How copyright law gives Amazon too much power over the book industry

Posted on October 26, 2014

Timothy B. Lee, for Vox :

I mostly agree with my colleague Matt Yglesias’s argument that Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers. But there’s at least one way US law gives Amazon excessive power, to the detriment of publishers, authors, and the reading public: ill-conceived copyright regulations lock consumers into Kindle’s book platform, making it hard for new e-book platforms to gain traction.

Both Yglesias’s (linked in the quote) and Lee’s arguments are very interesting for me. But Lee is making a point there. DRM on Amazon eBooks and Kindle devices are awful consumer wise. They are punishing you for buying a book by putting so many restrictions, like not being able to use your book on an another device than an approved Kindle, that you don’t get when you pirate it. And those DRMs are ineffective : hackers always find a way to break them.

Tell me about how useful your DRMs are. Apple understood that putting DRMs on the music sold on iTunes was much more cumbersome that the benefits that it should have brought, and didn’t succeeded to. So that’s why they make pressure on the Music industry to remove them. But it’s still there for movies, TV shows, and ebooks too. So, if I buy a movie on the iTunes store, the only way for me to watch it on my TV is to buy an Apple TV. I can’t use my Roku 3 or my Playstation 3 or my Chromecast to see them. So, the only way for me is to buy a Blu-Ray, full of DRM too, and incompatible with most computers and ALL Apple devices, or download them on a shady website for free. Using the Playstation Store or the Google Play Store will lead to the same situation : being locked down to only one place. Now, tell me about how useful your DRMs are.

I think that the entertainment industry should be more focused on enhancing the user experience and satisfaction, instead of seeing bad things everywhere, and threat people like suspected thieves. Removing DRMs and letting people do what whey want with what they bought seems to be a good start.