In serving big company interests, copyright is in crisis

Originally published at:


Giving corporations greater and greater power over popular expression has consequences? Why I never! /s



They already do this as a standard matter. I subscribe to several magazines (Hillary Queen, Asimov’s, etc) but one was only available on Amazon in digital format - to my horror I found out that they delete old volumes from your library - volumes you bought and paid for - and there is no way to get them back.

I now do business only with Barnes & Nobel for digital - and I know they have DRM - but at least they don’t (as a matter of course) delete your library - giving you access to all volumes you purchased.

1 Like


On the other hand, they do keep you from even getting a look at the stuff you HAVE “purchased” – or at least paid them for – right from the start. I bought a bunch of John Scalzi’s e-books (Tor doesn’t do DRM) from B&N and only after the “purchase” discovered that the only thing they “gave” me was the right to read those books online in real time. No downloads, despite the fact that in theory they weren’t DRM’d. I bought them for reading when I was far from network access, so it was a total write off.

To this date I have never been able to read those books, and I’m too stubborn to pay for them a second time. It’s just not worth the annoyance of going back and checking again to see if they’re reappeared, and eventually B&N will either cancel my account, lose the “books,” or maybe I’ll lose the crypto keys to that login. Whatever, they’ve lost the business of someone who has spent several thousand dollars with them prior.

As far as I know, Tor and Baen are the only publishers who don’t DRM, and the retailers (like B&N and Amazon) either DRM even their stuff or make it very hard to find out without purchasing whether they do. Again, not worth the trouble.


Or, despite the sacrifice, they can decide from the beginning to simply never – and I mean NEVER
“buy” DRM’d works. Full stop. I did that a long time ago when it was a fairly “cheap” decision and at each step as more and more publishers went DRM I had small regrets at the things I was giving up. Small ones.

Then I looked at my hardcopy book collection, going back the 17th century and up through many classics of science fiction (including close to 30 years’ of Analog and original copies of many classics) and remind myself that those will still be readable by my grandchildren when I’m long dead. I look at the shelves and shelves of CD music that might not be as high-resolution as newer encodings but is also DRM-free and already mostly transcoded to files that are documented, readable by software libre and again will be playable even if someday the works become public domain (again, long after I am dead.)

Maybe there are others like me, few as we might be. Let’s hope so. The 20th and 21st centuries, for all their faults, have done some good and it will be a shame to have it all go up in DRM smoke and mirrors.


Do people here have a clear sense of the best way to remove audible DRM btw (if this is pushing things please delete)? They brought something in so that they will only allow me to put books onto my iPod if I’m using the most recent version of iTunes, which is fairly awful and insists on resetting my library away from my nice fat RAID and onto my small, fast, easily filled by SSD boot drive.
I have no intention to share the thing I purchased, but I did purchase them, and would like to actually play them on the device of my choice.

Thanks to the whole atomization of streaming services, I’ve gone back to my roots. :smiling_imp:

Yo ho a pirate life for me… *boots up torrent client*

1 Like

Seems to me that it all comes down to expecting people to understand that they need to pay somehow for the content that they enjoy even though it effectively cost nothing to flawlessly duplicate. In a way, it’s not intuitive at all.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.