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The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

This Book Will Self-Destruct In 10 Hours 437

Posted by timothy
from the and-then-there-were-none dept.
extrarice writes: "See here The "rent-a-book" concept is here. Pay a buck, and you're allowed to read for a cumulative total of 10 hours. After that, the text is inaccessible (unless you somehow access the content you purchased...)"
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This Book Will Self-Destruct In 10 Hours

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  • Re:Thomas Jefferson (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crucini (98210) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @03:04AM (#2118143)
    The thing all you "everything should be free" people don't seem to understand is that it takes an investment to create something, people have to get a return on that investment in order to make the investment worthwhile.
    And the thing you don't seem to understand is that the above argument is infintely applicable in both directions. In other words, it is an argument of the margin, a statement about how human behavior will change with a change in incentive. Therefore, it can be expressed as either:
    • Don't reduce the incentive, or the desired behavior will decrease. (What you're saying.) Or:
    • Increase the incentive, so the desired behavior will increase. (implied).
    So let's declare all published authors and musicians exempt from taxes. That would be an increase in the incentive to produce creative works. Likewise, let's give them all free cars at taxpayer expense. If you deny these requests, it looks like you're just supporting the status quo without any real logic - how did you decide the that current level of incentive is the correct one?
    We need more people helping little old ladies across the street. Let's offer a million dollar reward for doing this. It will be expensive, but it complies with your logic. To turn it around, if the reward were already established policy and I advocated repealing it, you'd point out that this reduction in incentive would lead to a reduction in the desired behavior (helping little old ladies across the street).
    On another note, it is the investor's job to make his investment profitable, not mine. I suggest investing in things people are willing to buy, rather than investing first and then seeking legal protection to make your investment feasible.
  • by Dragoness Eclectic (244826) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @07:43AM (#2148118)

    First, this is going the way of DivX; nobody in their right mind is going to pay to read a book for a short period. People pay for books they want to keep permanently; for temporary trial reading, they borrow books from the free public library. As far as I can tell, they've just thought of a new way to prove that e-books are not profitable.

    Second, is it just me or were they extraordinarily stupid to release their timed ebook in Adobe E-book format right after Elcomsoft's Advanced E-book Processor has been heavily publicized in every geek-oriented news channel on the Internet? What are they saying here, "Crack me! Crack me!"?

    Third, making available preview e-book versions of a novel is effective marketing--if it's free. Baen Books [baen.com] has been making the first chapters of new books available for on-line preview for quite a while now, as well as making the first books of some popular series available in their entirety for free--apparently it's been an effective enough marketing tactic that they have expanded their list of free e-books. That's right, expanded! Now, can anyone tell me how effective that would have been if they charged a $1 fee for a short reading period per book in the Baen Free Library [baen.com]?

    Do publishers actually think when they come up with these schemes, or did the geniuses that came up with dot.bomb business plans move into publishing when I wasn't looking?

  • Your Local Library (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kynn (38537) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @09:49AM (#2150194) Homepage
    I've read most of the discussion and one point brought up repeatedly is "Well, you can just go to the library and check out the book for FREE on a limited basis; why get an e-book you have to PAY for?!" While I am personally a big fan of the library, I have to point out a few basic facts:
    • Libraries are free because they are subsidized by government (usually local, sometimes state or larger).
    • Libraries pretty much track everything you read, or haven't you noticed?
    • Libraries are quite often subject to restrictions on what materials they can carry, based on content as well as on cost.
    • Most libraries only have a few copies of each book, so in general YOU may be able to check that book out for three weeks, but not everyone can.
    Don't get me wrong -- libraries are great -- but they are also a very restrictive system that allows you much less choice than you'd like as well as the security threat of the local library tracking every book you check out from them in a database. --Kynn
  • hmmm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Johnny5000 (451029) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:04PM (#2167687) Homepage Journal
    So would it be illegal to write a program that, within the 10 hours, zips through the text, doing screen caps, or some other related thing, and saving it to your hard drive, so you can read it later?

    I'm sure there's a more sophisticated way to get around this, but that took me all of about 2 seconds to come up with a way to defeat this.

    Keep trying, copyright whores.

    -J5K
  • Don't make me laugh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maskirovka (255712) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:06PM (#2167702)
    This'll be cracked in less than a month. Besides, who (consumer) wants to read a book off their computer screen? Hell, you don't even need to get a crack for it. All you have to do is take a screen shot every every page, and print them. Or am I totally and completely wrong again...?

