First of all for all those who are lucky enough to don’t know what DRM is, a very short introduction.
DRM is Digital Restrictions Management or as some marketing guys like to all it Digital Rights Management.
This is in other words copy protection. In an ideal world, it will prevent unauthorized copies of a book or music. But hey in an ideal world we don’t need it since no one will create unauthorized copies.
Why do I say that this is only in ideal world?
Unfortunately, copy protection schemes punishes only the legitimate users, since the unauthorized users cracked it anyway and can circulate it without any interruption.
DRM copy protection can be bypassed and they are bypassed all the time, therefore to really succeed with DRM a publisher has to invest a lot of money and effort in making better and better algorithms and change them all the times.
With DRM protected book, I need a reading system that can read the protected book, that means I am tied to one reading system and sometimes these reading systems can not read publications from other publishers, so I can not maintain a library of all my readings on one application or reading device.
Also if I want to replace my device, I loose all the library I purchased until now and after all in today’s world we replace our tablets, phone, e-readers etc. once every few years.
My company Helicon Books gives all kinds of services to publishers of digital books. One of the services is reading applications. We can add DRM to these reading systems so that customers will be able to read only the publisher’s books on these readers.
So from business perspective, I’d be happy to sell DRM solutions, this will tie the publisher to us for DRM algorithms upgrades and maintenance.
However in this post I would like to show what happened to publishers who knowingly dropped DRM from their books. There are currently two publishers that I know that has decided on no DRM policy for their digital books: O’Reilly and TOR (a UK based science fiction publisher).
TOR has decided about a year ago (On Apris 25, 2012) to drop DRM from all their titles. They have made their decision together with their sister company in the US, so there is a very large audience that enjoys this decision. Now, about a year after that, Julie Crisp wrote in TOR’s blog – “we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year”
The reason for TOR’s decision is that their customers are a close-knit, with a huge on-line presence, and with publishers, authors and fans having closer communication than other areas of publishing do.
So what happened was that their customers where thrilled with the fact that they listened to them and removed DRM.