DRM is an acronym for ‘Digital Rights Management’, and is something that all readers and authors of ebooks should understand. Sometimes called ‘Digital Restrictions Management’ by those who know how it works, it is a method used by retailers of digital products, including ebooks, to restrict the use of the file.
Originally applied to music, many vendors of ebooks now use DRM to control what a buyer can do with an ebook. It also allows control over what a vendor can do with a file even after purchase. The well publicised story of the Norwegian woman who had her Kindle ‘wiped’ by Amazon, is a rude example of what DRM means to a buyer of digital products protected by DRM.
Most often, DRM blocks the ability to share or copy a file and can also restrict the use to one particular device. In the case of those familiar with Apple digital products, files are often restricted to a certain number of devices. For those with Kindles, it is clear that you can only use the ebook on your device – and the possibility for Amazon to control the ebook file once on the device. Even the ability to delete it after purchase.
As an author, of course I like to sell books and ebooks. However, I am a firm believer that a book is a book is a book, and that a buyer of my books has the right to read, keep, lend, save and store my ebooks after purchase. Exactly the same as can be done when someone buys one of my books in paperback form.
Digital Restrictions Management is technology that controls what you can do with the digital media and devices you own. When a program doesn’t let you share a song, read an ebook on another device, or play a game without an internet connection, you are being restricted by DRM. In other words, DRM creates a damaged good. It prevents you from doing what would normally be possible if it wasn’t there, and this is creating a dangerous situation for freedom, privacy and censorship.
To enable those readers who buy my ebooks to freely enjoy, share, lend and store their purchases, I have recently moved all of my books to Smashwords, who sell ebooks DRM Free, and have made it the first buying choice on my website. Yes, ‘One Click‘ purchasing is very convenient, but do you really want someone else to have control over what you buy, after you buy it? That in my mind is only renting, and on very restrictive conditions.
Free the ebook for readers by supporting and buying DRM FREE ebooks.