Landing : Athabascau University

DRM-free indie ebooks outsell DRM-locked ones 2:1

http://boingboing.net/2014/07/19/drm-free-indie-ebooks-outsell.html

Yet more evidence that not only is DRM (digital rights management -  locking of digital content in order to limit purchasers' options to use it, copy it, etc) an evil blight for consumers, it is actually a really dumb thing for producers to do, assuming they wish to make money. 

So why do publishers do it? I don't get it. It is just about conceivable that a lack of DRM might lead to more illegal copying, sure, which might be seen as taking legitimate future profits away from the producers. It's a strange definition of 'theft' but I could accept it if it were true. But it isn't.  The incontrovertible fact of the matter is that all the available evidence shows that this almost invariably leads to more purchases and greater profits. In other words, not only does this lead to no loss, it actually leads to significant gain. So who is losing what, exactly, here? 

I believe that the main reason that theft is evil is because of the harm it causes to its victims. By that token, DRM is a greater evil than illegitimate copying because it causes significantly greater harm, both to those who buy locked content and those that sell it. Theft - real theft, not this weird virtual abstraction - is not only harmful to individuals but it is destructive to society too. It destroys the social contracts, written and unwritten, that bind us as a society and that allow us to trust one another, whether or not we know one another.  DRM is evil in much the same way because it sends a strong message that everyone is a potential criminal that cannot be trusted. That cannot be good for a society.

Comments

  • DRM... ugh.  Back when I was working on my MBA I found an eBook to be 2/3 of the price of the regular printed book.  Since the book was a new to the market (and therefore no used copies would be available) I bought the eBook instead.  The permissions were so tight that it made the book unusable.  I had to use the eBook on the device I downloaded it on, with the computer-user account I was logged in at the time I downloaded it (which happened to be root since I was working on something), and  I think I had to log into my Adobe DRM account in order to use it.  

    I could print out unlimited copies, but doesn't that defeat an eBook?  I ended up printing a copy for myself because the eBook was problematic.  Then my hard drive crashed and the backup I had on CD would not work because the hard drive serial number (of my new hard drive) was different, and the user account ID number (once I reinstalled the OS) was different, so the hashnumber used to verify the "legitimacy" of the user was not the same.  That was $60 down the drain...

     

    never again!

    Apostolos Koutropoulos July 19, 2014 - 10:07am

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