you never actually buy anything with DRM, you simply rent it.
I've never heard it put this way before, and it's a wonderful point.
And it also frames my purchasing behavior in a way that makes a lot of sense. Specifically, I have no problem whatsoever paying for DRM stuff, if it's offered at a steeply discounted price that makes one-time use attractive.
I would never buy DRM music from iTunes, or for that matter even pay for non-DRM music in Apple's proprietary codecs, because if I'm paying money for music I want to feel like I own it for life.
Even if DRM technically gives me lifetime access to a given product, I assume I'm going to lose the key, or the company running the DRM valdiation server will go out of business.
That's why, like iTunes music, Kindle doesn't make any sense to me. I assume at some point, whether in five years or twenty, I'm going to get locked out of all the books I supposedly own --- if for no other reason than I'm likely to switch to a different eBook reader five or twenty years from now that's not Kindle compatible. Given that I don't feel like Kindle truly offers permanent ownership, I think its prices aren't nearly discounted enough to be attractive.
The best book I've read lately is _Eating Animals_ which Amazon currently sells for $14.90. This for a hardcover book printed on acid-free paper. It'll last the rest of my life and then some, so the only way I lose ownership is if I decide to give it away. The Kindle version,by contrast, is $11.92 --- barely a $3 discount. Given the DRM and the device lock-in, that's ridiculously expensive compared to the hardcover.
What would make infinitely more sense is if I could *rent* the book on Kindle for, say, $3 or $4 --- for a six month period. As dstar said in the parent post, "you never actually buy anything with DRM, you simply rent it."
And to me, there's nothing at all wrong with that --- if things are priced accordingly, and even with DRM expiration dates. Where things become morally suspect is when a DRM item is sold under the pretense that the buyer has gained lifetime ownership. It just ain't true.
Returning to the Slashdot story on Lulu, I've got no problem at all with Lulu deciding to offer DRM books. But I think they should be offered in such a way that it's clear that readers are renting them for one-time use, not buying them for a lifetime --- and they should be priced accordingly. If these terms are explicit and DRM is part of the deal, I don't have any problem with that. Just like I don't have any problem with the fact that I currently rent my access both to NFL Game Rewind and to NetFlix's "Watch Instantly" feature. There's DRM in both these products, but there are no false pretenses that the reasonable price I'm paying is buying me lifetime access to what I see.
In the case of NFL Replay and Netflix's "Watch Instantly," I'm getting one-time access to stuff I very much want to see but don't want to own, at a very fair price. DRM makes this sort of deal attractive and workable to both me and to the rights holders, and I think that's great. I don't think DRM's the devil at all. In fact, I'd like to see more products wrapped in DRM and available at a steep discount for one-time use. The world would be a better place for rights holders and consumers alike.