Parental Advisory: Explicit DRM
On the cover of a technical book published by Sybex it proclaims that the entire contents are available in PDF form on the accompanying CD. Which sounds nice, doesn't it? If only it were true.
The PDFs are DRM encrypted using the ironically-named FileOpen plugin. This means that the PDFs can only be viewed on a Windows box because that's the only platform supported by the DRM plugin. Hey guys, the P stands for Portable, remember? Viewing on a non-Windows box is one of many legitimate uses that are prevented by the DRM being used here.
What really irks me about all this is the fact that Sybex put DRM on the book without telling me upfront. It distinctly says "entire book in PDF", not "entire book in overly-restrictive DRM-encrusted PDF".
I see no reason why this shouldn't be a consumer rights issue. If we're going to have DRM shoved down our throats (and, for the time being it looks likely) at least let's know about it. They have warning labels for everything else these days: food containing peanut products or originated from GM crops, fizzy drinks containing phenylalanine, CDs containing explicit lyrics, movies containing frequent course sex and occasional language (or whatever), region coding of DVDs (a primitive form of DRM itself).
Why should DRM be any different? The presence of DRM mechanisms on a given product potentially affects the ability of the consumer to use the product in perfectly legitimate ways.
I demand that where DRM is used it should be clearly labelled up-front.
I've sent an email of complaint to Sybex. I've also mentioned this issue in my Amazon review. Responses, if any, will be posted here for your amusement.