Digital Rights Management, or DRM, for short, is an innocent-sounding acronym for an abusive, widespread practice, that basically means that you don’t own stuff you buy. As the Eletronic Freedom Foundation puts it, "Corporations claim that DRM is necessary to fight copyright infringement online and keep consumers safe from viruses. But there’s no evidence that DRM helps fight either of those. Instead DRM helps big business stifle innovation and competition by making it easy to quash ‘unauthorized’ uses of media and technology."
Amazon’s cop-out with regards to this has been that DRM is demanded by publishers. Well, not so. As BoingBoing reports, a leaked contract shows that this is a straight-out lie: Amazon requires publishers to use Kindle DRM.
Quoting the article: "Like most DRM vendors — Apple and Google, for example — Amazon spends a lot of time implying and flat-out stating that it only uses DRM because the big dumb media companies require it of them. The reality is that DRM’s primary beneficiary is the DRM vendor. Once your book is sold with Amazon’s DRM on it, only Amazon can give your readers permission to move them out of the Kindle jail and onto another device of your choosing. Of course Amazon wants to force copyright holders and creators to use its DRM — it’s a one-stop way of converting the writer’s customer into Amazon’s customer. Forever.
Remember: Any time someone puts a lock on something of yours and won’t give you the key, that lock is not there for your benefit." (their emphasis)
As most issues involving intellectual property, this has widespread implications, but few people actually understand or even have an inkling to what’s going on. Get informed, our rights are on the line.