Lending ebooks and DRM - what's fair?
So far, the response to this feature from the gdgt community, as well as the rest of the tech world, has been pretty lackluster. If it were up to you, how would you change the nook's lending policy? What would be the most ideal situation for you, assuming you think DRM'd ebooks are a necessary evil?
* Allow a book to be loaned for up to 3 weeks at a time.
* Increase the amount of time the a particular friend can "borrow it" - maybe 2 times? Maybe 3?
* While your book is loaned out to another friend, you should still be able to access it. This is one of the benefits of digital distribution, why not take advantage of it?
What are your ideas?
I would like to see books that are cheaper then the paperback version since their is no physical cost,
Ability to keep books in a cloud format to read on multiple devices like phone, computer, ereader
Ability to share a file between household readers unlimitedly
and thats all i can think of right now.
I guess I don't fit Dave's requirements because I don't believe DRM is a necessary evil. I don't believe it is necessary for any product.... The people that buy buy and the people that don't don't... DRM changes nothing but occasionally it screws the people that buy too.....
On the other hand there is one scenario where it makes sense to have a time limit on the lending duration and it is as follows: If Bob lends Alice a book they both have to be online to sync with a server that allows DRMed content to work on the other device. If Alice doesn't give Bob back his book he might not be able to access it. However a timed lending period will ensure that Bob will get his book back even if Alice doesn't bother to give it back. Convenient technology.
So far so good! Now lets talk ugly. There really is no reason that content be given to people only a fixed number of times. This probably infringes on the rights of the materials' users since it is not a violation of copyrights to passover copyrighted material in its original form and yet restricts fair use in a probably illegal manner. I also think it is very inconvenient, and one of the evils of having someone else who makes money out of what you buy, control how you use what you paid for. The way this thing works only serves as an advertisement to the copyright holders. If this is the case then the copy owners (Bob in this case) should be compensated for advertising (to Alice) the same way TV broadcasters are compensated for airing ads. Bob should also be compensated more for prime time lending which can be vacation time for stories and school period for academic books. I know this idea seems pretty out there (in the cold getting lonely getting old) but then no one controls how many times I lend my paper books to my friends so why start accepting it now. I will accept to distort my rights to your (publishers) views if you agree to distort your rights to mine. This will weed out bad laws since it balances what others find acceptable to enforce onto you if they have to weigh in that you have equal right/ability to enforce bad laws onto them. That is my only gripe.
Other than that the nook is probably as much a game changer as the iPod was. All ebook readers out there are the same device and may differ only based on services and content. The nook is the only device that does make people consider buying the device for its feature set and ease of use instead of its invested publisher base like the Kindle. Unlike the rest of the competition, both content navigation and content reading are perfect. Since it is running Android, I would expect that the usability of the device will only get better over time as customer feedback starts flowing in.