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Cam writes in with just about the perfect parable about why DRM just sucks:

I thought you’d be amused to hear the circumstances which caused me to pick up and read Little Brother.

Being a pretty big nerd (I’m a tech director at Electronic Arts by day), I was excited to pick up a Sony ebook reader. I got the last one in the shop, which was actually a return – but the sales guy assured me that they’d “reconditioned it”.

After taking it home and installing Sony’s terrible, terrible ebook software I was only moderately surprised to find that I couldn’t “authorise” my new reader to read their DRM-laden ebooks. It gave me the always helpful error code of “3-013”. Googling this code told me that (of course) the reader was already authorised (presumably to the person who bought it the first time).

I contacted Sony’s only means of support, which was a web form on their site. Hours later, I received a response telling me that I needed to call their support line, which was open until 6PM. Naturally this email arrived at 5:58PM, and the support line kindly informed me that I should call back the next day. I think their time calculation function must suffer from some floating point inaccuracy.

Cursing my now apparently totally useless $300 device, I decided to read a free ebook to tide me over until I could call Sony the next day. I’m a regular boing boing reader and remembered your posts on Little Brother, so I downloaded it and started reading.

Needless to say, not only did I really enjoy reading it (and yes I know it’s nominally a book for kids!) but I’ve yet to make that call to authorise my device, and I’ve been reading more Creative Commons-licensed books.

So long story short, DRM turned me onto Little Brother and onto other CC-licensed works. I thought you might find that amusing.

Cam Dunn

PS Nice work making Little Brother technically accurate in so many ways (ignoring the “near future” technologies). I get the impression that you’d lose your tech-savvy kid readers these days if you didn’t get that stuff so right.