Disappearing eBooks

DRM Digital Rights Management has jumped back into the headlines with the closing of Microsoft’s eBook store. Users of the store found not only was the store closing but it was also taking it’s books with it. https://futurism.com/microsoft-closing-ebook-store The DRM software that comes loaded with the file makes this as easy as flipping a switch or answering a server request.

Very few users realize, (how could they), that you don’t technically own digital content. What your dollars buy you is the license to consume it. I am sure at some point this may see a challenge in the courts, but for now it is what it is. DRM doesn’t only applies to eBooks. Music, movies, and video games all use this software, and at any given time could disappear back into the cloud. This should be a cautionary tale and there are some things you can do. Foremost would be to purchase digital content that is free of DRM software. It is out there if you look. You could also keep your content on a device that does not connect to the internet. This could impede the working of the content, but in the cases of eBooks and music stored on the device and not in the cloud it could prevent it from getting turned off. Beyond that this is just the new digital world we must come to get used to. DRM came about to protect intellectual properties to the benefit of their creators. In reality it’s been a tool to give content providers a lock on the content and to hinder competition.

With any luck some senator or representative may lament the loss of their copy of Harry Potter enough to do something about it. For now we are at the whims DRM and the online stores that wield it’s power over our libraries. No one ever said progress is easy.

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