Video: Author Peter Brett on Digital Rights Management

by John

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is technology that limits the way electronic files are copied. It is intended to limit piracy, which is the practice of obtaining and distributing copyrighted material on the Web for free. DRM also ensures that authors and publishers are paid properly; however, some people think that they should be able to have full control of the file they  purchased. Author Peter Brett  gives his opinion on the subject:

“Having an e-book adds another editing pass for me. When you write a book, you usually write it in a word processing program. You send it into the publisher; and when you finalize the text, it gets converted into a format, usually using Adobe InDesign, where they can send it to a printing press. When you add e-books into that, that book has to again be converted into an e-book format; and you have to edit it again because a lot of errors get introduced when you make that conversion.

Right now, when we have a number of competing e-book sellers, each of whom has their own locked format, you have to convert a book several times, so the book that you’re selling from iBooks is not the same book that you’re selling from Amazon, which is not the same book you’re selling from Nook, because they want you to use their device.  And so they lock the files in such a way that a Nook file can only be read on a Nook and an Amazon file can only be read on a Kindle. And that’s done deliberately to try and force consumers to just buy from one seller.

Recently, a publisher called MacMillan, who has a science fiction and fantasy imprint called Tor, has decided they’re not going to play that game anymore.  And they’ve decided to start selling their books without the digital rights management encoding that prevents other devices from reading the books. So they’re now selling their books in such a way that no matter what your  [electronic] reader is, you can buy those books and read them on an e-reader. And I think that that’s something that’s going to be a wave through the publishing industry. And pretty soon, you’re going to see all of the publishers doing that.”

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Categories: Economics, Video & Audio Projects

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