DRM – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

As someone who published a book (content) this week, I was very interested in Rupert Murdoch's take on charging for the media content of his News Corp which owns the Wall Street Journal. The Journal has been charging for on-line content for some time now if you want to be able to have full access to their stories. Murdoch says he is going to expand the fee for content to his other newspapers like the New York Post and dozens around the world.

There is no doubt that the current newspaper model is broken. But, I'm not quite sure his model is going to work in the short-term. It will take people a while to buy into the idea of paying for what they now get for free. Cable television proved that selling free content can be done as long as the perceived value is enough to offset the investment in a new way of acquiring content. But, it took years. I don't know that newspapers have that much time to turn around their business.

Murdoch refuses to do business with Amazon via the Kindle. He wants to both control the content and the relationship with his customer. Amazon supposedly wants 70% of the revenue, the right to republish the content to other devices and control of the relationship.

Amazon's position also doesn't sound like the answer for helping newspapers survive in the short-term. Unless Amazon is going to guarantee revenue levels and that just isn't going to happen. There aren't that many Kindle users yet.

I'm going to publish my book for the Kindle. If you own a Kindle that's where you want to do your reading. I've already had people ask me if I would. To ignore it (and future electronic reading devices) just doesn't make sense. But this desire from companies to try and control digital rights is also not going to work. That genie has been out of the bottle for some time.

I've also sent a PDF of the book to people in Australia because the cost of shipping my book there is more than the cost of the book. I sent it for free. It's already written and published and sending the digital file cost me nothing. I hope the people who read it in Australia enjoy it so much they ask me to come speak to them or work with their companies.

I want my book to spread all over the world because I hope it helps people. You can already read the first 20 pages for free on the Listen First – Sell Later website. Soon, I'm going to be making the entire PDF available for free download from the Poole Consulting Site.

News Corp, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Microsoft and all companies providing 'content' need to rethink their approach to digital rights in a way that makes sense for customers, content creators and distributors (in that order). I guarantee you there are hundreds of people working right now in start-ups and skunkworks who will find that way.

Then maybe we can all get along.

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