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IS DRM For You?

What Is Digital Rights Management?

Digital rights management controls not only when the customer can use the product, but also how the product is used. According to Margaret Rouse, “DRM is implemented by embedding code that prevents copying, specifies a time period in which the content can be accessed or limits the number of devices the media can be installed on.”

Effects of Digital Rights Management

According to Copy Issues with e-books (Links to an external site.), “When buyers are purchasing e-books, they are not merely buying the book to own. In reality, e-book consumers are purchasing a licensing agreement.” Digital rights media is often active because of these kinds of licensing agreements. The DRM serves as a way to uphold the licensing deal for an e-book.

For example, Microsoft Office made an entrance into the e-book market in 2017 and left two years later. When Microsoft went under, customers of Microsoft’s e-books no longer could read e-books on their e-readers. Every Microsoft e-book that was purchased received their money back although customers deemed the product to be more valuable than money.

DRM for Authors

Digital rights management was first created to prevent online piracy. Now, the DRM has extended to being used to control the author’s content. One possible benefit of having DRM is the ability to edit e-books after it has uploaded. If the author notices an error, it will be easily fixed. Through the DRM, all of the author’s edits will be up to date since it connects to the server. Then if an author dislikes the feedback from a particular section, they can completely delete the section. The DRM adds an extra layer of protection that many authors have considered using.

Like every other coin, there are two sides to the DRM. A group of critics who are highly against the use of DRM has created a #DayAgainstDRM. Now is the time to raise awareness about the harms of DRM. According to Creative Commons Timothy Vollmer (Links to an external site.), ” 

There are serious problems with attaching DRM to creative works: not only does it frustrate legitimate users in enjoying the content they’ve paid for in the ways they wish, but it also limits access and interaction with these works for educational and socially beneficial purposes.”

DRM has to be connected to a certain server; control is inevitable. Anderson  (Links to an external site.)writes, “If you want to shift your Kindle books to an e-reader that doesn’t support Kindle files, you have to break the DRM. And as e-readers and e-books become more common, this fact becomes unavoidable.”

How does DRM affect E-book customers?

Companies who decide to use DRM have more control over the e-book. Thus, if a customer buys a book from Amazon, the book can only be read on a Kindle Fire or Kindle app. E-books purchased from Amazon are unable to be shared with other Amazon users.

Purchasers of e-books using DRM may limit how many devices an individual can download the same e-book.  Some individuals are unable to print from e-books. If a person manages to print their e-books a watermark will appear on every page.Through DRM e-books are unsharable because it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Is DRM stronger than Vibranium?

DRM is far from being impenetrable. If a company decides to use DRM,  possibilities of setbacks still exist. For many customers, breaking the DRM off of their device is advantageous.

 If a customer owns an e-book by a company that uses DRM, they could lose their e-book when they travel out of the country. K.T. Bradford (Links to an external site.)explains, “attempting to access Google Play Books from a country where that service is not available isn’t possible, even if you bought the books in an access country. This affects people traveling internationally as well as those who move from one country to another.” Customers who are wary of the future of e-book companies also may want to break DRM. When the DRM is broken customers will be able to keep the e-books, even if the company goes under.

While the use of DRM has changed, so has the initial market. As a result, DRM is both valuable and unhelpful for authors and consumers. Depending on a person’s perspective, DRM may be beneficial to authors and customers alike.