Unpublished Papers

Digital Rights Management Lite: Freeing ebooks from Reader Devices and Software.

Dana B. Robinson, University of San Diego School of Law

Abstract

With explosive growth in the ebook market, publishers are looking for ways to effectively distribute ebooks while preventing those ebooks from being resold or used in violation of terms of use. The current market is dominated by ebook reader software and hardware (Kindle/Nook), which is intended to control the ebook, and prevent redistribution of the digital file. However, users want ebooks free of constraints and can easily crack the digital rights management "DRM" currently being used. Those intent on misconduct are not stopped by DRM, while honorable consumers are punished by complicated DRM solutions.

Some in the industry are calling for ebooks to be distributed without DRM, but others are concerned that the removal of DRM will lead to ebook anarchy.

This paper proposes a solution that allows ebooks to be sold as portable documents that can be used on any device without technical restriction. The paper proposes a novel solution that the author calls DRM Lite, consisting of a visible digital watermark the contains the consumer's name, email and other personal information, as well as publishing information, as a means of preventing the redistribution of an ebook.

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