Tell The FTC You HATE DRM!

January 7, 2009

FTC to hold DRM referendum

Go here to fill out the online form.

This is what I told them:

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.”

The FTC then confirmed with this:

Your comment has been successfully recorded! A tracking number of *OSCAR*-00047 has been assigned on: 1/7/2009 4:58:45 PM. Please Print this page for your records.

Go and give them hell!

Quote: Donald Clark

January 7, 2009

Libraries are barriers to reading

An excellent must-read post, but this is the key point for me:

[. . .] [T]o turn books into a fetish is simply to deny learning and access by those who need it most. Real books are great, but let’s not confuse the medium with the content. Just as journalists and newspaper owners fail to realise they’re in the ‘news’ not the ‘newspaper’ business, so book fans and publishers fail to realise that this is about reading, not books.

Emphasis added by me.

I Am An eBook Militant

January 7, 2009

This post from Mike Cane 2008 never made it here.

Apparently it’s time for me to pimp it here (I’m too lazy to reproduce it!).

I’ll also point new readers to this prior post here: The Horror Of Paper Books

(Yeah, lots of “here” there. Shut up.)

A Missed eBook Opportunity?

January 7, 2009

CES 2009: iLuv Portable Multimedia Player

Imagine being able to read eBooks on that larger screen!

But no mention is made of that capability. Nor can I envision how it’s possible with the current design.

Ah, that would have really been something!

Wireless Sony Reader: Via Verizon Network?

January 7, 2009

Verizon To Support Kindle Competitors

Amazon’s Kindle may soon be just another electronic reader among a handful of choices on Verizon Wireless. In an interview with Reuters just ahead of CES, Verizon exec Tony Lewis, who runs a program to help third-party vendors get their products certified to work on the operator’s networks, said he expected Kindle rivals to launch in 2009, though he declined to specify who these competitors might be.

Supporting electronic readers is part of Verizon’s Open Development program started last year, in which the operator said it would support independent devices sold by vendors other than itself.

Emphasis added by me.

There’s more. It’s a short item, and I’ve already quoted more than I’m comfortable doing under Fair Use. So go see the rest at the link.

Sony has global cellphone experience via its Sony-Ericcson joint venture.

I’m certain that Steve Haber’s desire for the Sony Reader to be an open platform would extend to openness towards cellphone networks too. Although this story highlights Verizon, I’m certain a wireless Sony Reader would also work with T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint. It might not happen all at once at the launch, but it would just take one network to agree and the rest would fall in line to get their share of the pie too.

Also, a wireless Sony Reader would be the first such device to work worldwide, on any cellphone network anywhere.

ePub and ubiquitous wireless coverage would be an unbeatable combination.

Update: Mike Elgan chimes in with some thoughts.

A Variety Of eBook Notes For January 7, 2009

January 7, 2009

Downloads boost 2008 single sales

The UK singles market grew by 33% in 2008 thanks to a growth in download sales, the BPI has said.

And with the iTunes Store now going DRM-free with music, there are lessons to be learned here for the dying dinosaurs of print.

30,000 eBooks for iPhones and iPod Touch from BooksOnBoard

Apple iPhone and iPod Touch owners will be happy to know that BooksOnBoard has released no less than 30,000 eBook titles for these devices. The eReader eBook format books include titles by Gena Showalter, Nora Roberts, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Stieg Larsson, Susan Mallery, and Harlequin’s One Click Buy January Blaze Bundle.

All Romance eBooks Makes Thousands of Romance Titles Available to iPhone and iPod Touch Users with Lexcycle Stanza.

Palm Harbor, FL (PRWEB) January 6, 2009 — All Romance eBooks, an on-line bookstore that specializes in the sale of romance eBooks, and Lexcycle, the company behind the critically acclaimed Stanza electronic book reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, announced today that All Romance eBooks has made more than 6000 romance titles accessible via Stanza’s Online Catalog.

Stanza is the Little Software That Could. There will always be people who treat reading as a catch-as-catch-can thing, and those people will be satisfied with reading off an illuminated and relatively wee cellphone screen. But I see Stanza as being a great advertisement for devices such as the Sony Reader and the ECTACO jetBook.

Flickr Group: Book Cover Club — this can in via bookoven over Twitter.

Digital Editions: News, info and tips about Adobe Digital Editions
— blog

ePubNow! Reader

ePubNow! Reader is a reading system that renders EPUB eBooks with XHTML vocabulary. It will soon be upgraded to read EPUB eBooks with DTBook (Digital Talking Book) vocabulary also.

Readers may use this online reading system for viewing EPUB format ebooks which are not encrypted. When you sign-in as a reader, you are offered few free EPUB format eBooks. You may like to upload your own inventory and access it on the Internet from anywhere, anytime.

It requires registration, which I won’t do, so I don’t know anything more than that. eCub is suiting me just fine right now, so I won’t investigate further.

ePub Books

Where to download ePub Books online

ePub is an eBook file format for both consumers and publishers that offers interoperability between software and hardware for reflowable digital books – you can think of epub as the book equivalent of mp3.

By owning your eBooks in the .epub format you will be able to read them using a wide range of software and eletronic book readers including the iPhone (using the Stanza eBook Reader application), the Bookworm web browser reader and the Sony Reader PRS-505. As the ePub format is fast becoming the preferred industry standard world-wide, we are now seeing more publishers, book stores and developers supporting this format – there’s no better time to explore the world of eBooks.

Below is a listing of all the current commercial and free eBook download sites offering ePub Books.

This is one everyone with a Sony Reader, ECTACO jetBook, and iPhone using Stanza should bookmark. There’s also a Twitter account: Follow ePub.