1. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    eBooks, to DRM or not to DRM?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Jefferson27, Jul 11, 2011.

    Any thoughts? Especially from people who use ereaders.
     
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I tick the DRM box each time I publish. I'm not really sure what its all about, but I don't like the idea of being pirated etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only buy e-books without DRM. I think it's so annoying to have to throw away your books because you switch to an incompatible reader, or they decide to abandon a DRM system.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Unless you're a best-selling author, piracy should be the least of your concerns. And even if you are a best-selling author, it really doesn't bear thinking about because there's nothing you can do to stop it.

    DRM does nothing to hinder pirates and is a huge inconvenience to people who legally purchase your work by limiting their rights to access and share your work.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, all DRM does is make things a bit of a hassle for legitimate buyers who want to move between readers etc. It is so easy to remove DRM from eBooks that anyone who really wants to pirate your work can do it with a few clicks of the mouse. Like a lot of such protections, it's just an inconvenience to legitimate users and little to no barrier to actual pirates.
     
  6. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    I felt it best to go without it also from what I have read, and want to make it both easy and accessible to readers. Yet I got advice from someone I trust and who has had decades of very good success who said to use it. I mentioned how that makes sense for someone like him with name recognition but not necessarily me. He felt I might be an easy target because I am new and if it's a good idea they will look to repackage it. Although by the end of the conversation he seemed just to say it's a big choice, so appeared to budge a bit.
    So his advice and the idea it limits(even if that is not perfect) people from copying it makes it seem like a good idea. Also in my web research I have found lots of negative comments about DRM, but most people seem to be bitching about how it's possible to lose or switching devices, etc. Or bring up the ONE case where an illegal act was preformed to put 1984 and Animal Farm on and Amazon had to swipe the book off and give them their money back. One case where they undid the mistake the best they could. Should a better PR move been done, probably, but maybe they couldn't.
     
  7. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    In general the complaints about DRM seem overblown, selfish and ignorant. Wanting no restrictions on sharing(which I am fine with), etc., even if it is something that is there to protect years of work from being lifted the moment you make it available. And the cost, well they have to read it on one device and can not copy and paste it somewhere(where and why would they? hmmm) and the issue while a legitimate negative aspect in some ways is not so bad when weighed against lower prices and more convenience of the ebook. Especially in the aspect where some lending and sharing is allowed. But people, especially more recently want all pluses and no negatives because they believe they are entitled to just that. They care about their civil liberties, just not others(the author).
    However, customers do hold a lot of power and even if their complaints are a bit stubborn in some cases, they need to be listened to, I got it. In the end hopefully the come up with something better soon. Something that limits piracy and theft more efficiently yet is not such a hassle for honest customers. Because honestly it appears unlimited sharing, etc. has been shown to actually help overall sales for an author, so that is not what I want to limit. But protecting my work I am interested in. Not everything is free. Pay 1.99 and get a book.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know. I think the main problem is that the DRM restrictions do nothing whatsoever to prevent piracy. I know people who read on three devices - for example, have a Kindle at home, a Nook in the drawer at work, and maybe occasionally use an iPad or notebook as well. Sure it is easy to just carry one around, but people do use multiple devices.

    I'm in favor of protecting the work as well. I'm a patent, trademark, and copyright attorney, so my interest in protecting intellectual property rights is pretty strong. But I can tell you that having DRM on your eBook will not stop a single pirate because it literally takes seconds to remove the DRM. So the reason I lean against using DRM on my own work is that I know it isn't useful (i.e. doesn't stop pirates) and can alienate some readers who will buy the work. So I don't see a gain from having it.
     
  9. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    Well there are levels of DRM and some allow more sharing than others, just not unlimited. And in my research about it, I did find advertisements where you can buy a program for a bit under $50 that claims to be able to take DRM off. And I know there must be ways around it because well people can hack just about anything now a days it seems. But I doubt it is just one or two clicks of a mouse to take it off, especially the stronger levels of DRM which also links the purchaser to the purchased copy, so if it is pirated they are linked, usually by credit card number and name, uh oh for piraters huh? If you know the copy will be linked directly to you that may be the deterrent even if the DRM can be taken off.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There is a free program called Calibre that converts between eBook file formats (so you can read Kindle books on other devices, for example). They have a plugin that removes Kindle DRM with a single mouse click. There is better DRM for PDFs, but if you are limiting your work to PDF I think your audience will be greatly limited, and as soon as you reach for the big audience via Amazon/Kindle, your DRM is easily overcome. That's my understanding of the situation. I've used Calibre to convert formats, but I haven't tried the DRM removal tool.
     
  11. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    Well then I guess it comes down to that tracking thing. If it can be tracked that will obviously deter piraters. Maybe do a bit more research.
     
  12. andeee
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    andeee Member

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    If someone wants to pirate something, they'll find a way.

    I think all you'll manage to do is inconvenience your legitimate customers.
     
  13. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    I actually have decided not to use DRM. Although technically I could change my mind between now and when I finalize this in the next couple days, but I have done enough research on this to feel confident that the chances of that happening are near zero.

    After first reading about the conundrum of DRM, I sort of was leaning towards not using it, but I tried to make the case for it one last time. Ultimately I could not, because of some of the issues discussed in this thread and from other correspondence I have had about it. Ultimately it does not seem a big enough deterrent for people trying to pirate it at criminal level and the type of sharing that goes on between friends is not something I am overly concerned about and even has shown to help the author's book sales, especially in the long run.
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's how customers are: overblown, selfish and ignorant.

    For example, when flat-screen TV:s started to appear, they were much better than old cathode-ray tube TVs. You'd think customers would be happy with a TV which was more convenient, had better picture and took less space than the old ones, but no, soon those overblown, ignorant bastards started demanding even more. They wanted flat-screen TV:s with more functions, like built-in media players. They wanted even better and bigger pictures. They wanted them cheaper!

    And the customers got what they wanted. Why? Because producers could make even better and cheaper TVs, thanks to technological progress, and if they didn't sell their customers better and cheaper TVs, their competitors would. And instead of giving the producers a break, those selfish customers chose to buy the best and cheapest TVs.

    The same thing is happening to books. Lots of people think e-books are more convenient than print books, and STILL those ignorant, selfish bastards want you to make them cheaper and more convenient just because you can, with no regard to your ability to support yourself. And the worst thing is, they'll get what they want. If you don't offer the best and cheapest product you can to the customer, someone else will. The customer doesn't just compare your e-book to your paper book; they also compare your e-book to someone else's e-book, and if you're not already one of their favourite authors, they're likely to let price and convenience affect their choice.

    Customer is king. You're just a humble servant.
     
  15. Jefferson27
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    Jefferson27 Member

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    haha, yes I knew when I typed that that I might live to regret it. For one because it could come off as me calling all customers that. In context I was speaking about the comments I was reading on blogs and comments on websites around the web.

    More importantly when I wrote that I was trying to make a case for using DRM on my ebook, a case that in the end I could not. Sometimes I find the best way to know you are making the right choice is to genuinely try and prove the opposite side. If you can not, then you can make your original choice and feel certain about it.

    Also I think the word "seem" is huge in my statement. Their comments were coming off that way, just as mine came off rude. My intention was to have someone correct me on the normal complaints about DRM and show me why they are valid. In the end I saw more validity in them as I went.

    P.S. Hope I didn't get any of the dirt on you when I was attempting to dig myself out of that hole I put myself in.
     

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