Cory Doctorow's


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  1. Nice talk. I like the Law. Very succinct.

    I just read Little Brother. It’s excellent. Good luck with the awards.

    Comment by Nate — April 16, 2009 @ 2:33 am

  2. […] and the Whip Hand: Don’t Get iTunesed with your eBooks –Cory Doctorow Via Craphound, video of Cory Doctorow’s talk on DRM and ebooks from the O’Reilly Tools Of Change for […]

    Pingback by Digital Distribution and the Whip Hand: Don’t Get iTunesed with your eBooks –Cory Doctorow « Nerdweb — April 16, 2009 @ 2:47 am

  3. Well done Cory, loved the presentation. I’m going to go talk to my amazon sales rep and digital rights mgr. : )

    Comment by Alexander Field — April 19, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  4. Hi Cory, long time since we chatted at Lift’06 in Geneva and exchanged a few email afterward…
    Once again I really enjoyed your talk but it’s still striking to me how much I agree with you on almost every point you make except for one : your radical position on DRM.
    Basically your arguments prove to be 100% right given the current design of DRM systems and their careless consideration for end-users, user experience and fair use.
    To that respect the FSF campaign also clearly pictures the state of affairs one couldn’t agree more with.
    Now, if something is defective (by design), isn’t this a call for action to redesign it ? To rethink it ? As a researcher in DRM this is what has led me to work on this interesting yet hard problem considering Ed Felten’s Copyright Balance Principle for DRM public policies (CACM V. 48, No. 7, July 2005, p. 112) whereby “a user wishing to make lawful use of copyrighted material should not be prevented from doing so by any DRM system”.

    So, here’s my “What If” comment : What if we reversed one of the fundamental (flawed) assumptions underlying DRM. Namely the “Distrust Assumption”, allowing users to make almost unilateral yet accountable claims of legitimate usage situations (e.g., Exceptions)
    As everyone now clearly understands, total security is neither achievable nor desirable. Consequently, given the right user experience and business models a redesigned DRM system could prove to become an enabler for innovative digital content commerce where most users would smoothly comply with minor requirements provided they are clearly known and announced. I also liked your point about EULA reduced to a bare minimum especially considering as you suggested 12 year old kids. This makes sense. Most users aren’t criminals and the presumption of innocence should prevail as a general principle offloading the burden of proof to the party having a legitimate claim to make.

    The US FTC recently held a Town Hall meeting on DRM at UW School of Law : As a panelist on the future of DRM panel I basically argued along those lines, calling for creatively rethinking and redesigning DRM altogether (webcast and transcript available on the website).
    At the end of the day, the question isn’t really whether DRM will survive or not, but rather how to get it right with respect to user experience and a positive sum game for all in terms of added value. Even if the music battle appears to be “lost” for now, we’re still facing major issues with so called premium content (videos and TV shows), ebook content of course, games, software, etc. DRM is here to stay it’s just a matter of figuring out how, in the best interest of all actors in this ecosystem.
    As another example in the gaming industry, one of the panelists ( Jan Samzelius, CEO of ByteShield, Inc.) also argued along similar lines, stressing that the question is not “to DRM or not to DRM” but “How to DRM” ( )

    Hope this might help get out of the radical debate of “total VS no DRM” and further contribute to promote the idea of creative rethinking / co-creation / co-redesign of DRM as an opportunity rather than a threat to our liberties. Your comments are always welcome and all the best for the Prometheus Awards.

    Comment by Jean-Henry Morin — April 21, 2009 @ 5:22 am

  5. I’ve downloaded as well as purchased your books in the past. Now with the question of DRM free ebooks on the minds of distributors like amazon, I want the opportunity to pay for a DRM free ebook. I was on amazon, looking at some of your books, and they have a link to “tell the publisher” that “I’d like to read this book on Kindle.” Can clicking this link send the message to amazon that consumers want these books DRM free for the kindle?

    Comment by Joel — April 21, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  6. […] digital world holds its own dangers.  Cory Doctorow gives us Doctorow’s Law about the dangers of DRM in this eye-opening speech to the publishing […]

    Pingback by The Future Digital Life :: The Digital Singularity :: — April 21, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  7. […] Also Found at Blip: And also from Cory’s site, […]

    Pingback by Cory Doctorow and DRM « The Cat Eats Cheetos — May 13, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  8. […] has spoken eloquently to audiences ranging from Google to publisher’s conventions about the inevitability of free information, and proposed a model where all Internet users would […]

    Pingback by Cory Doctorow Primer for the Unindocrinated « Canada’s World — May 31, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  9. […] Publishing-konferens, som hölls i New York i april. Tyvärr kunde ingen av oss vara där, men hela föreläsningen går förstås att avnjuta via webben. Under titeln “Digital Distribution and the Whip Hand: […]

    Pingback by “To DRM or not to DRM, that is not the question” « publitbloggen — June 24, 2009 @ 1:53 am

  10. I am getting ready to publish a book and while researching protecting a flash ebook I ran across your “O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference in NYC”. I am in agreement with what you have said but I am still looking for a venue for my book. A delivery system where I make $10 per issue and keep the costs to to below $20 per copy.

    My target audience is high school students and my ebook is how to attend private college for 75% off. So do you have any suggestions besides avoiding DRM. I am beginning to give thought to having all of the info up on a web site that allows two different ISP’s addresses using the same user and password.

    I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions. I have articles ready to place up on the internet to drive to my web site and also have ads to place in such places as Facebook. But how to deliver is the big question. If I can get just two percent of the SAT takers of the to buy my book each year my world would change.

    Thank you for your time

    Comment by Mike Whelan — October 19, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

  11. […] Publishing-konferens, som hölls i New York i april. Tyvärr kunde ingen av oss vara där, men hela föreläsningen går förstås att avnjuta via webben. Under titeln “Digital Distribution and the Whip Hand: […]

    Pingback by “To DRM or not to DRM, that is not the question” | — November 17, 2009 @ 1:41 am

  12. […] Never a good idea. Needless to say, I’m a proponent of Mr. Doctorow’s and agree with “Doctorow’s Law.” That is: Any time someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and […]

    Pingback by The Future of Genre Fiction (an interview by Marc Marion) Part 3 – Grasping for the Wind — May 14, 2010 @ 8:03 am

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