Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Digital Rights Management or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pirate

Book publishers are learning the lesson the music industry already learned: don't treat your customers like criminals.

It's been 18 months since O'Reilly, the world's largest publisher of tech books, stopped using DRM on its ebooks. In the intervening time, O'Reilly's ebook sales have increased by 104 percent. Now, when you talk about ebooks and DRM, there's always someone who'll say, "But what about [textbooks|technical books|RPG manuals]? Their target audience is so wired and online, why wouldn't they just copy the books without paying? They've all got the technical know-how."

So much for that theory.

Any conversation about digital media inherently turns to piracy and how to stop it. The music industry has realized that no matter what kind of encrypted wrapper (DRM) they put their music in, pirates found a way around it. So the industry gave up, and began offering un-DRMed mp3 files. Guess what? They sold more of them, and book publishers will soon follow.

[BoingBoing via TWiT]

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