Just Say No

Cory Doctorow just posted a great response over on Boing Boing to a new policy that HarperCollins is trying to impose via Overdrive: that access to digital books would expire after 26 checkouts through their online system. Artificial scarcity at its worst.

I agree with Cory's solution to this problem: Don't give your library's dollars to support these schemes. Don't purchase ebooks that have DRM. Period.

Just Say No! / Stephanie Asher / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I've noticed that some of the

I've noticed that some of the anti-DRM response to this incident is along the lines of "This time DRM is really bad, we want DRM that works better".

I hope this incident doesn't result in librarians and educators simply asking for more liberal, more student-friendly or patron-friendly forms of DRM.

The problem with Overdrive, the Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions, et al, is not the practical difficulties or monetary costs that DRM imposes. The sole problem with DRM is the legal restriction that it imposes on the user of information.

No form of DRM, no matter how convenient or user-friendly, leaves the user's rights intact, so it has to be rejected categorically.

Moments like this are times to point out what DRM is and how to avoid it, but let's not ask for better DRM in the process, let's simply boycott these vendors, or at least their electronic products, until they provide data in unencrypted, open standards-based formats, as O'Reilly Media has done with their ebooks, and as many online music stores have done with their audio files.

Boycott HarperCollins

There's now a site dedicated to a boycott of HarperCollins:

I would add to the sample letter to the co. that they should avoid any/all use of DRM in their ebook titles. Let's not ask for small negotiations; let's demand what we want.

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