DRM  

So, Did Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

So, Did Tim Ferriss's BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.

Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.

WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

via WordPress › Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS.

Unfortunately, the side effect in this less-than-successful attempt to fight piracy is the hours it takes users to retrieve, rip, and back up their music when a services shuts down, is sold, or simply decides DRM wasn’t the right way to go sometimes in as little as five months. The following is a brief history of the rise and fall of DRM in music services.

via The DRM graveyard: A brief history of digital rights management in music | opensource.com.

“We’re a broken record on this,” Newell told me,. “This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards . It’s a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us.”And it’s not because Steam avoids regions of the world known for their software piracy, they actually embrace them.”When we entered Russia everyone said, ‘You can’t make money in there. Everyone pirates,’” Newell said.But when Valve looked into what was going on there they saw that the pirates were doing a better job of localizing games than the publishers were.”When people decide where to buy their games they look and they say, ‘Jesus, the pirates provide a better service for us,’” he said.So Valve invested in getting the games they sold there localized in Russian. Now Russia is their largest European market outside of the UK and Germany.”The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need,” he said. “I think publishers with strict DRM will sell less of their products and create more problems.

via Why Portal’s Publishers Don’t Fear Piracy, Competition.

LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

I've talked to a lot of librarians about why they buy DRM books for their collections, and they generally emphasize that buying ebooks with DRM works pretty well, generates few complaints, and gets the books their patrons want on the devices their patrons use. And it's absolutely true: on the whole, DRM ebooks, like DRM movies and DRM games work pretty well.

But they fail really badly. No matter how crappy a library's relationship with a print publisher might be, the publisher couldn't force them to destroy the books in their collections after 26 checkouts. DRM is like the Ford Pinto: it's a smooth ride, right up the point at which it explodes and ruins your day.

HarperCollins has some smart and good digital people (they're my UK/Australia/South Africa publisher, and I've met a ton of them). But batshit insane crap like this is proof that it doesn't matter how many good people there are at a company that has a tool at its disposal that is as dangerous and awful as DRM: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will always go off by act three.

And that's why libraries should just stop buying DRM media for their collections. Period. It's unsafe at any speed.

I mean it. When HarperCollins backs down and says, “Oh, no, sorry, we didn't mean it, you can have unlimited ebook checkouts,” the libraries' answers should be “Not good enough. We want DRM-free or nothing.” Stop buying DRM ebooks. Do you think that if you buy twice, or three times, or ten times as many crippled books that you'll get more negotiating leverage with which to overcome abusive crap like this? Do you think that if more of your patrons come to rely on you for ebooks for their devices, that DRM vendors won't notice that your relevance is tied to their product and tighten the screws?

You have exactly one weapon in your arsenal to keep yourself from being caught in this leg-hold trap: your collections budget. Stop buying from publishers who stick time-bombs in their ebooks. Yes, you can go to the Copyright Office every three years and ask for a temporary exemption to the DMCA to let your jailbreak your collections, but that isn't Plan B, it's Plan Z. Plan A is to stop putting dangerous, anti-patron technology into your collections in the first place.

The publisher also issued a short statement: “HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come.”

Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

As noted in the letter, the terms will not be specific to OverDrive, and will likewise apply to “all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher's titles for library lending.” The new terms will not be retroactive, and will apply only to new titles. More details on the new terms are set to be announced next week.

For the record, all of my HarperCollins ebooks are also available as DRM-free Creative Commons downloads. And as bad as HarperCollins' terms are, they're still better than Macmillan's, my US/Canadian publisher, who don't allow any library circulation of their ebook titles.

via HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts – Boing Boing.

Slashdot

“Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O’Leary in an interview with O’Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM. ‘The publishing industry should be working as hard as we can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers. And what those look like could be community-driven. I think of Baen Books, for example, which doesn’t put any DRM restrictions on its content but is one of the least pirated book publishers. As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there’s a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.’”

Telegraph Blogs

 

If book publishers want to see the next decade in any reasonable health, then it’s absolutely imperative that they rethink their pricing strategies and business models right now. I hope this example will illustrate why:

I’m a big fan of Iain Banks’ novels; I always buy them in hardback as soon as they come out. It doesn’t matter what reviewers say, I need to have his books immediately. His latest novel, Surface Detail, came out a few days ago and promptly arrived at my office – all 627 pages of it. I lugged the thing home and began reading it this morning.

Surface_Detail_Hb_500x775

Being a Culture novel, it’s a real page-turner and I found it difficult to pull myself away from it. I didn’t want to lug it back to the office again, not least because I didn’t have any space left in my bag, so I did the unthinkable – I googled surface detail ePub so I could download and read it on my iPad (and iPhone).

I try doing this every six months or so, and I usually end up mired in a swamp of fake torrent links and horrible PDF versions; for what it’s worth, this was mostly out of curiosity, since six months ago I didn’t own an iPad.

