Adobe recently announced plans to support cross-machine portability of DRM-protected content in Digital Editions by allowing named activation. Since then we have received quite a bit of feedback on our plans. Much of the feedback is positive, but others have voiced concerns about some users (library patrons, minors) needs for privacy. An Adobe ID is a very non-intrusive way of identifying users – users need only provide a name, country and email address. Nonetheless, Adobe understands that some users and organizations are uncomfortable with even this minimalistic level of identification. Based on the feedback from users and partners we have decided to continue to support an option of anonymous activation.
We feel very strongly that content portability is a very important feature. These days, almost everyone (especially ebook users) has multiple computers and a handheld device or two. Without content portability that has been enabled by named activation, users cannot move their books around as they wish. Almost more importantly, Digital Editions will be introducing new social features in the future that will enhance the use and enjoyment of user’s ebooks, such as sharing annotations and reading lists. Use of these social features will require that the user have a personal identifier, even if they only use one computer.
Therefore our plan remains to promote named activation as the primary means of enabling DRM capabilities. Anonymous activation will be supported, but discouraged in order that users not be disappointed to discover that content they have purchased is inextricably tied to a single PC, or that they can’t participate in new social features. And the overall user experience of activation will be more integrated and seamless than the various DRM activation options that were present in Adobe Reader versions 6 and 7: we are working to keep it simple. We will post additional details about the new DRM activation coming in Digital Editions version 1.5 here on the blog soon.