Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To DRM or Not to DRM... That is the Question...

I meant to get this up last week, but I was laaaaaazy and taking a break from writing altogether. I need to get cracking on the next JKC though, and I need to get started on this new series my illustrator is entirely too excited about. He keeps making... covers for it. I keep telling him that I haven't even written the first one yet, and now he's showing me cover #7. *sigh* I guess I better do it then! He also made a teaser image ... seriously, a teaser image... for it. Lemme see if I can find it.

Keep in mind, I've told him NOTHING about the series except the main character's name and the rough idea of it. No plots, no backgrounds... no nothing. Well, he's got some pics too to make covers from (duh), so yeah, he's really picked it up and run with it! Including a fucking logo for the secret agency, which you can see "stamped" on the background of the file. Who knew Jotham liked spy movies? Well, I do now!

Anyway, the topic of the blog post... should you add DRM to your books? In theory, DRM or Digital Rights Management is supposed to protect your books from pirates. In practice... not so much. There's a lot of guides online on how to remove DRM from any ebook using Calibur... which yeah. I have that program because I use it to convert my .odf files to .mobi for uploads. If you get a certain plug in, you can strip DRM from ebooks for use on any device. 

Now, one thing you may not know about buying an ebook from Amazon... you're not actually "buying" it, but rather "leasing" it. There's been instances where Amazon has went into user's kindles and erased things they legitimately bought. A quick Google search on your part will come up with a couple stories on this (cause I'm lazy and not doing link-search-posting here). Since you're "leasing" it, they can wipe it at any time, and you have no legal recourse. Now, if you're like me and you enjoy rereading things... to go back and find a favorite book gone would be terrible. However, if you converted it to a .pdf file and downloaded onto your computer, you'd have it for all time. Putting DRM on books makes it hard to do that. Not impossible by any means, but hard... er. Or at least bothersome.

Any DRM on anything doesn't detract pirates. It doesn't. All it does it bother legitimate users who purchased the right to use the product how they see fit, and if they're unable to convert it, they may be unhappy. To this end, I've decided never to use DRM on any of my books from here on out. Now, my old ones do because I wasn't thinking about it, but any future ones won't for the convenience of my customers. 


  1. I'm a long-tome fan of DRM-free art. I've been following the evolution of piracy and DRM and copyright for a long time (like, since the days of Napster). As Cory Doctorow says, the one thing a digital artist fears is not piracy, it's obscurity.

    1. I agree with that... as I said in response to Reed on Google+, I just wish I would have paid more attention or spared a bit of thought for this earlier. Oh well.