This time, it took me 60 seconds to download a pristine ePub file, and another five minutes to move it to my iPad and iPhone. While this was going on, I took the opportunity to poke around the torrent sites and forums that my search had yielded, and discovered a wonderful selection of books, including:

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

Our Kind of Traitor, by John le Carre

Jump! by Jilly Cooper

The Fry Chronicles, by Stephen Fry

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Solar, by Ian McEwan

Zero History, by William Gibson

Obama’s Wars, by Bob Woodward

Now, that’s not all of the current bestsellers, but it’s not a bad start. “Oh, but we’ve still got the backlist!” I hear some publisher cry. No such luck, because some helpful pirate has bundled entire collections of popular backlist novels into a single torrents, including:

Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels

Lord of the Rings

Narnia

Harry Potter

Artemis Fowl

Twilight

The Hunger Games

Every Ken Follett book

Every Stieg Larsson book

Every Stephen King book

Every Douglas Adams book

etc.

Pretty much all of these books are available in ePub, mobi, PDF and every other popular format (the non-fiction and literary selection is much worse though, which probably reflects the tastes of the people uploading the torrents – that’ll change soon enough).

I am not a torrent-finding genius – I just know how to add ‘ePub’ to the name of a book or author. I don’t need a fast internet connection, because most books are below 1MB in size, even in a bundle of multiple formats. I don’t need to learn how to use Bittorrent, because I already use that for TV shows. And Apple has made it very easy for me to add ePub files to my iPad and iPhone. So really, there is nothing stopping me from downloading several hundred books other than the fact that I already have too much to read and I think authors should be paid.

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

Next, you’ll have people downloading classics – they’ll say to themselves, “Tolkein and C. S. Lewis are both dead, so why should I feel bad about pirating their books?” Then you’ll have people downloading ebooks not available in their country yet. Then it’ll be people downloading entire collections, just because it’s quicker. Then they’ll start wondering why they should buy any ebooks at all, when they cost so much. And then you go bust.

(In case you think this is just a scary story, think again – a conservative estimate this month suggests there are 1.5-3 million people looking for pirated eBooks every day [nb: this is a link to a PDF]. A suggestion: If you gave away a free eBook copy with physical books, that might help things. A bit.)

But of course I’m exaggerating. Most publishers won’t go bust. eBook prices will be forced down, margins will be cut, consolidation will occur. New publishers will spring up, with lower overheads and offering authors a bigger cut. A few publishers will thrive; most publishers will suffer. Some new entrants will make a ton of cash; maybe there’ll be a Spotify or Netflix for books. Life will go on. Authors will continue writing – it’s not as if they ever did it for the money – and books will continue being published.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Death of Publishers. Back then, most commenters didn’t believe that eBook readers would ever rival physical books for convenience and comfort. They didn’t think that it would ever be that easy to pirate books. The post caused a splash at the time, but it didn’t change anything.

Here’s an excerpt:

Book publishers have had a longer grace period than the other entertainment industries. Computers and iPods had an easy time besting DVDs and CDs, but it’s been difficult to make something that can compete with a book. It may be strange to hear, but a book is a fantastic piece of technology. It’s portable, it doesn’t need batteries, it’s cheap to print and easy to read. This has led many publishers to complacency, thinking there’s something special about books that will spare them from the digital revolution. They’ve seen so many poor or substandard eBook readers that they think it’ll never be done properly.

They’re wrong. eBook readers are about to get very good, very quickly. A full colour wireless eBook reader with a battery life of over a week, a storage capacity of a thousand books, and a flexible display will be yours for $150 in ten years time. If this sounds unbelievable, consider this – the first iPod was released only six years ago and cost $400. Imagine what an iPod will look like in four years time.

How wrong I was! It’s only taken us three years to get the Kindle 3 at a mere $189, with a battery life of a month and a storage capacity of 3500 books. Sure, it doesn’t have colour or a flexible display, but it does have global wifi and 3G, and it’s a lot lighter than I thought it might be. Give it another year or two and we’ll have that colour as well.

(I was also wrong about scanning and OCRing being the main way of pirating books – turns out it was people cracking the DRM of eBooks that publishers had helpfully formatted and distributed themselves!)

But I was right about the complacency of publishers. They’ve spent three years bickering about eBook prices and Amazon and Apple and Andrew Wylie, and they’ve ignored that massive growling wolf at the door, the wolf that has transformed the music and TV so much that they’re forced to give their content away for practically nothing.

Time’s up. The wolf is here.

 

Steal this book: The loan arranger | The Economist

 

AMAZON.COM says soon you will be allowed to lend out electronic books purchased from the Kindle Store. For a whole 14 days. Just once, ever, per title. If the publisher allows it. Not mentioned is the necessity to hop on one foot whilst reciting the Gettysburg Address in a falsetto. An oversight, I’m sure. Barnes & Noble’s Nook has offered the same capability with identical limits since last year. Both lending schemes are bullet points in a marketing presentation, so Amazon is adding its feature to keep parity.

Allowing such ersatz lending is a pretence by booksellers. They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited licence to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture.

