Saturday, September 1, 2012

Who's asking for DRMs ?

I reported a few days ago about the hurdles the Chief Editor of a Webzine had to jump over before reading an ebook the way he wanted (in fact, he can't, except by bypassing the DRMs). Someone commented that the DRMs were often asked by the authors or their agents. That's right, I've sometimes seen author specifically choose DRMs, but it's not (by far) the majority. It probably comes from a distinct sampling, mine being more self/indie published centered.

However, it is easy for everyone to point at authors, even when communication comes from top-management (Arnaud Noury, CEO of Hachette Books). One could say that by having this posture, Arnaud Noury is protecting his authors by taking responsibility of their wishes. But in that case, how can you explain the kind of strong-arming which Cory Doctorow reported a few weeks ago, in which the Publisher forces authors to use DRMs even against their wishes ?

Sure, if publishers explain authors how DRMs are better (billy club in hand), no wonder they agree to ask for them.
And when I write about publishers, editors, agents, authors, I don't speak of individuals, who in their majority are against DRMs, but as the resulting outcome : majority is outvoted by the fewer DRM proponents, with a clear result of having DRMs on most of the ebooks. That's not only too bad, but also counterproductive, hinders cultural progress (short, and long term), but also (I think) creates copyright infringement habits.

But all the onus is not on publishers, agents or authors... ebooksellers have their part too.  They could for example put some pressure on publishers, or reach a little bit midway by implementing Watermarking solutions as an additional option, alternative to full-scale DRMs. Publishers, if you're against DRMs, but don't feel like cutting all copyright protection, why don't you ask for it, like J.K.Rowling (among others) did ?
Watermarks are not perfect, sure, but it is way more customers respectful, and will have less backlash and long term negative effect.

No comments:

Post a Comment