Michael GartenbergOh, no! The Hollywood-bought DMCA has dashed DRM fan Michael Gartenberg‘s hopes of forever accessing his Microsoft Reader books without the usual hoops to jump through! Jack Valenti, pat this boy on the head. Oh, but wait! Michael still hasn’t deleted his evil link to the Amber program. Also, he says he’ll consult with legal experts about his personal use of Amber. No telling what they’ll say, but many lawyers would warn him that the DMCA doesn’t respect fair use. Circumvention of copy-protection is circumvention, so does it really matter that Amber doesn’t change the files and requires “an activated computer that reads them”? Meanwhile, Michael, while awaiting the word from your favorite cyberlaw mavens, don’t forget to delete the nefarious link.

The OpenReader stand on DRM: If you must do it, do it right–with more attention paid to consumer convenience. On the convenience factor, OpenReader would totally agree with Gartenberg. I hope he’ll understand the advantages of a standardized approach, which would be easier for vendors to support. I’m not anti-Gartenberg, by the way–just anti-Draconian DRM and anti-DMCA.


  1. There is no balance between DRM and customer convenience.
    It cannot happen.
    Light DRM leads to heavier DRM leads to a total protection model where only signed code can run and small vendors are priced out of competing in the platform ecosystem.

    Fundamentally, code cannot handle the vagueness of copyright.

    “Rights” management should be limitted to digitally signed, human readable information on who to contact to obtain various rights for commercial use — without restricting cut&pasting a relevent portion to illustrate a point or eliminating niche platforms where readers cannot be profitably supported.

    Anything beyond this will be customer hostile by definition, since it assumes the customer is trying to break it.

  2. Hello,

    I’m from te Netherlands and lately have made myself familiar with all discussions around ebooks.
    I think ereader has quite an acceptable solution by linking DRM to your creditcardnumber.
    Isn’t that a more friendly solution?


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