Handbook of Gemmology

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

We have all at some point infringed on somebody else’s copyright. Most of us do it unknowingly; others do it by choice, seeking to steal their intellectual property for financial gain.

The problem with digital files is that they are relatively easy to copy. With the right technology, know how and intent, it is possible to break any code no matter how sophisticated it is. Nothing today is impenetrable.

We chose to offer the book in a digital format so that we could make it affordable. The printed version currently retails for € 279 plus shipping and while we believe it is worth every penny, given the size and content of the books, the reality is, for many gemmology students, it is inaccessible. In a digital format, we are able to offer it for a fraction of the cost and in a variety of formats so that it can be enjoyed on practically any e-reading device or computer.

The book does however represent many, many hours of hard work. It is impossible to calculate the exact cost but it is substantial. While some of these costs have been defrayed by the generous support of past sponsors, the balance must be recouped through sales. We want you to enjoy this book but we also want to ensure that it is not copied unlawfully. So please take a moment and think of the time and effort that has gone into the creation of this book. We understand that money is important and that we are all looking for ways to reduce our costs but any cost cutting measures should always be morally right and indeed lawful.

The following excerpt is from Wikipedia. It pertains to digital rights management, the pros and cons and the supporters and opponents of this legislation.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a class of controversial access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders, and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that are not desired or intended by the content provider. DRM also includes specific instances of digital works or devices. Companies such as Amazon, AT&T, AOL, Apple Inc., BBC, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Sony use digital rights management. In 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in the United States to impose criminal penalties on those who make available technologies whose primary purpose and function are to circumvent content protection technologies.[1]

The use of digital rights management is not universally accepted. Some content providers claim that DRM is necessary to fight copyright infringement online and that it can help the copyright holder maintain artistic control[2] or ensure continued revenue streams.[3] Those opposed to DRM contend there is no evidence that DRM helps prevent copyright infringement, arguing instead that it serves only to inconvenience legitimate customers, and that DRM helps big business stifle innovation and competition.[4] Furthermore, works can become permanently inaccessible if the DRM scheme changes or if the service is discontinued.[5] Proponents argue that digital locks should be considered necessary to prevent "intellectual property" from being copied freely, just as physical locks are needed to prevent personal property from being stolen.[6]

Digital locks placed in accordance with DRM policies can also restrict users from doing something perfectly legal, such as making backup copies of CDs or DVDs, lending materials out through a library, accessing works in the public domain, or using copyrighted materials for research and education under fair use laws.[6] Some opponents, such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) through its Defective by Design campaign, maintain that the use of the word "rights" is misleading and suggest that people instead use the term "digital restrictions management".[7] Their position is that copyright holders are restricting the use of material in ways that are beyond the scope of existing copyright laws, and should not be covered by future laws.[8] The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the FSF consider the use of DRM systems to be anti-competitive practice.[9][10]