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Old 11-04-2012, 09:44 AM   #46
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What I am saying is that the pirate is not hurt by DRM, but the customer is.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:02 AM   #47
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What I am saying is that the pirate is not hurt by DRM, but the customer is.
Oh...
Perhaps you didn't realize that I was identifying with the "writers" in the title for this thread.
Anyway, now you know. I hope that clarifies matters for you.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:55 AM   #48
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I was going to let the matter go, as it seems that no consensus can be reached, but you have drawn me in. I know we will probably not see eye to eye on this, but maybe I can explain my argument in a way that you will show at least some of its merit. I realize that this thread is geared toward the needs of the writer, but if you are not meeting the needs of your customers, then you will not be a writer for long. I am not trying to be contrary, I am trying to help. Technical writing is one of the few areas where a writer can make a good living without a day job. It behooves those writers to understand what their customers' needs are. While people who create DRM will scream about piracy and the need to protect intellectual property, the fact is that the danger is just not real. The on-line music industry, for example, has mostly done away with the use of DRM because it simply did not work. It did not stop piracy, but it did stop customers from buying. Did this result in an increase in pirated music? Maybe a little, but those files were already out there for the taking. Did it also result in increased sales? Absolutely. The music industry is being hurt by their own inability to adapt, improvise, and overcome, not piracy. They scream about piracy while paying their executives outlandish salaries and continuing to market to the dwindling CD buyers, and yet even they saw the damage that DRM was doing to their sales. Customers do not like DRM and they will quite often show it with their pocket books.

If I am looking for a reference manual or technical piece then I usually have to make due with a hard copy, but more and more often those creatures are available as ebooks. When they are available in electronic format they are RARELY protected by DRM. Does this mean that the pirate sites are flooded with copies of sports medicine books, electronic schematics, and pilfered copies of the Pharmacopeia? Not so much, no. There is no demand for them on pirate sites, because there are not enough people who care about them.

If I absolutely need a manual for work and it happens to have DRM, then I either buy the book in paper or I buy the ebook anyway and strip the DRM off (not difficult to do) so that I can use it as I please. Most folks will not know how to do this and will either buy or photocopy the paper version if they don't want to deal with the DRM. To be a successful writer you need readers. A loyal base of readers is best established by meeting their needs, not by limiting their use of your works.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:10 PM   #49
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I was going to let the matter go, as it seems that no consensus can be reached, but you have drawn me in. I know we will probably not see eye to eye on this, ---
"My friend," if I might be allowed that.
I have said there were warts and thorns. I know that. In time we may all understand these things better and a happier and brighter world will ensue. I sincerely hope that happens.

What we are dealing with now is a "revolution" of sorts. A digital revolution where we are trying to learn what works, to sort out things.

You are right in that if I don't please my customers, I will not do well as an author. I try to do that, and succeed generally.

There are many kinds of readers, and many kinds of books.
I think most readers, and I am in this category, generally read a book once and then move on. True, years later, for one reason or another, they may re-read the same book, which might have been on a bookcase in the den a few years ago.

Here at Mobileread, if you listen to the pulse of things, it looks like many people read, and re-read their books and like to have them in bookcases or on their eReaders just to keep them company.

Those are 2 extremes of the reader.

I think and have been told that the first group is more general and DRM doesn't really affect them, and that the sellers are finding ways to accommodate the second group. Is everyone in that group happy? No, but that is the way things usually are.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #50
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This thread was started by someone speaking on a very specific type of book, technical manuals. The discussions were not aimed at novels or other mass market books, but technical writing. Technical manuals used in medicine, engineering, etc. are not books used once and never again. These are books used and referenced on a daily or near daily basis and for these books, which is what this discussion was started in reference to, there is a need to be able to use and freely transfer these books over time and across platforms.

For the average readers who rarely reread their books and who stick with one platform, DRM is not a big issue...until they decide to buy a new device and find that that book they never intended to reread is no longer even available to them as an option. It's like when a kid picks up another kid's toy, suddenly the first kid wants to play with that toy again. There is no better way to get people up in arms against something than to take away their ability to choose, and DRM does take away a person's ability to choose. DRM limits which devices you can use and in what ways you can read the books "protected" by DRM. I am not in favor of DRM, but I would be completely in favor of some way to make ebook files which can only be cut and transferred rather than copied and transferred. When you buy a physical book and lend it or resell it you are not left with a copy of that book, this is not the case with ebooks. If there were a way to simulate that same situation in ebooks then I would not have any issue with that. DRM, however, is not an acceptable form of intellectual property protection.

