Issues: Digital Rights Management
Digital Rights Management, or DRM for short, governs the distribution of content that you've purchased, preventing customers from playing or viewing their content on too many devices, or sharing that content with friends and relatives. DRM was built into the DVD movie standard, and it was applied to all purchases made through the iTunes Store until 2009. Most books sold for the Kindle, and all books sold through the iBookstore, are encumbered with DRM. We believe DRM hobbles adoption of ebooks, and we wish to see it abolished in all published work.
Fortunately, consumers, writers, and publishers are all realizing the problems with DRM, which is slowly pressuring e-reader manufacturers to drop the practice. In the meantime, we wish to take this one step further.
Authors can adapt this letter to their own purposes in the event that they're asked to go with a bookseller or publisher that requires DRM. In the Kindle store, for example, DRM can be turned off on a case-by-case basis. You can make yourself one of those people, and be proud that you made a small difference.
Publishers and booksellers large and small can display their lack of DRM with pride. If you sell an unencumbered digital version of your books, you can display a badge to reflect that on your own site. It should link to this page, which explains what DRM is, why it's important, and why abandoning it is a good thing.
Finally, everyone can write to the largest publishers and ebook retailers and encourage them to change their position on DRM. We set up a form for a month that allowed people to write letters, and we're mailing copies of those letters to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony, as well as the "Big Six" publishers: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, and Simon & Schuster.
We can make a serious dent in the use of DRM – but it can only happen with your help. Share this page with your friends and colleagues, and help us raise awareness of this issue. We can't do it alone, and nobody else is going to stand up for you.