The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Could Watermark Provide DRM Solution?
Publishers can’t be blamed for trying
to safeguard their assets with digital rights management protection on their
e-titles, particularly against large-scale file sharing.
The problem is DRM does not really
deter anyone determined to share files, which led Dana Robinson, a adjunct
professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law and partner with
Techlaw LLP, to propose a solution in an articlefor Digital Book World. His solution
would be to create e-books with a watermark place throughout the book.
The e-book’s buyer would have to
provide personal information for the watermark by agreeing to terms and
conditions that would prohibit the resale or distribution of the title.
“The point of making a watermark that
shows the user’s personal information is to create a disincentive for the user
to pass the book along to unknown third parties, deputizing the user to act as
a gatekeeper, protecting the book from wrongful distribution,” Robinson wrote,
adding that removing the watermark could then be a violation of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act.
Robinson points out that his watermark
solution would not prevent people from sharing their book with family or close
friends, but that they’ve always done that with printed books. His watermark is
aimed at individuals trying to gain financially from someone else’s work.
“What e-book publishers need is a way
to distribute e-books with as little hassle as possible, while ensuring that
the publisher can sue pirates and stop e-book sales, rental, and large-scale
sharing,” he said.