Tor Books UK Says Ditching DRM Showed No Increase In Piracy
from the of-course-not dept
We’ve never quite understood the purpose behind DRM, and have said so many times. It doesn’t stop infringement, because the DRM is always cracked, and the crack always leads to a clean version. And once you have a clean version, it’s available everywhere. Those who want to infringe will do so. So, in the end, the only thing DRM does is (1) annoy legitimate buyers and (2) lock in certain platforms such that the ebook platform providers (hello Amazon!) have much more power than the publishers. Given that, I’ve been amazed for years that the ebook world hasn’t moved more strongly towards a DRM-free world, which the music industry was eventually forced to embrace (with little corresponding harm). A number of smaller publishers have embraced the promise of DRM-free ebooks, and a year ago, Tor, publishers of lots of popular sci-fi works, made plenty of news for going DRM-free in both the US and the UK.
As it is, we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year.
Given the point we made above, this is hardly surprising. In fact, it seems almost silly to look at all the fears some had about the move to DRM-free. In fact, it looked like Tor was a lot more worried about it than its authors. As the blog post notes, when it carefully approached its authors, including some best sellers, they were eager to support the move, with many applauding the publisher for taking that step, rather than being anti-consumer. Tor notes that the very fact that both its customers and authors seemed aligned on this issue made the decision much easier to make in the long run.
Of course, the real question now is who’s next? I’m still amazed that any publisher thinks that DRM is a good idea. Now Tor’s provided more evidence that removing it doesn’t increase infringement rates. So, in one single move, publishers can provide significantly more value and convenience for ebook buyers, and take some of the power away from Amazon without any risk of greater infringement. It’s astounding that publishers aren’t pushing each other aside to make a similar move.