Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Books, DRM, and annoyance

A friend sent me some interesting links on the DRM and ebooks issue.

This article discusses DRM ("It has no impact whatsoever on piracy") and how publishers can use piracy data to good effect. Plus the fact that every pirated download does not equal a lost sale. (In fact, sometimes a pirated download equals an extra sale.) And how publishers frustrating demand leads to piracy. Listen up, Penguin!

Here Paulo Coelho talks about how he mines the data on piracy of his books, and it shows him where the demand is, so that he can get new editions out in particular regions or arrange for translations to be made. Sensible Coelho! (Terrible books though.)

We all pay money all the time for other people's bad behaviour, like the costs of security in supermarkets. But knowing that the DRM that's causing me hassle is nothing at all to people who don't care about such things is plain irritating. It's like if the security people at supermarkets just looked you in the eye as you left and said "have you stolen anything, hmmm?", after a while you'd probably start stealing things just out of annoyance. I pay for DVDs: and then I waste a not insignificant portion of my life sitting through patronising warnings on the DVDs about what would happen if I didn't pay for them. I'm quite fed up with it.


  1. Once I've finished a novel, I give it to my sister; she reads it and passes it on to a friend, and so on. This is legal, and the publisher and author make no money from all these repeat re-readings.
    If you lend me a DVD, I watch it without paying the film studio or the actors; I give it back, and you lend it to another friend, or it goes on eBay or to Oxfam.
    All readings/viewings except the first are free, even though the publisher has spent money printing the book / pressing the DVD, and distributing the physical objects.
    You can see where I'm going with this ...

  2. It would be different if you copied an ebook to your sister and held on to the original. I think maybe the publishers feel that they deserve a bit of extra money for what they see as the risk of the thing existing in digital form. But I wish they would stop seeing the people who like books as the enemy. Not everyone likes books.