The turning point for digital freedom came when Apple announced a selection songs will be DRM free. It only pertained to the catalog of the record label EMI, which was minuscule to the 7 million songs that had the restrictions in place. Though small, it was a turning point.
Amazon and Napster came out with a music store that was entirely DRM-free, which forced Apple to eventually cave and offer their entire catalog of downloading restriction-free music.
Those that bought music from Wal-mart, MSN music or Yahoo! music reminds us how restrictive music becomes useless when the service shuts down.
Even though the music industry is still in the process of moving to a free restriction society, we still live in a totalitarian society where major forces restrict how we use digital pieces.
Last weekend, Amazon showed us that DRM still plays a pivotal part in our digital world when a book publisher demanded Amazon to remove two books from their e-book store and reader. Those that bought books from publisher Mobile Reference also had their books removed the e-book reader without notice.
The real reason for the removal was due to a legal issue where the digital publisher did not secure the rights to publish George Orwell’s nineteen eighty-four and Animal Farm. Of all the e-books to remove from a person’s e-book reader, it’s the one whose subject is about government surveillance of its citizens that gets removed.
Amazon has backtracked on its position, saying that they will not remove books from customer’s e-book readers if another instance of similar legal issue arises.
Even though we are moving away from restrictions in the Internet world, this is just another example of why DRM still sucks.