If you own a physical book, in much of the world you may sell it, lend it—even burn or bury it. You may also keep the book forever. Each of those characteristics is littered with footnotes and exceptions for e-books. We are granted an illusion of ownership, but may read only within the ecosystem of hardware and software supported by the bookseller with sometimes additional limitations imposed by publishers. Witness Amazon’s remote deletion—since abjured—of improperly sold copies of George Orwell’s “1984″ and “Animal Farm” in 2009. This Babbage recalls an Apple executive, Phil Schiller, extolling to him in 2003 the virtues of purchasing downloadable music when that company’s iTunes Store launched, and the dominant model was for recurring subscriptions. Mr Schiller described buying a song as owning it. Asked if one could therefore sell the song, Mr Schiller said no. He explained:

I do think of it as ownership, and it really does fit the definition of legal ownership. [There are] certain boundaries on your rights, just as on everything I own. I can own a car but that doesn’t give me the right to speed 100mph in it.

That was as tendentious then as it is now, and applies just as directly to Apple’s current e-book offerings. True, Apple removed digital rights management (DRM) protection from its music when the recording industry decided its best tool to fight Apple’s near-total ownership of digital downloads was to make it possible for music to be played on devices other than iPods. But the licensing terms for music didn’t change, and books and video remain locked down, however ineffective such protection is.

But the reason for restricting lending, even with the sham of offering it in Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble’s form, is to distract people from the fact that buyers are spending real money to buy a book they may read just once. To judge from the information Amazon provides, the long tail applies to e-books as it does everywhere else. Many different titles are flogged, but the most disposable and ephemeral have the lion’s share of units sold. Dan Brown’s epics are rarely re-read, judging by how many copies are available for one penny or given away in free book bins weeks after release. Allowing the loan of “The Lost Symbol” by any purchaser to any other e-book hardware or software user worldwide turns each buyer into a one-person lending library. Publishers don’t much like libraries, either, despite the chin-wagging otherwise. (In the US, the public lending right or remuneration right doesn’t hold; the first-sale doctrine allows library lending of physical media without additional fees.)

With a physical book, the afterlife of a disposable read is to hand it off to another party: a library sale, a friend or relative, or the free bin outside a used bookstore. Such books are also purchased in the millions and sold for one penny plus shipping online partly as a marketing effort by booksellers who can then include their own catalogs with each sale. An e-book, however, lives in limbo. Neither moving on to the next life, nor returning to this one, it can never be freed.

That will change. Just as with music, DRM will be cracked. As more people possess portable reading devices, the demand and availability for pirated content will also rise. (Many popular e-books can now be found easily on file-sharing sites, something that was not the case even a few months ago, as Adrian Hon recently pointed out.) The end-game is unclear. Authors can’t turn to touring to obtain revenue in the way musicians can, though some can charge steep speaking fees. Nor can authors produce their work in 3D, only readable in certain special theaters. (McSweeney’s has a proposal in that regard.)

All is not lost, however. Despite fewer adults reading fewer books, billions are still sold worldwide each year, with an increasing portion being digital. Publishers and booksellers need to get non-readers to pick up a device and buy books, and existing readers to read more. Lowering the risk of purchasing a book that a reader may not like would reduce the friction between considering a title and clicking the buy button.

In fact, Barnes & Noble and Starbucks are experimenting with a sort of loan in their bricks-and-mortar shops. The bookseller allows its Nook hardware owners to read books willy-nilly on its stores’ Wi-Fi networks for up to an hour a day. Starbucks has partnered with several publishers to allow full access to some titles, but only while a browser is in the store. Barnes & Noble’s effort is a year old and Starbucks’ was launched just a few days ago.

In other words, they are finally doing with digital books what they have long practised with the printed sort. After all, most bookshops nowadays let you pick a book off the shelf and read it at your leisure, sometimes providing comfy armchairs. Cafés have been making books and newspapers available to patrons for centuries, to entice them to stick around for another cuppa.

The college-textbook market provides another replicable business model. Students pay through their noses for new textbooks at the start of term only to resell them at the end to other students or back to the original bookshop at a discount. Alternatively, they rent books for a fee while leaving a deposit which is returned when the book comes back to the shop. Creating a legitimate digital resale market along similar lines ought to be possible. If, that is, publishers can be convinced to let what are in effect mint-condition digital copies to go at a lower price.

Introducing either de facto rental (purchase and resell at prices set by the bookseller) or the actual sort (read a book in a set period of time for a lower fee) would expand general and specialist readership alike, while discouraging a turn to piracy by breaking the appearance of immutable, high prices. At the same time, it would enable publishers, booksellers and authors to sidestep the first-sale doctrine of physical media, and to rake in revenue each time a “used” digital copy passes from hand to hand.

The music and film industries fought a decade-long losing battle for the digital realm that only put them at odds with their best customers. The book business may yet be able to avoid recapitulating all that pain and disruption, not least by pinching ideas from the off-line world.

 

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