Monday, October 22, 2012

Digital Rights Mismanagement...or why I'll never own a Kindle

Digital Rights Management. That term alone sounds pretty open ended and so loosely ambiguous to the average person that it could come to mean just about anything doesn't it?  I can't tell you what the original concept was 'exactly' meant to be, I can only assume that it was intended to help protect the rights of the original issuers of digital content... Perhaps it was designed to curtail monetary or creative property 'losses' in the event of rampant 'sharing', another sort of a stop-gap measure to prevent pirating or copyright infringements, but those would just be my own interpretations of the term. The actual meaning appears to be: Any technology than inhibits uses of digital content that are not desired or intended by the content provider, with the intent to limit the use of digital content after sale.

As it turns out, this term like so many others has been taken to a new and different limits of definition and actually, (as of 2012) at least to the likes of Amazon, (or as I call'em 'Shamazon') DRM has come to mean a new twist on the old shop owners often unspoken but basic rule of; "We reserve the right to refuse service to customers we do not like".  Sadly, for one kindle customer, Shamazon decided (and without complete clarification) that she was no longer was entitled to any of the property she had bought and paid in full for. In essence, Shamazon came to her home and took it all back, but did leave her with the empty husk of a now, completely non functional 'Kindle' tablet unit, as a reminder to her that they have the power to flout the 'actual' laws of purchase and sales, with no holds barred, just because they are the amazing Shamazon.

According to Martin Bekkelund's blog post, his friend Linn was 'associated' or connected in some strange way (which has never been sufficiently explained to her or anyone) with an another account that Michael Murphy, an executive of 'Customer Relations' of has somehow deemed unfit.  As a result,  he/they have decided that she no longer has the right to own any digital thing they sold to her ( specifically, books), that she  purchased outright.  Repeated requests made by Linn to Shamazon and Mr Michael Murphy, have been met with no explanation, they simply keep replying to her with repeated declarations of their 'judgement' and their imposed 'punishment' is apparently to be a denial of service and/or any reasonable explanation for the whole thing.  

Even the original writer of a book cannot 'repossess' it after purchase, if you suddenly show a flaw in character... Since when do we allow the secondary, essentially the shopkeepers an even greater level of power and possession than the original writer of said material? Just what heinous or nefarious things could Linn possibly be doing with her ebooks that might warrant Shamazon taking them all away from her?  Very likely, nothing REALLY happened... but rather, someone, somewhere probably got some little bit of information wrong in coding or data entry of a digit or letter and now Linn has been robbed of her purchased e-library.  This whole fiasco points up the fact that  Mr Murphy may have a slightly different interpretation of DRM than the rest of us do...

So, all you poorer, but proud owners of those bright, shiny Kindle tablet type units, please take this as a lesson or at the very least a warning or what may be possible.  Perhaps in the future you might, rather than say you 'bought' a brand new ebook (and paid for with your hard earned money), you might more correctly state rather, that you have RENTED a brand new ebook, and will have possession of that book for only just as long as Shamazon thinks you deserve to, deems you worthy of or up until such time as Shamazon determines it convenient to Shamazon with the terms of said buyer's agreement to be changeable by Shamazon only...

THAT my friends, is exactly why I will ALWAYS prefer the unwieldy, weightier, bound, ink-on-paper 'print' editions of REAL books over the the fanciful and costly (since now we see they are really only RENTED, not truly purchased as we originally supposed) versions like those things called 'ebooks' on Kindle.  At the very  least when I buy a 'hard copy' print edition book, it stays bought...  

I love and own a large library.  I have worked my whole life toward having one, personally choosing  each of the titles and collecting each of the specific books that make it up and since each volume within it, is physically real and not of the digital 'e' type, no one can ever lay claim that, because of some odd or strange internet 'association', that I no longer have the right to own such a library and take it away.

Incidentally,  if someone ever did decide to try and say ordo such a thing... I just might pick up one of those bigger, heavier, 'real'  books and give them a good, solid thumping with it.

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