I should have been a copyright lawyer
The rollout of digital rights management (DRM) software has been an unmitigated disaster for media companies. Whether or not companies find a negotiated line with customers between protecting rights and protecting fuctionality is to be seen, but the cacophonous backlash to rights management of CDs has ruined whatever credibility music companies may have had left.
This week introduced another irony to the DRM debacle: the BBC reports that rights-managed eBooks don’t ever stop their rights management, even after the copyright has expired and allowed the book to be in the public domain. So in addition to crippling individual computers with unsafe software, media publishers flaunt copyright law on fair-use in favor of defending copyright law pre-expiry.
“It is probable that no key would still exist to unlock the DRMs,” Laca said. “For libraries this is serious.”
“As custodians of human memory, a number would keep digital works in perpetuity and may need to be able to transfer them to other formats in order to preserve them and make the content fully accessible and usable once out of copyright.”
In other words, DRM for digital books completely undermines the mission of libraries and archives. Works can’t be kept, salvaged, or shared. And under laws being considered in certain jurisdictions, it would be illegal to attempt to hack the DRM software.
Seems like a great time to get a degree in copyright law!