Friday 6 July 2012

E-book Piracy and DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Writers are very aware of piracy.

We've seen what happened with the music industry and we want the publishing system to avoid the same thing occuring with e-books.

But the issue that divides many writers and readers is DRM- digital rights management.

Who hasn't borrowed a book from a friend, because they've suggested you'll like it?

With DRM on an e-book you can't do that, the system prevents you from loaning that e-book to your friend or friends. It also means you can't usually read it on any other device capable of reading the e-book- as you have actually bought it for your preferred reading system...

You can understand why the big six publishers chose to go with DRM. They are a business and you don't grow your business by neglecting the fine detail and allowing someone to steal from you.

In other words the publisher doesn't want to put a book out that can be ripped off within hours of it being released into the market and losing income.

Perhaps the important difference is whether you're talking DRM on fiction or not. Fiction books are going to make more money for the pirates than non-fiction.

This article by Rod Younger of  Books4Spain, suggests that reasonable pricing of e-books and accessibility would reduce piracy.

Now I agree e-book pricing (non-Kindle) is daft. But until the agency pricing issue is resolved once and for all, and a balance is found, cost will be an issue.

Sadly some Kindle authors have had their books pirated, but keeping a watch is important and helps.

I recommend you read this piece by Rosie Fiore freelance writer and author of the book 'Babies in Waiting', that I came across on Twitter today, 'dear stinkle01, you're a thief.'

We've all seen the 'reasons' given by those who download pirated e-books; look at any newspaper article online on the subject and you'll see those same excuses left by commenters.

Too many think that they have a right to get the books for free, like music. Well they don't.

We have to start educating children in primary school to understand that piracy is wrong, so they don't grow up thinking they can get everything for free.

Those who pirate will carry on doing so until they are caught. Those who knowingly download pirated e-books are not going to suddenly turn round and say 'ooops, I've been naughty, I promise I won't do it again.' and start buying the genuine article.

DRM has its drawbacks for the genuine e-book buyer, but it does help the author who has worked hard to get a publishing deal and is trying to earn a living from their work.

Take away DRM without a robust system of protection to replace it, and you're as good as saying to the pirates, take what you want...


Writer Pat Newcombe said...

here, here!!! Piracy sucks!! but it is hard to stop it totally, methinks... But we should not give up trying...

Carolb said...

You're right, Pat, it is hard to stop, but we shouldn't give up trying to stop it.