Published on December 19, 2007
Why DRM is Stupid for By C. David Gammel www.highcontext.com Small Publishers
Origins of Digital Rights Management • Customers did not cry out for effective copy protection technology on the digital products they buy! • Big media executives, however, did cry out for it once they ﬁgured out how easy it is to copy and distribute their ﬁles. • Early DRM efforts were horriﬁc for the most part, getting in the way of a customer using the content at best or breaking their computers at worst. • Media companies are trying to protect a very large, existing, stream of income based on an old business model that the Internet is rapidly eroding. High Context Consulting. www.highcontext.com
Problems with DRM • A small number of people refuse to buy products with DRM. They will even actively discourage people from buying these products, which is worse. • Some portion of customers who do buy DRMed products won’t be able to use them if the technology is incompatible with their computer (I’m looking at you, Mac people!). • It will cost you, the publisher, money and effort to implement DRM. • Many DRM schemes get in the way of customers using the content fully or for very long. No print PDFs, expiring PDFs, ﬁles that require a key or password to access each time, etc. High Context Consulting. www.highcontext.com
You do not need to act like a big media executive just because they do.
Where Do Small Publishers Typically Fall? No DRM DRM Protected Big Sales! Sales! High Demand Low Demand Sales! No Sale!
But what if someone shares our content with someone who didn’t pay for it!
You should be so lucky.
Beneﬁts of No DRM Digital Products • No barriers to use by anyone who purchases them. • It is easy to implement! No costly or challenging technical issues for the publisher. • Some copies will be shared, spreading word of your brand to those who might not have seen your value before. This is not the end of the world! It’s even good for you! • Most people are willing to not be criminals if there is an easy way to do so. (iTunes, for example.) • You’ll sell more. I always like increasing revenue while reducing costs. How about you? High Context Consulting. www.highcontext.com
Some Things You Can Do without DRM • Include language in the product encouraging anyone viewing it who did not pay for it to buy their own copy so you can continue to make more good things for them. • Dynamically add the purchaser’s name to the product, indicating it is licensed solely for their use. (CON: This gets a bit technical but has worked for some small publishers.) • Sell the rights to share. 5 packs, enterprise licenses, etc. Make it easy for your customers to not be criminals. • Market the lack of DRM as a beneﬁt! “We trust you!” High Context Consulting. www.highcontext.com
About C. David Gammel • David is a consultant who helps his clients to use the Web effectively in support their overall goals. • David really doesn’t like DRM and believes it is harmful for most small publishers. • David writes a blog: http://www.highcontext.com/weblog/ • David (I love the third person) asks you to share this set of slides with anyone you think might beneﬁt from the content. David trusts you! It’s perfectly legal! High Context Consulting. www.highcontext.com
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