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Why DRM is bad, reason #732

Nov 23, 2010   [permalink]

I just received this email:

Dear HarperCollins eBook Customer,

As of November 19, 2010, the HarperCollins eBook Store has been discontinued. We are contacting you so that you have the opportunity to download and archive the titles you have purchased. To download previously purchased titles, sign in and visit your 'My library' http:.... page. After December 19, 2010 titles that have not been downloaded will no longer be accessible.

We appreciate your patronage, and we regret any inconvenience this may cause you.

Sincerely,

The HarperCollins e-books Support Team

It's annoying enough I or any customer should have to waste time downloading books because they've decided not to make them available any more. DRM is to blame here because without it, it wouldn't matter which of my many[*] ebook readers the book was on, I'd be able to easily copy it from one to another. ([*] At last count I have eight ebook readers in the house, not counting PCs.)

But that's not the biggest problem:

After I download the book from HarperCollins and try to open it, the error I get is, ironically, "The retailer website from which you have downloaded the ebook could not be identified, please redownload this ebook directly from the retailer website."

A DRM-free ebook wouldn't have that problem.

(Even more ironic, this particular title in the screenshot was a free ebook they released to promote sales! No need to lock it up at all.)

The point is not about the particular books, but that DRM fails when the supplier quits providing the unlock keys. Which, as you can see, they do. It's not the first time it's happened. Walmart did the same thing with digital music.

Most people are honest. Sell the product for a fair price and you don't need locks on it. DRM only impedes legitimate people without stopping pirates.

DRM = FAIL.

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