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Old 11-05-2012, 05:42 PM   #51
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DRM [...] is not an acceptable form of intellectual property protection.
I like the way you put that.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #52
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The best way to ensure more sales for the author is to be inviting and welcoming to your target market. Set a reasonable price, be completely useful for the people you are selling to. You'll get repeat customers who will spread the word far and wide.

I recently bought the humble e-book bundle. Why? because the authors were open, inviting, and didn't make their product a pain in the posterior to use. I downloaded it and it's mine. I also told everyone I knew about these amazing authors, and why I am so willing to support them.

If authors want to make their work require extra song and dance, after they've paid for it, just to be able to use it (especially if they are writing specialized reference material!), then they're going to have a lot of unsatisfied customers. I've bought DRM'ed books before, and prior to knowing how to use the "tools" (which can't be discussed here) I was a sad person who felt ripped off. I still feel insulted that I had to pick the lock on my own storybooks so I could read them however the *bleep* I wanted.

But despite the many real concerns that might affect paying customers, if authors feel somehow safe, even if it's placebo, from pirates, by slapping DRM on their material go for it. A better option is a watermark (which is a "kind" of drm, but not a PITA) if you really don't trust your customers.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:40 PM   #53
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The Humble Bundle and the Story Bundle (similar to the HB, but only involving ebooks) are both wonderful examples of what happens when you trust and provide for your customers. www.humblebundle.com and storybundle.com (no www. on the story bundle). These two bundles are a perfect way to market and to make a good deal of money in a relatively short period of time. Customers feel like they get an excellent deal and feel respected with the bundle set up and so they have a much smaller chance of pirating rather than buying those books. Respecting your readers is the best way to keep them legit and loyal.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:57 AM   #54
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DRM cannot work. Ever. If anybody can view it with their eyes, or listen to it with their ears, they can record it with a camera or microphone. With HD-quality video cameras, they can record what is being displayed on an HDCP-compliant display device.

Pirated media may be lower quality, but it is often still better than films shown at a modern theater where the projectionist did a poor job of focusing (which is all-too-common).

The only solution is to teach honesty and integrity (the golden rule) at a young age, and to keep prices affordable for all...
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:54 AM   #55
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Remember the MP3? Once there was a time DRM was considered:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/03...3_drm_to_demo/

Do you believe anyone who'd consider DRM for digital music today would stand a chance to survive? How would it be any different with e-books, except that MP3s had a 5-10 year head start?
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:39 AM   #56
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You know, strangely, when I started out, I had no love of DRM and never put it on my books. Mobileread and the multiple threads and discussions showed me just how many people out there are perfectly happy to download books and redistribute them (Not just mobileread, but other forums too). I know that those who wish to break DRM will; however, I've seen a pretty casual attitude on many forums about passing along books. I do think there is a misunderstanding about DRM in several circles (the one that says, if there is no DRM or I got it for free, then it's okay to pass it along). The various attitudes and threads has convinced me that DRM is probably not a bad idea for most genres.

Many, if not all, of my future releases will have DRM on the main selling sites. I'll still make it available without DRM, probably from my own blog, but not likely from the larger sites. I don't see the benefit of not including it anymore.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:46 PM   #57
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As a a general rule, we professionals who "need" your small-run technical book are not going to search for an illegal copy of it. We need to stay legal and above-board in today's corporate environment.

My work PC is swept regularly, looking for unlicensed software. The costs of being caught are too high and so is the the cost of not having what we need right now. I suspect the OP's product is a solution in search of a problem. I also don't need a single extra hoop to jump through to access professional content I buy.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:28 PM   #58
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I'd also like to say that I've watched these arguments for probably 5 years. I've also followed writers who do and who don't use DRM. I have not seen one shred of evidence that suggests writers who apply DRM end up selling less. None. A sale here or there that wasn't noticed? Sure, it's possible. But, as I've said, I don't see any of the supposed "exposure" that is touted as a result of pirate site, I don't see any benefit at all. Now that Amazon makes it possible for an author to do legal free promos, that exposure may easily weigh out the illegal type. I don't know. But books with and without DRM show up on pirate sites (meaning the original books had it.)

