Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Digital Rights Management could save Public Libraries, the Open Internet - and vise versa

Originally published on my Wall, at Facebook

This really cool:

I'm reading "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt" by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco on my desktop!

I went to Toronto Public Library (TPL) online, searched the title; found the ebook entry and clicked on the preview button (a blurb beside the ebook entry says all 4 copies are out already.
(??? '4 Copies' 'Out' ? - that doesn't make any sense - one copy is an infinite number of copies - it's an ebook!!!)

So, like I said, I clicked on the preview instead - and nothing happens - my OS says it will search the internet for the right program to open the file, so I say OK. It came back with nothing. So I copy and searched "Adobe EPUB eBook" (which sits rather innocuously under everything in the Library listing) and that gets me to Adobe's site - where I searched the term internally, and that gets me to the download for the Adobe ebook reader, "Adobe Digital Editions" -

(Adobe is a victim of their marketing department - which turns English into brand names - which inside the sub-culture of the company become actual English - and then they try to use those words to communicate with us out here - and it doesn't work. I don't understand the words "Adobe Digital Editions", it sounds like a place where I would find ebooks - but I wasn't looking for an ebook, I was looking for an ebook reader - so search didn't work, trial and error got me to the page - it took me some time to get there; turns out "Digital Editions" is the brand name of Adobe's DRM enabled, ebook reader.)

The preview TPL is offering outside of the 'copies' it's being allowed to dole out 4 at a time, is Chapter 1 of the book, the story of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

I've changed my mind about Digital Rights Management. Hither-to I've been a devote of Cory Doctorow's take on the digital revolution with regards to book publishing. He makes all of his book available online in full from the moment they are published in paper. His take is that he'll make his wages through 'reputation', he makes enough money to keep writing full time by doing speaking engagements, readings of his books etc. - more than he'll earn from the actual sale of the books themselves.

I'm of the opinion now that DRM is great - because it allows Public Libraries to get inexpensive, digital copies of books immediately upon publication - to loan out.

The entire book downloads onto your hard drive - but it's in a kind of Temporary File that erases after a certain amount of time. Users can request a renewal of the ebook - and that is allowed depending on the settings the publisher sets in the loan agreement.

Now - if I was a hacker - intent on defeating DRM there IS a way - as soon as the text of the book makes it's way to my computer screen it IS copy-able - Somehow; I don't know how, but I am as sure as I am that the sun will rise - there is an interface that can be constructed to copy what appears on one's computer screen.

Print Screen of "Days of  Destruction, Days of Revolt" by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco  - page 13 (Chaper 1) in ebook reader "Adobe Digital Editions"

So then I am victorious-cyberpunk-hacker-champion !!! But what''s the point? The book's available at the Library for free. :)

This is the best argument for DRM I have ever heard.

And I came up with it !

But then the gobbledygook coming out of the special interest media towers isn't much competition - blinded as they are by greed, and the popular media of greed - money.

 * * *

Originally published on my Wall, at Facebook (edited for clarity) (

(I want a widget that can take posts I create in FB and posts them here if I click that button on my browser - I say browser because I know FB would never allow the app - at Faceboook it's Everything in - Nothing out.)


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