In a way, if a software license has terms that are then cripplingly enforced by behaviour in the software, then we would have DRM. If, say, Office Home and Student had a mode that goes "I am sorry, but your document LetterToGarage.doc contains the word invoice twice and a price - as you know this software is for non commercial use only and as a result you will not be able to print or save this document and it you now be locked against further use of our product"... Some products do have such restrictions
It is DRM if it determines that it can constrain my choices in the usage of the product, demands the right to watch me, and/or can change the rules without my approval.
These are all unacceptable DRM behaviours:
- demand the right to monitor my usage and make the product stop working if it doesn't like (or, more problematically, doesn't recognise!) what I use
- determine I can only use my tool or device in certain ways
- deny me the right to use my device on items/files/media it doesn't approve of (or, more problematically, doesn't recognise as corporate-stamped - such as music by my friend's band, or a draft of a friend's book)
- determine I can only use my tool in certain places (you will lose apps and books if you move countries!) or buy from specific places (I am a native french speaker, could i buy a french kindle? no. could i buy french books for a uk kindle? no.)
- encrypt or encode the product or data in a dependent way (which means that should the company ever stop the service I wont be able to use or access things) even for things that I by law must have the right to access (my data, my work, my notes)
- make it illegal for me to try to bypass any such constraints even when the constraints are illegal in the first place (eg: public domain books)
- force obsolescence on me
- force formats on me that I wont be able to use anywhere else and that you will expire
- force a device on me for key functionality (both audible and kindle limit what the pc software can do compared to buying the device)
- prevent reasonable migration (after loss, breakage, theft etc.)
- not understand that I have naturally multiple devices and not allow me to migrate when I get a newer one
- deny me the right to improve, upgrade or extend my tool
- lay claim to rights to everything I do on my tool
- tell me that I am breaking the terms if I let my spouse or kids use my product, or run the product twice at the same time (even if one of them is for running a maintenance operation so onerous it prevents me from using the product while it is happening, eg:downloads, database repair...) or want to have the product on my computer, my mp3 player, my phone and my netbook (or tablet or ereader)
- put back doors to track me, my usage, my location, my behaviour with the excuse that it is to protect the DRM from me. Put hidden trackers/locks/call homes in files I have bought that might be readable/detectable/spyable by others
- treat me like a convicted criminal
I find these restrictions so unacceptable that I will instead accept the restriction to do without specific things (whereas for example on the software front I happily buy and use commercial software even though I favor free and open solutions, because most software is fairly open in comparison - I do watch the storage format though, been burnt in the past).
I don't have a Kindle, I have a Story reader. I dont have an ipod, I have a music player that supports open formats. I don't buy books with DRM, or music with DRM - I buy from stores, authors and publishers that don't put DRM (I on the other hand do not have a problem with works that for example put my name etc. in the ebook as long as it is transparent and visible - i object to hidden tracers as who knows what else they are tracing?). Are there many more books I would like to have on my reader? yup, but tough luck. After all I can get them on paper or from the library, and it's not as if my "could read/reread next" pile isnt already in the hundreds...
Of course it could get harder and harder as they convince more and more people that these are normal conditions to accept, so it is best to fight it