30 Posts in 30 Days #26: Socially Protected Content

On my way home yesterday afternoon I was listening to episode #176 of the Beyond the Book podcast from the Copyright Clearance Center. The episode featured two speakers on “Interactive Textbooks: Poised for Success?” The episode is only about 30 minutes long and I highly recommend it to anyone reading this that has anything to do with college textbooks.

What prompted this post however is something that presenter Jeff Shelstad of Flat World Knowledge said. His business publishes textbooks which are available in many formats (electronic and print), editable, and CC licensed. The electronic copies are DRM free yet “socially protected". What he means is that every PDF downloaded by a student contains the name of that student on every page. In other words, if that student starts passing it along, you’ll immediately know who did it.

I must say this is an interesting concept. I suppose it would make me think twice before sharing something I’m not supposed to. I’m not sure it would stop me from downloading the material though.

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