Sometimes called "social DRM", ebook (and e-journal) watermarking is an umbrella term for a broad array of tactics publishers use to inject a unique fingerprint or serial number into every copy of an ebook or journal article that is purchased from them. In other words, watermarks allow publishers to turn a book into a tool of surveillance, giving them the power to monitor, suppress, and ultimately attempt to dictate who shares what books with whom. The key argument put forth will be that watermarking goes beyond 'merely' being a threat to reader privacy and the free exchange of ideas, and may in fact be literally life-threatening in some cases. This talk will thus examine how various watermarking systems work, how they function as surveillance tools, and then proceed to explore how they may be identified and neutralized so as to help facilitate the safe, unrestricted sharing of knowledge.
saturday 20 august 2016