    Maskirovka

  • Div for books (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brian Kendig (1959) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:11PM (#2167745) Homepage
    This sounds a lot like the ill-fated Divx DVD format of two years ago. With Divx, you could buy a DVD and 'unlock' it for any 48-hour period for a few dollars.

    Divx failed because it just wasn't convenient enough for the price ($100 more for a compatible DVD player, and you still had to go to a store for the discs), but this rent-a-book concept doesn't suffer the same problem if the books can simply be downloaded.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens. If the rent-a-book concept succeeds, that means that renting bits (CD's? software?) might catch on again; if it fails, then don't expect to see anything else become rentable on your computer in the next few years.

  • The Right to Read... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:37PM (#2167881) Journal
    It didn't take that long.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

    I'm a whore.
  • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:38PM (#2167891)
    A month? Are you kidding? Try a day or two. Hell, I could crack it right NOW with some sort of jerry rigged automated screen capture and OCR scheme. (Uh oh, I just violated the DMCA by saying that. Good thing I don't live in the States or they'd throw me in a cell with Dimitry)

    When will content publishers realize that security/encryption isn't worth a damn when the end party is NOT TRUSTED. Guess what? If I can read/view/hear it on my computer, there is a way of capturing it, and re-releasing it with no protection. This simple fact will never change. And yet the industries will waste countless millions of dollars trying to invent secure delivery/viewer systems, which is a complete fool's crusade.

    The only answer is to add enough value, that consumers are willing to pay the money to avoid the hassle. What these guys are doing is ADDING MORE hassle, and no real added value.

  • Hacked/Cracked (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TwistedTR (443315) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:42PM (#2167911)
    While it would be nice to be able to get decent books at far lower then market price (average paperback going for over 6.99 nowdays). But come on, does anyone really think that the format will not be hacked/cracked within hours of it being released? Everything anyone has ever tried for something like this has been gotten around. Look at DeCSS for example, or the countless Serial # systems that software makers produce to try to prevent someone from cracking it the day it comes out. It's a good theory, but can it be done correctly?
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acceleriter (231439) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @07:54PM (#2167970)
    It doesn't actually sound terribly bad. You have the option of buying the "full", untimed version, for $5, or paying $1 for the ten-hour version.

    Let me get this straight:

    Option 1: I pay almost the same price as for a paperback book. The manufacturing cost is essentially zero, and the royalty to the author is probably unchanged. In return, instead of a paperback book which I may read, trade, lend, give away, or sell at my pleasure, I get an ebook that's locked to one physical device and is not transferable in any way.

    Option 2: I pay a buck for what I essentially can get from the public library, except for less time, less portability, and one dollar more. In addition, I no doubt get to "agree" to some Draconian license that disallows anyone from reading over my shoulder or talking about the book in a negative manner.

    Yep, sounds good to me. Not! Being a Luddite, I'll do just fine reading what's already been published on paper if this actually were to take off. Unfortunately, one of the first big markets for this crap is already a captive audience: college students [slashdot.org] . If you think this topic doesn't fit into YRO, you haven't been watching the direction things are headed.

  • Re:OMG!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @09:17PM (#2168343) Homepage Journal
    Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut,

    The great thing is this quote by Kurt Vonnegut

    "The e-book is a ridiculous idea," said Vonnegut, who hasn't read his work on a computer and never intends to. "The printed book is so satisfactory, so responsive to our fingertips. So much of this new stuff is utterly unneeded."


    From the Los Angeles Times article on Ebooks [latimes.com].
  • Re:digital != analog (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shepd (155729) <<slashdot.org> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:38PM (#2168682) Homepage Journal
    What if I take a photograph of each page from my monitor? This is an analong process and therefore introduces an (very small if any) amount of noise.

    You can take your "master" 35 mm film shots, blow 'em up to 8.5x11 and photocopy in an unlimited fashion (your time, and to a certan extent, money, limit you, just as with digitally copying an ebook). With today's high speed copiers the entire city could have the book in no time. It takes quite a few generations for photocopies to be unreadable...

    Besides, you'd be surprised how many generations an SVHS master [or, per a previous slashdot discussion, Betacam master ;-) ] can go through before it becomes unnacceptable (or even noticeable) to the consumer. Just look at how long it takes to catch the "professional" bootleggers with hundreds of VCRs in their shops. Its often months before investigations even start...

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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