I do have to nitpick the line

    “Years from now, having gone through a few computers, your music collection is unplayable except for the files without DRM.”

    iTunes and the associated music store let you authorize a certain number of computers to play their music files. You can also remove computers from the list. This allows one to bring their DRM encumbered music with them from computer to computer as they outgrow / upgrade equipment.

    Yes, it would be better to not have to bother with it in the fist place, but Fairplay DRM does not lock music to a particular computer, upgrading will not cause you to lose your purchases.

  60. lukus says:

    @#41, SALSAMAN;

    ‘Nominal fees’?? $1 sounds reasonable????

    How did you arrive at the sum of $1? Does this have anything to do with the actual real-world cost of transfering the file – or do you just think it seems low enough that Amazon would be able to get away with charging it?

    Can’t you see that the whole process of selling IP is actually slightly corrupt? It involves selling an unlimited amount of a product which costs next to nothing to reproduce – and the fee is collected perpetually.

    The current movers-and-shakers in the industry seem to be fueled by equal measures of greed and fear.

    I hope future generations are able to look back on this period with relief – because if corporations are able to universally regulate the sale of information online, I think free society is quite simply fcked.

  61. blogblob says:

    Get a hanlin v3 or so with open inkpot firmware.

    Its perfect for my favourite setup: unformatted screenfilling utf8 plaintext books that I download off the internet with the speed of 1 book per second.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Well fucking said, Senhor Byrne!

    Boooyah!

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