O'Reilly Media

Should I use DRM?

I received an email from O'Reilly Media (technical publishers) today. I was interested to read their statement about Digital Rights Management:

Having the ability to download files at your convenience, store them on all your devices, or share them with a friend or colleague as you would a print book or DVD is liberating, and is how it should be.

I have a lot of respect for O'Reilly Media – their technical books are excellent and good value – so I value their opinion about DRM. I've read differing opinions in the books, websites and blog posts I've read about publishing ebooks. Most of them say that DRM doesn't stop the real pirates but is an inconvenience to your genuine readers.

I do feel that if I've bought a digital book, I should be able to store it on any of the devices I can use to read it.

The clincher for  me is another experience I had yesterday. I decided to purchase Office 2013 for Home and Business. After buying it, I searched the internet to find out whether I should uninstall the previous version, and stumbled across posts about the licensing. Guess what, the 2013 version is licensed to the device you install it on, not to you, the user. So apparently, if my computer crashes and I have to buy a new one, I can't install this software on it, I have to buy another copy. Adobe and Microsoft are both doing their best to force users into the subscription model - soon we will forget that once upon a time purchasing software was like buying a printed book - it came with discs, a printed manual and a key, and if your computer died you installed it on the new one, using the same key. You owned it, and you could choose to stay with the same old version as long as it suited your needs.

It seems to me that digital rights management has a similar effect on customers. —Maren