Friday, February 6, 2015

DRM - Pirate-Proof Protection or Placebo?



No one likes to talk about piracy. But, it happens. And as an author, you want to protect your book from being illegally downloaded and spread around the internet.  So, naturally when uploading to a sales channel and you see that little checkbox or button labeled DRM, you might insta-click it with the belief that it will protect you. In theory, it will, sort of. Let’s take a look at what DRM is.

Digital Rights Management is a technology intent to control the use of digital content and devices based on the vendor they are purchased from. Simply put. If you buy a book from Kindle, it cannot be used or transferred to a Nook. The idea there is to make sure that you have a legitimate copy and it will work for only the device you bought it for. No pirating.  

But, what if you purchased a book on your kindle, but wanted to read it on another device that cannot run a kindle application? You still purchased it. You still hold the rights to read it… but if you wanted it on another device, DRM protection prevents you from doing that. You have to purchase another copy for another device.  In this case the DRM protection is a double-edged sword for the genuine consumer.

There are ways around this however. Programs exist out there to help strip away the DRM protection and allow consumers to make their ebooks available to other devices.

And that is where the placebo effect comes into play. You click that little box with the general good natured hope to keep your work safe. However, the ease in which that protection can be undermined makes the idea of using it pointless. Add to that the aggravation it causes readers who might wish to have flexibility in the devices they can read legitimately purchased books on, and you have more reasons not to use it.

If you ask me, it’s just not worth using. Forget clicking the checkbox. DRM will not provide the protection you want.


What do you think? Do you use DRM on your books? 

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