DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) consumer control is dumb and anyone using it is beating a very dead horse.
It’s simple. Anything which can be seen or heard can be copied. Period. Full stop.
Now, “In my latest Publishers Weekly column, I explain why I’m not even going to try to sell downloads of the audiobook of the my forthcoming experimental short story collection, With a Little Help,” says Doctorow.
“Apple won’t carry it without DRM; Audible won’t carry it without an abusive EULA; and all the major digital delivery systems are crufty and needlessly complicated.”
It’s no surprise that Apple wants DRM. After all, it practically invented it.
Doctorow goes on >>>
For my next book, Makers, we tried again. This time Audible agreed to carry the title without DRM. Hooray! Except now there was a new problem: Apple refused to allow DRM-free audiobooks in the Apple Store — yes, the same Apple that claims to hate DRM. Okay, we thought, we’ll just sell direct through Audible, at least it’s a relatively painless download process, right? Not quite. It turns out that buying an audiobook from Audible requires a long end-user license agreement (EULA) that bars users from moving their Audible books to any unauthorized device or converting them to other formats.
And, “Instead of DRM, they accomplish the lock-in with a contract,” her says, stating:
“I came up with what I thought was an elegant solution: a benediction to the audio file: ‘Random House Audio and Cory Doctorow, the copyright holders to this recording, grant you permission to use this book in any way consistent with your nation’s copyright laws.’This is a good EULA, I thought, as it stands up for every word of copyright law. Random House was game, too. Audible wasn’t. So we decided not to sell through Audible, which I was intensely bummed about, because I really like Audible.”
On Publishers Weekly,”I used to be a huge Audible customer,” says Doctorow, but, “When I switched operating systems, however, I discovered that Audible’s DRM wouldn’t work on my Linux computer.”
He continues >>>
I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my Audible collection, so I set out to convert it all to MP3. That required playing each book in real-time through the computer’s sound card, recapturing it with the AudioHijack program, and then saving it as an MP3. It took a solid month of running three old Macs 24/7 to get all of my audiobooks out of Audible’s proprietary wrapper and into the universal MP3 format so that I could take my investment with me to a new digital home.
Of course, I probably could have “pirated” the same audiobooks more quickly — after all, it’s not hard to find cracked Audible titles on the Internet. This is why I can’t understand why publishers or writers opt for DRM. It clearly doesn’t stop real pirates from copying, and it locks good customers into the DRM vendor’s ecosystem. I wouldn’t sell my books through a bookseller who demanded readers only enjoy them on a chair from Wal-Mart; why would I sell my audiobooks on terms that insist my listeners only use devices approved by a DRM vendor?
Doctorow adds, “for the record, I’d put my books in Audible and the iTunes Store in a hot second if only they’d sell them on the same terms that I’d be willing to buy them: no DRM and no license agreement except ‘don’t violate copyright law’.”
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