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Business Tech : Print Media (Part 3)


Steal This Book

I'm sitting at a dinner, at a software conference — not Spectrum by the way — and I get approached by an unsolicited client. He says to me, "I need to do a project, and I know you have the software I need to finish it." Then the guy on the other side of me says, "I have some code I can give you instead. It's only about 80% done but you can have it for free." And suddenly the sale was cold.

What happens in software sales can happen in book sales. Worse yet, sometimes the free product we are competing with is our own. In the old days, stealing my book involved a copy machine, or actual theft. In the digital world, theft is easier. Every laptop is a possible "copy machine," and every web site or ftp site is a potential mass distribution system. So, how do you protect your work?

DRM a Little DRM of Me

There is existing tech for protecting your creative works. You'll notice that I didn't say there was good tech, or well thought-out tech, or user friendly tech. The 800 pound gorilla in protection is DRM, Digital Rights Management, which is result of the DMCA, Digital Millennium Copyright Act. What is the DCMA? Imagine if a group of lawyers got together and remembered that they were being paid by angry corporations and forgot that they themselves are consumers of music, books, movies, etc. The result is much like a cheap lock; it restricts the honest people and does nothing to stop the thieves.


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