Friday, March 7, 2014

Man vs DRM

So I recently bought a book. It's an ebook, actually. Ebooks are how I buy and consume about half my books these days, maybe a little more. In the past I have always bought from the Kindle store because I own a kindle and it is wonderfully convenient. Until I want to share my books. This isn't usually a problem but I happened to know that this particular book I was buy is a book my wife would want to read. So instead of buying it from Amazon and having it tied to my Amazon account, thus necessitating my wife borrowing my kindle if she were to read said book, I bought it from another store.

This store sold books in epub format. Kindles don't read epub format. Okay. No problem. I anticipated this would be the case and I was already prepared to convert the book to the correct format for me and epub would work fine for my wife.

So I purchase the book and download the file.

Or not. Actually, I didn't download the book. I downloaded a ticket, a digital coupon, if you like, for the book. To get the actual book, I had to download another program to download the book. This program would get me the actual epub and would register it to my computer.

Okay. This was kind of a pain in the ass but, whatever. Sure, this locks it down to only usable on up to six systems, but I really only need it to work on three systems - one computer, one kindle and one tablet. Easy. All right, books downloaded, good to go.

No. The DRM won't allow me to convert the file and use it.

Okay. Well shit. Now I'm getting mad. I paid for this fucking book and I want to read it. It is my book, now, I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want with it. If I want to print it out, lather it in chocolate syrup and dry hump it while skating down the Sydney Opera House then I so fucking be it, I gave you money for a copy and now you give me my fucking ebook!

Sigh. Deep breaths. Okay.

It takes me all of five minutes to find, download and use a DRM stripping tool. Now I have my book. Now I can use it on whatever devise I want and I can do as I please. Problem solved!

And do you know what I did then? I cancelled my account with the store I bought the book from. I have just enough patience to let Amazon get away with this sort of shit and they offer a lot of in the way of convenience and pleasant buying experience to make up for it. I just will not tolerate it more than I have to.

DRM is bullshit. DRM does not work. If I wanted to (I don't, but if I did) I could now upload this book as a torrent, I could sell it for fifty cents on the street corner, I could mass email a copy to every person I've ever known in my life and all it took was five minutes of my time to get rid of the DRM. Nothing in the way of anti-piracy has been accomplished. The only thing that happened is the businesses involved pissed me off. Now I'm not giving them my money ever again. They can go fuck themselves.

This is the truth about DRM. DRM does not stop piracy. If it did, piracy would be over. I doubt DRM has even made a dent. The only people actually affected by DRM are regular consumers who want to support businesses and attain their goods the old fashioned, legal way. This kid of bullshit does not need to be in my world.

I'm not mentioning any of the websites, programs or businesses involved in this little book buying drama because I am not making a call to boycott or anything so drastic. All I'm saying is: Fuck you, DRM.

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