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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

George Orwell, Digital Rights Management And Bad Touching

Back in July, Amazon made news by reaching out and touching their Kindles. It was a bad touch. Amazon claims they inadvertently sold a e-copy of George Orwell’s “1984” from a vendor who was not legitimately allowed to sell it. Rather than pony up the money to the appropriate vendor or publicizing an “oops”, Amazon reached out and deleted the book off of the Kindles. Oddly enough the irony of an Orwellian response to a problem didn’t seem to compute to the folks at Amazon. If they had shipped a hard copy book to all of the same buyers of “1984” and performed a physical storm trooper assault on peoples homes to get the book and burn it, there would be bodies everywhere. The key here is hard copy vs. e-copy. Digital Rights Management means you really never own something you are only borrowing it for a stated time period. Incidentally Amazon saw that they made an incredibly stupid (Obama’s descriptive word on Cambridge Cops, not mine.) mistake and promised it won’t happen again. If I was as handy producing code as I am blogging, I would be busting my butt to write a software package that would block anyone from coming into my Kindle and deleting anything I had purchased. I wouldn’t believe Amazon either unless I received in writing an amendment to my Kindle service agreement clearly stating they will keep their Orwellian mitts off of it.

The issue here isn’t really Amazon and the Kindle. It is Digital Rights Management and do you really own your e-copy. Until I see a clear cut defining of a customer’s unassailable right of ownership to his e-copy, I won’t be buying e-books.


Vicky Milza said...


The purpose of DRM is to prevent unauthorized redistribution of digital media and restrict the ways consumers can copy content they have purchased. Typically, DRM is implemented by embedding code that prevents copying, specifies a time period in which the content can be accessed or limits the number of devices the media can be installed on. Thank you...

Security Software

wbentrim said...


DRMs purpose is apparent but the solution often provides a less than pleasant experience for the legitimate user.

wbentrim said...

Looking at your website I can understand your interest in DRM but preventing unauthorized intrusion to private documents is substantially different than blocking users from using a legitimate purchase on their own devices.

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