It's no secret that Amazon uses constricting Digital Rights Management (DRM) software on e-books. DRM keeps e-books locked into Amazon devices and apps. And if customers make a significant investment into books that can only be read on Amazon, they're going to keep buying e-books from Amazon, in order to make sure that their digital libraries are all in the same place. But earlier this year, Jeff Bezos said that Amazon doesn't really care about DRM:
"We are agnostic to that. We do what the publisher wants. If the rights owner wants DRM, we do DRM. If the rights owner doesn't want DRM, we don't do DRM," he said.
Well, that sounds like a super-hippie way of going about things, doesn't it? Except the Digital Reader found and published a leaked Amazon contract that insists on DRM unless the author argues against it:
Unless we mutually agree otherwise, we will use DRM in connection with the download of the eBooks, and we may use any available digital book DRM technology.
This is a subtle distinction, but an important one. Bezos made it sound as though the default was no DRM, but the default is toward "any available" DRM. I suspect most authors don't care enough about the issue to fight on it, which means DRM wins. It's the sort of slight misrepresentation that tech companies love to rely on for positive public relations, and it's a lie.