Publishers Getting The Wrong Message Over eBook Piracy

from the going-in-the-wrong-direction dept

Well, you just knew this was going to happen eventually. Suddenly publishers are starting to freak out over "ebook piracy," claiming (totally inaccurately) that they've lost $600 million to it. Of course, as some are noting the real problem isn't "piracy" but the industry's response to it:
The best way to fight piracy? Got e-book shoppers accustomed to buying from legitimate sources before it's too late. That means easy downloading, fair prices and the ability to move content easily from machine to machine within a household. Use of the standard ePub format and the end of traditional DRM could go a long way in that regard.
Instead, they're likely to go in the other direction (they always do) and try to raise the DRM walls higher in a futile effort to "fight" piracy. Of course, as we discussed nearly a year ago, the ebook industry could really use more piracy, because it's actually a great indicator of what people really want. And, of course, locking up content with more DRM will only serve to take away value. If there's growing piracy, that just means the industry is putting up unreasonable barriers. Hopefully publishers realize this before totally screwing things up, but somehow it seems likely they'll make all the same mistakes as the music industry.

Filed Under: drm, ebooks, piracy


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  1. identicon
    Karen in Wichita, 24 Nov 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Amen.

    My mother likes audiobooks. But her first experience with non-CD ones was via the public library, and Overdrive. Typically, she'd fight the DRM and manage to finally get the thing properly onto her device about 24 hours before it expired. And she's pretty tech-savvy for her age.

    Eventually, we developed a system: she'd check out a book from the library or buy one online, and let us know. We'd then get online and get her a version with DRM removed so she could actually listen to the thing she'd reserved or paid for.

    Someone with fewer technical resources would just give up. Someone with fewer scruples would skip the paying-for-it step. Either way, those are lost customers. I can't imagine piracy causing more losses than that.

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