Digital rights management

6 Risk Factors That Publishers Face Without Digital Rights Management

We are all aware of the time and effort that goes into creating high-quality ebooks and other online content. With all the benefits of ease of publishing and access that the Internet provides, it has its share of drawbacks, which may cost the publisher more in terms of revenue and loss of reputation. One such drawback is that the Internet makes it very easy to share and download content. So if you sell an ebook online and the purchaser then shares the soft copy with their friends, you stand to lose content. Second, anyone can copy-paste or modify your content, leading to plagiarism or related issues. In the case of the print media, there are copyright laws to check such malpractices. However, online media is a different playing field altogether in which traditional copyright laws hold no ground.

What is Digital Rights Management?

Digital rights management is a term, as the name suggests, a means to protect the intellectual property rights of your content that is published and distributed on the online platform. As more and more people begin to consume content on their smartphones and tablets, it has become imperative for publishers to woo and connect with their audience online. Ebooks today command a unique audience of their own comprising mostly of the millennials and Generation Z who have literally been born into technology. This is not to say that the older generation is not redefining their reading preferences. While the print books retain their charm, ebooks offer more convenience in that you can download and store a whole library of ebooks on your smartphone and read while on the go or in the comfort of your own space.   

Related read: 7 Ways to Protect Your eBooks from Online Piracy Now!

So how do you retain complete ownership and control over your content in the online arena? The answer lies in digital rights management or DRM. Digital rights management is, to put simply, a digital lock to your content with a key that you can share with those whom you give the right to access. It passes ownership of content from the publisher to a computer program. This program then generates a key to unlock content, which you can then share with the customer who purchases the ebook. The role of the DRM is not restricted to just being a digital lock, you can use it to block the forwarding of sensitive emails on the servers, and control your data, software, and hardware. Without DRM, as a publisher, you are exposed to some risk factors when you market and sell in the online arena.  Here, in this article, we look at six of them.

6 Risk Factors Publishers Should Prevent with DRM:

  1. Add an extra layer of security to your digital assets: By adding a digital lock, the DRM ensures an extra layer of security to your asset, thereby, preventing unauthorized access, copying, and sharing of content. In sum, similar to a physical lock that protects your property, DRM prevents theft of your intellectual property.
  2. Protects revenue: Once you have created a master file of your ebook or any other form of digital content, you can create as many copies as you want at minimal costs. You can also amplify your marketing efforts via online and social media marketing and reach an extended audience across geographies and areas that do not have physical book stores. However, if your ebooks are not DRM-protected, people will simply upload them online, create copies or share them with others. As a publisher, you will stand to lose revenue from your ebooks.
  3. Increased ROI: As already mentioned, once you have a master copy of your digital asset, you can create additional copies at no or minimal extra cost. Apart from this, you can achieve other significant savings that would increase your ROI. By selling digital copies you can eliminate courier charges. By adding online payment methods, you can sell your ebooks beyond physical boundaries. However, the opportunities for increased ROI would be lost if you don’t have control over your content, or in other words, your assets are not DRM-protected.
  4. Retain control over your content:  DRM allows you complete control over your content in more ways than one. For instance, to increase your readers, you may wish to share some free content with them so they get a taste of your offerings before becoming regular clients. So, you can set up a paywall with the DRM solution, allowing limited access to content, or a complete library of content for a limited time. Post these limitations, they would have to subscribe or make a purchase to access the rest of the content. 
  5. Prevent unauthorized sharing or printing of content: DRM also eliminates another risk factor, that is, prevents people from printing your content and sharing offline. Apart from blocking the print option, you can also block the copy and paste features. Further, you can also restrict the access of the ebooks that a reader has purchased to a particular device. In other words, the person can download the link on one device.
  6. Ensure regulatory compliance: With DRM, you can ensure that your digital content is encrypted and you have a user’s license to prevent any unauthorized access. This is all the more important if you are working with external vendors or teams who may access, share or use sensitive data. The responsibility for any such breach would be solely yours. With Digital Rights Management, you can store your sensitive data and documents on your personal computer or laptop and share them with only the people you have authorized.

In conclusion

DRM or digital rights management is a means to address the risk factors generally associated with publishing online. With DRM, you retain complete control over your content, ensure regulatory compliance and prevent IP theft. Besides, you can improve your revenues and increase your ROI. As a publisher, if you are digitalizing your physical assets, you may wish to consider KITABOO, a content publishing platform with powerful cutting-edge tools, features, and capabilities to enable conversion at scale. All your digital assets would be DRM-protected and you can also safely distribute them to your audience with complete peace of mind.

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Mike Harman

Mike Harman

Mike is the SVP Business Development at KITABOO. He has over 30 years experience in achieving consistent top-line revenue growth and building mutually beneficial relationships. More posts by Mike Harman