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On Fri 13 June, I went along to The Literary Consultancy's conference and heard Cory Doctorow speak about DRM (digital rights management), the scary side of monitoring, why you shouldn't support DRM and some sobering information about the freedom of creation and the internet.
I don't have DRM on my indie books, and I certainly support the fight against censorship on the internet, BUT this talk helped me realize the extent of my own ignorance about these issues.
I'm now remedying this situation by reading a LOT more about it – this is a critical part of our future as creatives and as internet entrepreneurs. I hope you will feel the same way after you've listened to this speech.
You can listen to the talk below. The main talk is the first 23 mins and I've broken down some notes below. After 23 mins is the Q&A
Here are a few notes:
Doctorow's 3 Laws
- Anytime someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't give you the key, it's not there for your benefit. On why DRM is a bad idea. Also, how Hachette is one of the publishers with mandatory DRM. Plus, indies should make sure they actively choose not to use DRM – on some of the distribution sites, it is auto-selected. It's certainly not necessary – as publisher Tor is now DRM free.
- Fame won't make you rich but you'll have a hard time getting sales if no one has heard of you. Starts around 9mins in. Discusses how the deal for creators has got worse as the big conglomerates have consolidated into larger organizations. Talking about copyright laws, entertainment companies and law suits that are trying to control technology. Mentions Hugh Howey and indie authors, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Madonna switching to the concert organizer instead of a record label/distributor.
- Information doesn't want to be free. Starts at around 17mins. On censorship, privacy and more. The laws that protect DRM also stop the disclosure of flaws that can harm you. Scary stuff about ‘ratting,' how your devices including your computer's camera can be hacked – but now it is illegal to inform you how you can protect yourself. Seriously, this is awful stuff.
- The Open Rights Group
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Author's Alliance
- Cory's fiction covers many of his campaigning issues in a sci-fi wrapper – I'm currently reading Makers, which is fantastic
- Cory Doctorow's website
- News on tech issues including privacy, DRM and internet freedom at BoingBoing.net, run by Cory
What do you think about these issues? Please comment below. If you're specifically knowledgable about this area, please add links in the comments to more resources. This feels like a critical topic for us to be more educated about.
I disagree with Cory Doctorow on many things, but I agree with the 3 Laws.
Thanks Joanna, I really enjoyed the interview. This is definitely a topic authors need to be informed of.
Jim Self says
Cory’s a smart fellow with a lot of insight on a lot of topics. I don’t always agree with him either, but he’s always worth listening to.