Friday, September 12, 2003
Posted by Jason Dunn in "THOUGHT" @ 07:00 AM
In the words of Ed Hansberry, "If there was ever an acceptable argument for DRM5 encrypted eBooks, it just died." I couldn't agree more! Buying a book and then losing access to your purchase because of a few digital bits that are no longer accessible on a server is frustrating beyond words.
Fundamentally, the real problem with DRM in its current incarnation is that it tries to tie the digital rights to a piece of hardware rather than to the person that bought it. Hardware comes and goes, but the person stays the same, so why are we tying it to hardware? All we need is an authentication system like Microsoft Passport, and once the purchased content is tied to that account, you could pick up any Pocket PC and read your eBook, sit down at any computer and listen to your own legal music, or pick up any laptop and stream your legally purchased videos. At the most basic level, the current DRM implementation is fatally flawed because it assumes that the display mechanism (the device) is unchanging. How would you feel if your documents saved on one hard drive couldn't be transferred to a new computer and opened there?
Microsoft has expanded the number of devices that can be activated, but that only puts sugar on top of a foul-tasting mess that ultimately needs to be destroyed and built back up again from scratch. I don't begrudge content creators the ability to protect their content, but the current method takes the user out of the equation, which as demonstrated by Barnes and Noble, is a fatal step.