Charlie Owen read all four of my posts about Sony’s customer-hostile DRM and asks (with tongue in cheek, I think):
Why has Ed picked a delivery system for his latest professional writing with such unfriendly DRM and obvious disrespect for my fair use rights?
I could blame Gutenberg. Or I could be a spoilsport and answer Charlie’s question seriously: The printed book is difficult and expensive to copy, and it’s nearly impossible to make a copy that looks and works like the original. That’s certainly not true of conventional music CDs, which allow nearly perfect digital copies.
But in the case of every version of Windows XP Inside Out, which is published by a division of Charlie’s own company, an unrestricted digital copy of the book (in PDF format in recent editions) is included on a CD bound into the back of the book. A certain number of readers will abuse the trust of that decision and make the PDF copy available for others, but we trust that most of our customers will do the right thing and that treating them like criminals by locking down the PDF copy is neither fair nor smart.
I’m not opposed to copy protection in the abstract. If a company chooses to make its products more difficult for customers to use, that’s their right. But along with that right comes the responsibility to fully disclose their business decision. And they never, ever have the right to install software on my computer without providing detailed notice, acquiring my informed consent, and providing an easy and straightforward way for me to completely undo the changes if I so choose.