Last week, the world’s biggest science fiction publisher – Tor – announced that they were going to be dropping DRM from their entire list of books published. This is big news because ever since eBooks made an appearance on the market, most notably on the Kindle Store, Digital Rights Management has been part of the process.
Digital Rights Management – DRM – is how publishers ensure that the book you buy from them is only readable on the eReader it is bought for. The Kindle and Nook platforms are the biggest users of DRM since Amazon and Barnes and Noble can tie a particular copy of a book directly to a specific eReader.
The idea behind DRM was to ensure that eBooks bought were not easily reproducible on other platforms for sale and was a stringent measure against piracy. The problem with DRM is that it is easily removable with the right know-how and tools. The most dedicated of pirates found no stumbling block in DRM.
According to the Guardian Books article, one science fiction author John Scalzi, made one of the most profoundly intelligent comments regarding the practice of DRM that I have heard in a long time: “DRM hasn’t stopped my books from being out there on the dark side of the internet … Meanwhile, the people who do spend money to support me and my writing have been penalised for playing by the rules.”
Copyright infringement is no laughing matter, however. Free-eBooks.net has its own battle with would-be pirates and we fight an ongoing battle with those who would steal from our dedicated and loyal authors. As is seen with DRM, even the most stringent of preventative measures is of little help against the insistent pirate.
I admit, it feels a little like knowing that a burglar is going to break into your house and take your 40″ HDTV whether you have burglar bars, security systems, and electric fences in place. It’s demoralizing, but we are not giving up.
What’s your opinion on piracy and DRM-free books? Do you think there is anyway to keep the miscreants from stealing what is not theirs?