Non-DRM Constitution

Yesterday, John Beimler pointed Comrade Cory over at Boing Boing to this DRMed version of the US Constitution. Someone must be doing well – it’s apparently Amazon’s 965th highest ranked item. I can only hope that’s only for electronic book sales, otherwise there are a lot of stupid people in this country.

Putting aside the irony of restricting access to a government document with digital rights management software, they’re not the only ones trying to make a buck this way. Hell, even I slapped an Amazon Associates referral ID on the link above – if you’re stupid enough to buy a DRMed copy of a public document from Amazon, I deserve a cut! And arguably, there is some minute amount of value that someone must derive from being able to get a Microsoft Reader copy of the Constitution right now. It’s possible. I guess.

But if you don’t like DRM and you really need the US Constitution (or any other document for that matter) on the go, there’s an easy way to solve this problem: make your own! And make the publisher’s market disappear while you’re at it! Doing this will take you about ten minutes:

  • Install (soul-sucking) Microsoft Word 2002 or later, assuming if you haven’t already succumbed by way of peer pressure.
  • Download and install Microsoft’s Read in Reader conversion plug-in.
  • Open Word and cut’n’paste the contents of you favorite version of the US Constitution into a new document.
  • Click the Microsoft Reader button on the toolbar.

(Or if you’re against The Man, but horribly lazy, you could just download this version I created. And no, I’m not the author of the US Constitution – I’m just really into flagrant self-promotion.)

Voila! Instant un-DRMed version of the US Constitution suitable for reading with Microsoft Reader! Of course, this does beg the question: did I just effectively circumvent the copy protection mechanism and violate the DMCA? Oh well!