Monday, November 28, 2011
Ebooks and Piracy
This of course, raises the real concern of piracy. Many authors and publishers have shied away from distributing work via the ebook format for fear of getting their timbers shivered, as ye olde pirates say. This, in my view, is a tragedy because there are many books I simply won't read because they aren't available in ebook format.
Yes, piracy is a real issue, but there are ways of minimising the losses. Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology has been created to protect artistic and literary work. It prevents access, copying or conversion of work to other formats. One such company that offers ebook capability with full DRM is Palmer Higgs. They've even launched the first ebookstore with DRM in Australia. I find this encouraging.
Of course, there is the other view on privacy--that it's a good thing. Neil Gaiman has witnessed how piracy has actually helped his sales. People, who would not normally have read his books, read pirated copies. As a result, these people went out and bought his other books. I believe it's also why many authors offer free copies of their books in the hope of readers 'discovering' them.
Personally I think the problem with piracy is the loss of control. If I want people to have a free copy of my books, then I'd want to be the one to offer it to them.
What are your thoughts on piracy as a reader or a writer?