Tech writing superstar David Pogue writes about his experiment with DRM-free ebook publishing. He concludes that even though his DRM-free book was pirated all over the net, the sales were as high as he expected them to be, based on his previous books' sales. Pogue goes on to talk about what he's learned here -- that DRM-free isn't necessarily bad for sales -- and invites other publishers to try it out. One thing he badly misses, though, is the technical failure of DRM to prevent piracy. Pogue's previous, DRM-crippled ebooks were also
pirated, after all, because DRM isn't hard to break (ebooks are vulnerable to a particularly fiendish technical attack called "re-typing"). So when Pogue puts DRM on his books, he only locks down the readers who are honest enough to pay for his stuff in the first place. The people who cheat and download without paying get the copies that the DRM has been removed from.
My publisher, O'Reilly, decided to try an experiment, offering one of my Windows books for sale as an unprotected PDF file.
Should e-Books Be Copy Protected?
After a year, we could compare the results with the previous year's sales.
The results? It was true. The thing was pirated to the skies. It's all over the Web now, ridiculously easy to download without paying.
The crazy thing was, sales of the book did not fall. In fact, sales rose slightly during that year.
That's not a perfect, all-variables-equal experiment, of course; any number of factors could explain the results. But for sure, it wasn't the disaster I'd feared.
In the age of Internet, discussions about the federal government and its functions are informed by and rely on our unprecedented access to federal documents. Anyone can freely view public records online, such as proposed Congressional legislation and presidential executive orders. Accessing public court documents, however, is a bit trickier. As Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote for the Wall Street Journal in 2011, “no aspect of government remains more locked down than the secretive, hierarchical judicial branch.”
It’s not just that smart cars’ Android apps are sloppily designed and thus horribly insecure; they are also deliberately designed with extremely poor security choices: even if you factory-reset a car after it is sold as used, the original owner can still locate it, honk its horn, and unlock its doors.
Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog.
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