eBook DRM

Why is DRM inevitable in the digital world?

To understand why DRM technology is inevitable it is first important to understand what is DRM? DRM is digital rights management, a technology that serves to protect the copyright of content on the internet. As we all know, it is very simple to distribute and share content on the Internet. The file-sharing on the internet cannot be regulated by traditional copyright laws which imply that people can download and share your content files, for instance, music files without your permission and there is little that you can do about it because traditional copyright laws are not applicable to the online media. As a result, you stand to lose out on revenue. You may be aware of several cases of how pirated content is shared online with little consequences. The very nature of the internet makes file sharing very simple and monitoring everyone who breaks copyright laws becomes impossible. Well not really – DRM is a means to protect the copyright of your content on the internet. 

With DRM, you can pass control of your content to a digital program, which then protects it in several ways. For instance, it can block the forwarding of sensitive emails on their servers, restrict access to, or copying or printing of your files. DRM is basically a digital lock to your content and only those to whom you provide keys can unlock and gain access. 

While DRM has helped publishers gain some control over their content the technology is not without its loopholes. Here in this article, we look at how DRM technology is inevitable. Let us understand the real benefits of using DRM technology other than protecting your eBooks and other forms of online content.

Gain control over your digital assets: DRM technology puts a digital lock on your digital assets preventing any unauthorized use, sharing, copying, or printing of your material. When people make a purchase, you can provide them with a digital key with which they can unlock and access the content. Even once this is done, DRM restricts the copy-paste and print features to prevent further sharing. The software, thus, adds an extra layer of protection to your eBooks and other copyrighted content. 

Protect your revenue: Since DRM prevents any unauthorized sharing, it naturally implies that those interested in your content would have to make a purchase. There are several peer-to-peer sharing sites on the Internet that enable free sharing of copyrighted content and so if your eBooks get shared on these sites, you will lose revenue. DRM helps to prevent content piracy and in turn, revenue loss.

Reduce piracy: DRM technology reduces the chances of piracy as no other author or publisher can plagiarize your content and use it as their own. The DRM features restrict copy-paste and other content-sharing features and so limit the possibility of any unauthorized content sharing.

Monitor access to your content: DRM technology is also of great use within your organization. For instance, you can monitor who accesses your content and tries to share it without authority.  

Increased accessibility: DRM technology is usually hosted on a cloud so you can easily distribute and sell your eBooks through the cloud. The readers can make a purchase and then download and read the content offline.

Manage users: The pandemic has given huge momentum to online education. In this scenario, eBooks are increasingly being used to support classroom teaching. With DRM technology, instructors can group learners and assign them content for learning.

Also Read: 9 Reasons Why Publishers Should Move to Digital eBook Libraries 

Maintain IPR control: With DRM, apart from just controlling who views your content, you can also control what they do with it. For instance, you can add an expiry date for viewing the content which means when this date is reached, they will no longer be able to view it. Then again, people who have purchased your content may still not be able to share or print it. Thus, with DRM technology you can maintain complete control over your intellectual property rights, or IPR.

Ensure regulatory compliance: With DRM technology, you can ensure that your digital content is encrypted and is offered with a user’s license. This ensures that there is no unauthorized access to your content. As a digital publisher, you may be working with external vendors and in such a scenario, the responsibility of maintaining the sanctity of confidential information is solely yours. To ensure data confidentiality, you need to comply with several regulations. With DRM technology, you can prevent access to any confidential data and information you have stored on your digital devices.

Given the above benefits of DRM, the question arises why is this technology controversial? This is because it does have its share of limitations, the main being the restrictions it puts on the end-reader. While it gives complete control over the content to the digital publisher, it does inconvenience the reader. For instance, people today consume their content on all device types. However, the DRM technology puts restrictions to prevent any unauthorized share or use of digital content. One fallout of this is that the readers cannot transfer the eBooks to the device of their choice to read it. For example, your eBooks are available on Kindle. Even once the reader has made a purchase, they will not be able to read it on any non-Kindle device. This at times put off the readers who then prefer not to purchase DRM-enabled books.


DRM technology is the need of the day to prevent piracy of digital content and is necessary when you consider that it is very easy for people to share content online, on peer-to-peer sharing sites. You stand to lose revenues and sometimes even your reputation as a publisher. The technology gives you complete control over your content allowing you to maintain intellectual property rights and meet regulatory compliance. And as the technology evolves further, it would gradually be able to address readers’ concerns.

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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