At least, it is to most e-bookworms. What jolly japes we have playing around with the initials. My favourite is my own ... DON’T READ ME, because I know so many hundreds of ebook reading folks who will never buy a DRM book on principle. But have a go at inventing your own.
Tony, Hugh, Sam and I at BeWrite Books believe Digital Rights Management (the official term) is an insult to honest readers everywhere.
Nobody should buy a book that’s so heavily padlocked (supposedly) against piracy that their private property rights are blatantly violated: that they can’t read their legally purchased book where they want to and on any reading platform they own, that they can’t lend it to a friend, that they can’t move it from one virtual book shelf to another. An ebook should be as free as a paperback or hardback treebook. Once it's bought, give it wings.
The influential ZNet’s executive editor, David Berling, came up with an alternative term to describe Draconian Digital Rights Management. He suggested: Content Restriction, Annulment and Protections. And you know what those initials spell out, folks. Nice one, David.
DRM has been around for a long, long time (to challenge the rights of manufacturers of player pianos or pianola rolls and kids who taped a favourite pop song from the radio). It’s supposed to curtail the nefarious activities of digital pirates.
Of course, it doesn’t (ask the music industry). What it does is to encourage superfluous sales and make money for publishers, distributors and retailers.
Any self-respecting pirate can do a merry hornpipe around DRM. And most pirated books are not ripped off from digital versions anyway – they’re simply scanned from best-selling paperbacks.
What DRM in fact does is to treat honest-to-goodness buyers of copyrighted material like criminals-in-waiting. It makes a nonsense of the basic rights of ownership. But it’s good news for greedy publishers, retailers and distributors who tell you that if you want to hand over a book you’ve just enjoyed to your wife – buy another copy!
When you buy something (here we’re concerned with books rather than music, film, TV, etc), a copyright is in place and is respected by most buyers. We believe that legitimate buyers (there's another kind?) do not in any way infringe that copyright through the common, acceptable, lawful and fair practice of lending the book to their neighbour or friend or deciding to change the place on the virtual library shelf where it’s stored, the device they decide to read on.
DRM appliers do – many major publishers and some high-profile retail shops and some huge distributors.
I can’t remember who said this, but the words stick in my mind: “DRM manages artistic rights in the same way that prisons manage freedom.” But a book with a DRM restriction essentially locks down that work and allows ‘owner exclusive’ use ... and even the owner is going to have trouble if he wants to read his DRM book on any reader that’s not specifically licensed for it at the point of sale.
No names, no pack drill because, if you’re an ebook reader, you know who the culprits are, our sincere hope is that you will refuse to buy a book that carries DRM and that you will spread the word ... “WHEN YOU BUY A BOOK, IT’S YOURS TO DO WITH AS YOU WILL ... JUST DON’T MAKE A PIRATE BUSINESS OUT OF IT.”
BeWrite Books – like several other publishers and distribution agencies – trust our readers to play the game. We oppose DRM and support the right of readers to FAIRLY share what they buy and to keep it for use on any reading platform FOREVER.