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Ebook Digital Rights Management

 

Digital rights management [DRM] is used to restrict what the user may do with an e-book. DRM may include:

  • Preventing transfer of ownership of an e-book to another person.
  • Restrict printing
  • Restrict text selection for copy and paste
  • Track readers by requiring a connection to a website when reading
  • Restricting access to the ebook to a limited number [2 or 3] of computers
  • Using Click Wrap licensing - limiting the rights of the public to freely distribute, sell or use texts in the public domain.

 

Complications of DRM

Whilst many publishers claim that DRM is designed to prevent copying of the ebook, most e-book publishers do not warn authors about the possible consequences of the Digital Rights Management on their ebooks.

  • DRM can result in complete denial of access by the purchaser to the e-book.
  • Some formats of DRM restrict viewing of the e-book is tied to a specific computer or device.
  • The purchaser may be limited to moving the ebook a limited number of times, after which they cannot use it on any additional devices.
  • If the purchaser upgrades or replaces their devices, they will lose access to their ebook.
  • Some forms of DRM depend on the existence of online services to authenticate the purchasers. If the service provider ceases operation, the purchaser will no longer be able to access the e-book.

DRM deems an ebook as a rental or lease rather than a purchase. So consider use of this scheme carefully before opting into it. In most cases, distribution of ebooks is more limited that most imagine. Although, there is increasing fraud in this area, as there is in software and music piracy, mainly from Asia and Russia. However, authorities are working aggressively to stamp out these scurilous practices.

In response, hackers quickly come up with hacks into DRM - there is one for Amazons Kindle Ebook already, within weeks of its release.

Next: Issues with DRM

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