Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Authors Against DRM, by guest Tommie Lyn

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the nuts and bolts of how things work, we just want them to do what we expect, when we expect it. The only time we pay attention to our appliances, for instance, is when they don’t perform properly.

And you have faith that the manufacturer of your refrigerator, say, has designed and built it to meet your needs…i.e., to keep your food cold and produce ice when you want a glass of iced tea.

But what if the manufacturer has built in a feature that you’ve not been informed about...a feature that will cause it to reject certain food items—send them flying out through a chute in the door--merely because they had previously been stored in a different brand of refrigerator. Would that get your attention?

Or, to change the analogy slightly to make it more applicable, what if each food item had to be stored in a particular brand of refrigerator and refused to be cooled by a unit made by any other manufacturer?

Crazy, huh? But that’s a little bit like the situation we find with ebooks that have DRM.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) has the ostensible purpose of protecting music, movies, ebooks and other digital products from being pirated. Sounds like a worthy cause, on the surface. Until you realize that DRM does not stop professional pirates; it only presents a tiny speed bump on the road to theft.

However, it can create needless difficulty for honest people who buy digital products, like ebooks.

For instance, let’s say you own an older Kindle, and you have an extensive library of favorite books accumulated on it. Then, your family gives you a brand new Nook for Christmas. No problem, just convert your ebook files from .mobi to .epub and move them to your new device, right? Not necessarily. If any of your ebooks are DRM protected, they are on that older ereader to stay. You can’t take ‘em with you.

This is why, as an author and a reader, I object to DRM on ebooks. It’s an unnecessary inconvenience to legitimate purchasers. (Two of my books available on Kindle currently have DRM protection, because I didn’t know the implications at the time I uploaded them and allowed the default to be applied. I have plans to unpublish those two books and republish them DRM-free, like my others.)

~Tommie Lyn

If you’d like to read more about DRM, here’s a link:

And if you’d like to join some of those who are objecting to the use of DRM, here’s a link:

This image, created by Nina Paley, is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license,
Tommie Lyn is a prolific writer of thriller/suspense novels. Visit her site, Tommie Lyn Writes, for a list of her fascinating books.

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  1. Thanks for informing us about this. I was in the dark. When I e-publish, I will definitely publish DRM free.

  2. I was in the dark, too, Denise. But when I learned the details, it was easy to make a decision on this issue.

  3. Hey, Tommie! Thanks for sharing such important info.

  4. This is really useful info, Tommie. The DRM issue was never quite clear to me until you explained it.

  5. Thanks, Sheila and K.M. I'm glad you found the information useful.

  6. Thanks for dropping by to share your insights, Tommie. Now I have images of my refrigerator spewing food all over my kitchen! Great! :)

  7. Great info, Tommie! Thanks so much!

  8. @Lynnette...Were there any round-eyed snakes in all that food?

    @Lynn...Thanks, Lynn, hope it was helpful.


  9. Oh, thank you, thank you, Tommie Lyn! I had heard in other "author places" that DRM was this side of evil, but I could never get anyone to tell me why. Right now I have 10 books on Nook and Kindle, all DRM protected. It's going to be a real challenge to un-DRM them, but after this explanation, I'm thinking it's probably worth it. Thanks!

  10. Thanks, Staci. I know what you was a while before I understood what DRM was all about and why it was undesirable.

  11. Amen!

    DRM always punishes the honest while having little to no impact on the guilty. Many times I've purchases songs and TV episodes which I am no longer able to enjoy because of restrictive and even buggy DRM.