People Are Using The iPad Instead of a PC: Computer tablets are growing in popularity and the iPad is certainly the King of the tablet world today. And although a PC or laptop is still a better choice if one has to do computer work that requires a great deal of writing and thus typing; the iPad is increasingly being used as a great tool in a variety of contexts. People are using their iPads to take notes during business meetings and conferences, they are using their iPads as great traveling companions as they can surf the Internet, access their e-mail, play games, watch videos and read all via a light weight portable tablet. And many people have additionally discovered that the many children’s level apps for the iPad offer kids an almost unlimited amount of educational, reading, viewing and gaming material.

Here’s a link to a related CNET article, titled Six scenarios where the iPad is trouncing the PC, that discusses several increasingly popular uses of the iPad:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57429122-37/six-scenarios-where-the-ipad-is-trouncing-the-pc/

 

Why DRM Should Be Done Away With: For those of you who may not know this, DRM is an acronym that stands for “Digital Rights Management.” And basically DRM is a type of restrictive software built into digital content with the intent to make it difficult for cyber thieves to steal or “pirate” digital content.

And there are two big problems with DRM: Firstly, it makes it difficult for people to access digital content they legally purchase* by limiting the way the content can be accessed through one vendor’s system and/or corresponding device. For example, if I purchase e-books through the Kindle Store for my Kindle I cannot then transfer those titles to my Barnes & Noble Nook; because I’m limited by the DRM software to access the e-books only through Amazon’s ecosystem. And that fact makes it hard for people to access digital content they have purchased and is also the reason why the process to check out library  e-books is so cumbersome – it is the publisher/media companies required DRM software that is built into the digital content that makes the library download process so difficult. And that process does not have to be that difficult and cumbersome; because technically, that is to say from a technological perspective – the technology is available that would allow you to read e-books, watch videos and listen to music purchased from any vendor, or checked out from the public library, on any device you own – your Kindle, your Nook, your iPad, your PC, your Mac and even the big HDTV in your living room – and the reason that you can’t easily do all of that is because of the DRM software. And all of that is, in a nutshell the first of the two main problems with DRM software.

And the second main problem with DRM software is that as an anti-piracy (anti-cyber theft) tool it simply doesn’t work well. And that is because persons with moderate to advanced technology skills can break the DRM restrictions built into digital content and/or in the case of printed book simply buy a cheap scanner and scan each page of the book and make a digital copy of it, and then transfer that digital content to any devices they want anyway – and even though this practice is illegal it is occurring.  So in essence, people who legally purchase digital content, or want to easily access public library digital content, encounter a cumbersome download process which is much more difficult than it needs to be so that an anti-piracy software that doesn’t work well can be incorporated into digital content.

Here’s a link to an O’Reilly Radar article titled DRM-Free Day, forever. Authors and publishers need to get creative with piracy. DRM isn’t the answer that discusses the subject in more depth:

http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/05/drm-free-day-forever.html

And here’s a link to a short New York Times Tech article titled Pottermore Sells $5Million of e-Books Without DRM in First Month which discusses how Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, who kept the digital rights to her Harry Potter series and is self-publishing the entire series of e-books online, is actually bucking the DRM trend and allowing consumers to buy Harry Potter e-books without the DRM software incorporated into the e-books:

http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/05/08/pottermore-sells-5million-of-e-books-without-drm-in-first-month/?mod=google_news_blog

Linda R.

 

* Simply to clarify the point when I say “buy” digital content as in consumers “buy” digital content; what I really mean is that consumers, in most cases, don’t actually purchase e-books, downloadable videos or music instead what they “buy” is in fact a license to access the digital content. And that is a huge change from why that copyright laws apply physical materials as, of course, you really can buy physical copies of books, movies on DVD and music on CD – but that change in the rules/laws of ownership of digital content versus physical content is also a whole other conversation…

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