I Don’t Know What DRM Is, But I’m Against It

Day Against DRM

Well, OK, I do know what DRM is. But the biggest problem in the fight against it is the term itself. Even if he or she knows that it stands for digital rights management, the average, intelligent, but non-digerati person on the street has no clue what it means.

There are plenty of signs that book publishers are losing their taste for putting locks on the media you buy, just as music publishers have mostly done. But the process could be speeded up, I believe, if we could just come up with a better term for DRM.

As with the similarly opaque term net neutrality, which more people would favor if they understood what it was, DRM—term and practice alike—is protected by its obscurity. I admit that most of the alternatives I can come up with—locked media, restricted use rights, captive e-books—don’t resonate. So here’s an opening for someone out there who has the killer term that will, in fact, kill DRM, once and for all.

In the meantime, why not visit the Day Against DRM website and learn more about why you too should be against DRM?

Apple’s iPad May Help Save Publishing, But Not This Way

iPad from Apple Inc.Of all the publishing-industry reactions to the debut of Apple’s iPad so far, the strangest may be a suggestion that the iPad and other e-readers will allow magazines to give up the Web. In a brief blog post on Folio: today, Donald Seckler proposes that as e-readers soar in popularity, they will offer an attractive alternative to the Web. Rather than give away content free on your Web site, he says, offer it only on e-readers. And of course, charge a bundle for it. Print-publishing saved, case closed.

Seckler’s post appears to arise from a traditionalist print-publisher view of the Internet as a refuge for thieves and brigands, who “easily grab and reuse your content.” So the obvious solution is to “take away the free content” on the Web and make sure that “there is only one place for people to turn for your brand’s expert content.”

Seckler doesn’t share his views without trepidation. “I know that sounds a little crazy,” he says. “OK, a lot crazy.”

No, Donald, not crazy. Just dumb. A lot dumb.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, let’s quickly review a few key precepts of the new-media reality:

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What B2B Can Learn from Jeff Jarvis

A Review of What Would Google Do?

What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis. HarperBusiness, 2009.

The world of business-to-business publishing is falling to pieces. Ad pages and revenue are plummeting, staffs are being decimated, and magazines are being shut down or cut back at a dramatic pace. And no, it’s not just the recession, which has merely accelerated a long-term and irreversible trend. So the question for B2B professionals is, What are we to do?

Jeff Jarvis suggests that’s not quite the right way to phrase the question. Rather, we should ask, What would Google do?

Why Google? Because, Jarvis says, there is simply no better example to help us understand “how to survive and prosper in the Internet age.”

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