We all know how simple and easy it is to distribute and share content on the Internet. However, creating original content is time-consuming and requires lots of mental labor. So, it goes without saying that as a content creator, you would like to retain its complete ownership and intellectual property rights. However, this is easier said than done for online content. Take the case of music, every time someone downloads a music file or shares with others, the music company loses its revenue. The very nature of the Internet makes file sharing a piece of cake. In the case of sharing material on the internet, traditional copyright laws don’t hold good because it is very difficult to monitor those who break the law. This gave rise to the need for a different kind of digital security to protect online content. This need to protect online content from illegal downloads and sharing prompted the birth of digital rights management, or DRM.
Simply put, DRM is a technology used to protect the intellectual rights of online content. With DRM, digital content ownership passes from the content owner to a computer program. Using DRM, publishers can block forwarding of sensitive emails on their servers, restrict access to and prevent unauthorized copying and printing. Basically, with DRM, publishers can control their data, software and hardware.
Related Read: 6 Reasons Why You Need DRM Protected eBook
There are several pros and cons of DRM for the publishing industry, here in this article we look at both sides of the coin.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Enabling DRM Protection?
Top 6 Advantages of DRM Protection
Top Disadvantages of DRM
While the DRM gives complete control to the digital publishers on their copyright content, it may create inconveniences for the end-users. For instance, most readers would prefer access to their eBooks or documents on multiple devices but with DRM this may not always be possible. To explain this with an example, your eBook is available on Kindle. With DRM, it is likely that your readers would not be able to access it on non-Kindle devices. This could lead to annoyed customers who may then refuse to purchase DRM-enabled books. However, platforms like KITABOO can give readers access to content on multiple devices across operating systems.
Restricts But Does Not Prevent Complete Piracy
Enabling DRM is putting a digital lock on your content, however, it will also keep out the honest people. While it does restrict dishonest people, it also prompts them harder to break the code. At the end of the day, it does prevent piracy to an extent but can’t stop it completely. Consider someone clicking images of the eBook and circulating them illegally.
Digital Rights Management works heavily on licenses. However, the problem with licenses is that they can expire, leaving the consumers unable to access the content they have paid for. DRM-enabled content is not very popular with a majority of consumers as it has various compatibility issues.
The Internet has simplified the publishing process and enabled publishers to reach a wider audience at minimal costs, allowing them to distribute their eBooks, journals and documents using online marketing. By adding various payment options they can sell their content online to a global audience without the need of retailers. However, the Internet enables easy file sharing, which for digital publishers translates into loss of revenues and copyright of their Intellectual Property (IP). In the online arena, traditional copyright laws are ineffective. Digital Rights Management, on the other hand, to a large extent enables publishers to keep control over their content, allowing them to limit and monitor its use and monetize it to their benefit.
However, as with other things in life, DRM has its limitations as it can restrict end-user’s control over their purchase and put them off from purchasing DRM-enabled books. Also, while DRM can prevent piracy to an extent it can’t stop it altogether. So what does this mean for the publisher? DRM does allow you to retain control over your content to a large extent. The only thing is you will have to live with the restrictions because the pros far outweigh the cons.
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