Cory Doctorow is an award-winning author of many books. He simultaneously distributes his work online at no charge and commercially through traditional book vendors. He also knows what DRM means for the reader/listener. Now he’s up for two Hugo awards, perhaps the most prestigious science fiction award.
What does this have to do with Apple and DRM freedom? Read this excerpt from the introduction to one of his recent books, Little Brother: (emphasis mine)
My agent, Russell Galen (and his sub-agent Danny Baror) did an amazing job of pre-selling rights to Little Brother in many languages and formats. Here’s the list as of today (May 4, 2008). I’ll be updating it as more editions are sold, so feel free to grab another copy of this file (http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download) if there’s an edition you’re hoping to see, or see http://craphound.com/littlebrother/buy/ for links to buy all the currently shipping editions.
A condition of my deal with Random House is that they’re not allowed to release this on services that use “DRM” (Digital Rights Management) systems intended to control use and copying. That means that you won’t find this book on Audible or iTunes, because Audible refuses to sell books without DRM (even if the author and publisher don’t want DRM), and iTunes only carries Audible audiobooks. However, you can buy the MP3 file direct from RandomHouse or many other fine etailers, or through this link.
Keep that in mind next time Apple tries to snow you into believing they care about your rights of first-sale, your right to read your books or listen to your audio whenever you want, or any of your rights as they intersect with digital restrictions management.
I bought an unlimited download account with Magnatune in part because they never had a DRM problem to overcome.