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DRM: The Digital Rights Management Scam

At the Writers Union of Canada conference, an author stood to ask a panel the question:

Should authors fight to keep Digital Rights Management?

DRM:  is a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices.

Someone from the panel replied that, yes. Authors need DRM to keep the pirates at bay.

I disagree. DRM has two major disadvantages. It keeps customers from enjoying your writing on whatever devices they choose so savvy readers won’t read your book if you’ve slapped the locks on it.

But the panel missed the most important problem with DRM on books: It doesn’t work. If you’ve got a work out there, it’s already cracked. It’s already distributed to pirates. However, it’s not all doom. Pirates were never going to buy your book, anyway. They’re pirates and it’s the pirate life for them.

If you want to protect your work from illegal copying, don’t bother with DRM. Make your book cheap, so cheap it’s not worth a pirate’s time to even think about cracking DRM.

Self-publishers putting out ebooks are 

in the impulse buy, couch change business. 

Pirate 1: Let’s disrespect the author’s work and steal his book! (Editor’s note: Because pirates these days talk like that and rarely say Ar! That’s cliche.)

Pirate 2: It’s like $2.99, dude. Why bother? Why risk a virus to download it from a pirate site?

Pirate 1: But we could read it for free, matey. (Editor’s note: Yes, they say matey. A lot.)

Pirate 2: Look, I’m okay with being a hosebag about enjoying somebody’s work for free, but I’m not going to waste my time. Just one-click it and own it.

Pirate 1: But free’s always better. If I like it, I’ll blog about it and publicize the book. (Editor’s note: I expected more swashbucklin’ talk, too.)

Pirate 2: And if you hate it, you’ll blog longer about it, right? You’ll complain and troll about something you got for free. Pathetic. Listen, order the pizza and we’ll look in your couch for change. You’ll find enough coins under the cushions to buy that book and still tip the pizza delivery guy.

(Editor’s note: This concludes Pirate Unlikely Verbalization of Argument in Conversation Form Theater for today.) 

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Filed under: Books, DIY, ebooks, self-publishing, Writers, writing tips, , ,

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Winner of the North Street Book Prize, Reader's Favorite, the
Literary Titan Award, the Hollywood Book Festival, and the
New York Book Festival.


Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

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