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. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), 24 Nov 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually there is already a problem. Right now you have two big formats competing... Adobe's EPub and "Amazon's" Mobipocket. Both have DRM, but Amazon's license stipulates that you can't have Mobipocket DRM on your device next to any other DRM.
    So you can only have a EPub Reader or a Mobipocket ereader device.
    Right now I have a Bebook ereader with a firmware version that supports .mobi pocket, but most ebook providers in my country prefer .epub. And there is a firmware version available that supports .epub, but that strips the mobipocket drm support from the device.
    The problem is that I already have books in DRM'ed .mobi format.
    Of course I could alternate between firmwares, but that's like juggling with fire, something is bound to break at some time.
    Or I could somehow circumvent the DRM on those mobipocket books and possibly violate a law or two. Not sure which is worse, the piracy of downloaders or this kind of sellers piracy.

    Consumers can never win format wars.

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