Monday, June 28, 2010

Artificial Scarcity - E-Books

Back in the olden days of books, books was not easy to copy. Before the invention of the printing press, books had to be copied by hand. With the invention of the printing press, mass production of books can begin. However because they were so big and expensive, only companies could afford printing presses needed to easily copy books, not the average person. This made copyright on books relatively easy to enforce. In fact, copyright was originally intended to prevent other publishers reprinting work without permission of the original publisher.

This changed with the introduction of e-books, which like any other digital bits, are easily copyable, threatening scarcity-based business models. The e-book device vendors, as with other industries affected by this, responded by creating DRM schemes. One of the features of many of them is that they allowed remote control that is not possible with real property. For example, back in mid-2009, the copies of the "Animal Farm" and "1984" e-books Amazon Kindle customers bought disappeared this way. The FSF has critised the Kindle, calling it the "Swindle", for it's DRM scheme.

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