Michael Gartenberg: I’d have to disagree with Cory Doctrow’s position on DRM

Michael Gartenberg: I’d have to disagree with Cory Doctrow’s position on DRM: “Our research shows clearly that DRM is only an issue to consumers when it’s technology they keep bumping into.”

There’s a lot of truth in that. The first protected eBook I bought was Scott Adams’ God’s Debris. It was in a proprietry DRM’d format, and the first thing I did was use the fact that he’d allowed printing to turn it into text. Once it was text, I could format it how I wanted it, and copy it to my Palm to read wherever I wanted to, instead of having to sit at my computer at home to read it. Once I’d reformatted my computer, and didn’t have a copy of the reader software any more, it didn’t matter. I still used the text format version. I’ve not passed it around to other people. That wasn’t the point – I only found a way around the protection in order to use it in the way I wanted to.

Now, I get my books from eReader, and read them on my Palm. There’s a reader availabe for Pocket PC, too, if I’m ever tempted to try the Dark Side, and there’s readers available for Windows and for Mac. I’ve never yet run into it’s copy protection, so I’ve never felt the need to break it. I’ve heard there’s tools to do it if I needed to, but I don’t. There’s a perfectly good reader available for every platform I’m likely to use (though not one for Linux if I head that way at any point), and the protection is based on my credit card number. I’m not about to hand that around to people, but it makes it easy to share books with Sam. I don’t bump into the protection, so I’m happy with it.

UPDATE: Sorry – I forgot to post a link to Cory’s original speech. There. That’s better. I should probably also add that for the most part, I agree with Cory’s original take, but Michael’s addition, that if the DRM doesn’t bug you, you’ll probably just accept it, certainly seems to apply to me. I don’t actually like DRM, but if it doesn’t get in my way, I’m far too lazy to do anything about it.