DRM-free indie ebooks outsell DRM-locked ones 2:1

Yet more evidence that not only is DRM (digital rights management –  locking of digital content in order to limit purchasers’ options to use it, copy it, etc) an evil blight for consumers, it is actually a really dumb thing for producers to do, assuming they wish to make money. 

So why do publishers do it? I don’t get it. It is just about conceivable that a lack of DRM might lead to more illegal copying, sure, which might be seen as taking legitimate future profits away from the producers. It’s a strange definition of ‘theft’ but I could accept it if it were true. But it isn’t.  The incontrovertible fact of the matter is that all the available evidence shows that this almost invariably leads to more purchases and greater profits. In other words, not only does this lead to no loss, it actually leads to significant gain. So who is losing what, exactly, here? 

I believe that the main reason that theft is evil is because of the harm it causes to its victims. By that token, DRM is a greater evil than illegitimate copying because it causes significantly greater harm, both to those who buy locked content and those that sell it. Theft – real theft, not this weird virtual abstraction – is not only harmful to individuals but it is destructive to society too. It destroys the social contracts, written and unwritten, that bind us as a society and that allow us to trust one another, whether or not we know one another.  DRM is evil in much the same way because it sends a strong message that everyone is a potential criminal that cannot be trusted. That cannot be good for a society.

Address of the bookmark: http://boingboing.net/2014/07/19/drm-free-indie-ebooks-outsell.html

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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