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Old 10-12-2014, 05:45 AM   #1
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Question Arguments For And Against DRM

No doubt this topic has been discussed to death but I wanted your opinions in one place.

Day after tomorrow, I have meetings with three publishers. None of them have the know-how to create indic language ebooks. There is one other company who provides this aggregation service but their material is Adobe DRM protected. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that this protection is in place not to protect the publisher; rather it's purpose is to protect the aggregation company itself who, at present, is enjoying a monopoly in this area.

In any case, before I talk to any of the publishers, I need to be convinced whether to use DRM or not. To be honest, incorporating DRM in the ebooks I aggregate will not really affect my workflow greatly. However, I would like to offer the publisher a solution which would be in their best interests... and to do that, I need to know which side of the fence I'm on.

In other words, help me out. Help me understand the pros and cons of DRM!

Let me start by saying that I am not in favour of DRM in ebooks (or any other media, for that matter) but I can understand that content copyright owners may feel it is necessary to employ DRM. In my opinion, piracy is the biggest publicity tool there is. I have countless books that I have purchased, either as an ebook or as a hard copy which I originally discovered on forums related to download sites. I'm also sure that many people are content with owning a pirated version of an ebook / movie / album and who will never actually spend money on something they have already acquired illegally. Am I in a minority, then? Do losses due to piracy outweigh the sales from people like me?

Another reason I'm not in favour of DRM is that I prefer complete control over the content I purchase. I don't want to have to use say, Digital Editions, to transfer my material between devices. I would like to back-up my purchases on my own external storage, not on some server somewhere. I admit, though, that this is a matter of personal preference and perhaps does not have any relevance while debating the need for DRM. What do you think?
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:56 AM   #2
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I really only have one reason against DRM: Protects nothing and only annoys the customer.

If somebody thinks that DRM protects against piracy, he/she is serious delusional.
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:57 AM   #3
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I really only have one reason against DRM: Protects nothing and only annoys the customer.

If somebody thinks that DRM protects against piracy, he/she is serious delusional.
But it's very useful for libraries. Few publishers would allow books to be lent by libraries without time-limiting DRM.

It's worth remembering, too, that DRM is not synonymous with encryption. Watermarking, for example, is a form of DRM that many people who are against encryption do find to be acceptable, because it imposes no restrictions on using the book on whatever device you wish.

Last edited by HarryT; 10-12-2014 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:01 AM   #4
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DRM or timed lending? It doesn't have to be the same. And the DRM for a "sold" ebook is not the same that DRM for a library book, so schemes are already different (in some way).
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:08 AM   #5
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DRM or timed lending? It doesn't have to be the same. And the DRM for a "sold" ebook is not the same that DRM for a library book, so schemes are already different (in some way).
Certainly - DRM comes in many forms. Would you be against watermarking, for example? That's a form of DRM which I really see no reason to object to.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:21 AM   #6
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Certainly - DRM comes in many forms. Would you be against watermarking, for example? That's a form of DRM which I really see no reason to object to.
No, I'm not against watermarking at all. If I can read a book at any device I have, I don't mind at all about any way of protection.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:33 AM   #7
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I'm not 100% against watermarking, but at the same time it's not completely innocuous. Someone could be wrongfully accused/convicted of copyright violation if someone else copied their books without consent.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:34 AM   #8
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I'm not 100% against watermarking, but at the same time it's not completely innocuous. Someone could be wrongfully accused/convicted of copyright violation if someone else copied their books without consent.
How does anybody copy your books in your files without your consent? Hacking into your hard drive, your cloud...? Or sharing computer?
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:38 AM   #9
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How does anybody copy your books in your files without your consent? Hacking into your hard drive, your cloud...? Or sharing computer?
Any of the above? It's not like there's any shortage of cloud vulnerabilities.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:41 AM   #10
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I'm not so sure about it (and I don't keep my books in the cloud, that's for sure, as you say there're a lot of vulnerabilities).
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:14 AM   #11
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I'm not 100% against watermarking, but at the same time it's not completely innocuous. Someone could be wrongfully accused/convicted of copyright violation if someone else copied their books without consent.
But how do you balance that against the deterrent effect that watermarking undoubtedly has in preventing people from giving copies of their books to other people? I think personally that the balance has to be in favour of watermarking: it imposes no limits on what you can legally do with your books, and certainly acts as a deterrent to giving copies of your books to other people.

I would say that it's your responsibility to take reasonable precautions against anyone copying your books without consent. Eg, if you have a computer which is physically accessible to other people, make sure that you use a password to protect it.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:50 AM   #12
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As far as I know, watermarking does not prevent piracy. It simply provides copyright owners with evidence in any subsequent legal action. I have no problem with watermarking, really, but what's the point? Aren't publishers more concerned with loss of sales through piracy rather than what they might earn by winning a legal action against an offender?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terisa de Morgan
I really only have one reason against DRM: Protects nothing and only annoys the customer.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
DRM is not synonymous with encryption.
Huh. You're right of course. Just didn't occur to me. Following this particular chain of thought, I assume when publishers talk about DRM, what they're actually thinking of is encryption?

Which sort of brings me back to the original question... Does DRM actually have any utility? Because as far as I know, there isn't any method of protection out there that is 100% unbreakable. Its just more difficult or less difficult for a determined individual to break it.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:54 AM   #13
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As far as I know, watermarking does not prevent piracy. It simply provides copyright owners with evidence in any subsequent legal action.
On the contrary: watermarking is, I would argue, much more effective at preventing piracy than encryption is. It's trivially simply to remove most common forms of encryption DRM; watermarks are not at all easy to remove.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
It's trivially simply to remove most common forms of encryption DRM.
Again, I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
Watermarking is, I would argue, much more effective at preventing piracy than encryption is.
I'll accept that.

Of course, the end user has to know the purpose of the watermark as well as the ramifications of distributing watermarked content; its only a deterrent to piracy if there are consequences. As of date, I am not aware of any action taken against any form of piracy in this country.

The e-reader and ebook market in my country is in its infancy. As far as I can tell, there are 3 types of people in this market:

The first are those who actually shop online; therefore, they are aware that such a thing as an ebook exists. Those who have international credit cards can purchase content from international ebook stores. Those who don't can purchase ebooks from a smattering of local ebookstores which are disorganised and not publisized.

The second and third category comprises people like me who are fairly internet savvy; some of us do download from pirate sites but purchase any book we want to keep. Others do not.

Watermarking does not really affect the first category. If they like the ebook they have purchased, they will share it with their friends and family much like a physical book. The second and third category who download from pirate sites don't care about the watermark either as long as it doesn't substantially affect their reading experience. In fact, I'm pretty sure the third category doesn't care either way because they're not paying for it.

But anyway, I digress. Lets assume I incorporate watermarking into my ebooks. Can I convince my publisher that it will justify the additional amount I will charge for this during aggregation?

Again I say: I would like to convince the publishers that DRM, or to be more specific, encryption, does 'nothing but annoy the customer'. Am I right? Or is there more to it than that?
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:48 AM   #15
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I am interested in how watermarking works and what makes it so difficult to remove.
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