Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cory on audiobooks

Cory Doctorow is fed up with DRM on audiobooks.
I probably could have “pirated” the same audiobooks more quickly—after all, it's not hard to find cracked Audible titles on the Internet. This is why I can't understand why publishers or writers opt for DRM. It clearly doesn't stop real pirates from copying, and it locks good customers into the DRM vendor's ecosystem. I wouldn't sell my books through a bookseller who demanded readers only enjoy them on a chair from Wal-Mart; why would I sell my audiobooks on terms that insist my listeners only use devices approved by a DRM vendor?
So, RHA and I went to Audible and politely asked them to sell Little Brother without DRM. They turned us down flat. And because Audible is the only retailer who can sell on iTunes, that closed the door on the largest distribution channel in the world for audiobooks.
For my next book, Makers, we tried again. This time Audible agreed to carry the title without DRM. Hooray! Except now there was a new problem: Apple refused to allow DRM-free audiobooks in the Apple Store—yes, the same Apple that claims to hate DRM. Okay, we thought, we'll just sell direct through Audible, at least it's a relatively painless download process, right? Not quite. It turns out that buying an audiobook from Audible requires a long end-user license agreement (EULA) that bars users from moving their Audible books to any unauthorized device or converting them to other formats. Instead of DRM, they accomplish the lock-in with a contract."

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