In short, I see zero benefit to the writer. The average PURCHASER doesn't know or care what it is. The average person on Mobileread is not the average purchaser. And those of them who wish to strip DRM will do so anyway. It doesn't hurt sales or help them from what I've seen just by watching.

DRM isn't all that effective against a determined person, but it's generally fairly effective against the 'accidental" and uninformed reader who is asked by their friend if they can borrow or have a copy of a book. This happens a LOT on cozy groups I'm on. They find they cannot transfer the file (and never really know why, but also don't understand that they shouldn't be doing it in the first place.) So DRM works against the casual person who simply tries a file transfer (usually out of the good of their heart--thinking they are passing along a book to a friend who wants to read it.)
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:37 PM   #59
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You know, strangely, when I started out, I had no love of DRM and never put it on my books. Mobileread and the multiple threads and discussions showed me just how many people out there are perfectly happy to download books and redistribute them (Not just mobileread, but other forums too). I know that those who wish to break DRM will; however, I've seen a pretty casual attitude on many forums about passing along books. I do think there is a misunderstanding about DRM in several circles (the one that says, if there is no DRM or I got it for free, then it's okay to pass it along).
I really doubt that this is so. All books, eBooks or print have very clear conditions regarding copyright and what you may or may not do with the copy you have purchased.

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The various attitudes and threads has convinced me that DRM is probably not a bad idea for most genres.
DRM will only keep technophobe from re-distributing your books, and there really is no way of determining how many who purchase eBook are technophobes. I believe that there are far more such purchasers than many on these forums imagine. Too many here assume that most buyers have a similar level of expertise and understanding as those who contribute here. This much at least is highly unlikely. What such people - those among them determined to cheat - can and will do is locate sources of software, music and eBooks that someone with more skill has removed protection from. Torrents. There are programs that the most technically naive among them can easily download and install. Programs that will allow them to search torrents as easily as doing a Google search.

The upshot is that you have the satisfaction of preventing simple distribution of your copyright material; you have added one extra step in the process. Hardly a stumbling block. DRM will stop Aunt Mabel from giving a copy of her purchases to Uncle Harold, but that is about it. (Until fourteen year old nephew Michael steps in and solves their problem.) Even Apple, one of the most savagely and determinedly self-protective companies in modern society has removed the DRM from iTunes store. Why do you think that they did that? It was damaging their sales.

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Many, if not all, of my future releases will have DRM on the main selling sites. I'll still make it available without DRM, probably from my own blog, but not likely from the larger sites. I don't see the benefit of not including it anymore.
If they devised a DRM system that would prevent copying but still work on all platforms, I would agree with you. Until then, I feel that DRM has become such a dirty word that even those who do not understand what it is will avoid it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:56 PM   #60
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I hate DRM, but I have to agree that there are plenty of folks who "lend" out their ebooks to friends or who do not realize that it is not legal to do so. The legal and copyright notices in the beginning of books are, for the most part, completely ignored by most people (myself included).

The big issue is that people see lending ebooks in the same way that they see lending paper books. This is, of course, not the case unless you delete your copy of the ebook after lending it. When you let a friend borrow a paper book you do not retain an exact copy of that book, but you do retain an exact copy when you "lend" an ebook.

The argument that DRM stops casual file sharing and decreases the average person from unwittingly pirating ebooks is the one and only argument that I have ever heard which actually makes a plausible case for the use of DRM. This actually gave me pause and forced me to examine my own feelings of anti-DRM sentiment. I am still against DRM for all of the reasons that I have already stated, but I can now at least see some of the merit of the other side of this debate, even if it is just a small sliver of merit. There has to be a better way than DRM to protect intellectual property rights. DRM is not the answer, and with so many of us focusing on DRM there aren't enough folks trying to come up with a plausible alternative.

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Seriously thoughtful DRM != Piracy gwynevans Lounge 48 05-27-2009 10:04 AM


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