Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New petition demands an end to Kindle DRM, faces long odds; Ars Technica, 8/4/09

Nate Anderson via Ars Technica; New petition demands an end to Kindle DRM, faces long odds:

"It was that decision to link the Kindle hardware and store with a new DRM scheme that led the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to add the Kindle to its "Defective by Design" anti-DRM campaign.

The group has now launched a petition asking Amazon to "remove all DRM, including any ability to control or access the user's library, from the Kindle... Whatever Amazon's reasons for imposing this control may be, they are not as important as the public's freedom to use books without interference or supervision."

The Foundation took particular exception to two decisions that Amazon made. First was the company's decision to address publisher concerns about the Kindle's text-to-speech feature by giving book publishers a way to disable the automated reading of their titles. Second was Amazon's almost unimaginably bad decision to remove already purchased books from customers' devices—and not just any books, but the George Orwell titles 1984 and Animal Farm...

These issues are certainly troubling, and the FSF is right to call Amazon to account for them. But to most consumers, the bigger concern about DRM is vendor lock-in...

The shift to electronic books provides obvious advantages in convenience and portability (every Ars staffer who owns a Kindle swears by it), but those books can only be read on devices that support Kindle DRM. Just as with music, people run the risk of making a significant investment into a product that they cannot resell and which may well become obsolete or unreadable in a decade—or whenever they decide to switch e-reader brands. "

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