A major publisher dropping DRM really is huge news, and I’m surprised it didn’t make a bigger splash; it even took Boing Boing a whole 24 hours to catch up with it, much less yours truly.
Well, in case you haven’t heard by now, Tor, a science fiction imprint of Macmillan – one of the so-called Big 6 in publishing, at least here in the United States – announced earlier this week that by July of this year all of its ebook titles would be DRM free; Tor UK made a similar statement.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years or so, then you know that DRM is digital rights management; Wikipedia is your friend. Or you can try Defective by Design. DRM has been a pain in the ass of digital media users for years, be it music files or video files – and of course ebook files. I understand that piracy is an issue, and personally I believe that artists should be remunerated for their work. But I also believe that if I buy something – if I give money that I have legally earned in exchange for something – it’s mine to do with if I see fit.
If I want to listen to it in my car, on my computer and on my phone, I should be able to do so. It’s the same with ebooks; I should be able to read it on my Kindle, my phone, my laptop and my Android tablet. It seems the folks at Tor have seen the light:
Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time, Tom Doherty, TOR president and publisher, said in a statement. They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.
Yes, we have. Yes, we are and yes it is. Yes it does.
Let’s hope this continues to be a trend with both publishers large and small. DRM is easily circumventable, and often has the opposite affect, forcing people to either a) pirate works or b) do without (including not PAYING MONEY for books) because their files are crippled by DRM.
As usual props to Locus, where I saw Tor’s DRM announcement first.