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The very nature of DRM runs contrary to the freedoms that all book readers know and love

Peter Suber, Open Access News, weist auf einen Weblogbeitrag von Kirk Biglione vom vergangenen Montag, DRM for Books: Will Publishers Learn Anything from the Music Industry’s Mistakes?, hin. Dieser sehr pointierte Beitrag hat es verdient, hier ein wenig ausführlicher zitiert zu werden:

The very nature of DRM runs contrary to the freedoms that all book readers know and love. The freedom to read a book anywhere, the freedom to read a book without special requirements or equipment, the freedom to loan a book to a friend, or borrow a book from a friend or library. By inserting a layer of DRM between readers and books the experience of reading is fundamentally transformed in all of the wrong ways. Not only that, DRM protected books lose all of their essential viral qualities. Unrestricted books sell themselves â?? DRM protected books never get the chance to.

Given the potential for disaster, itâ??s only appropriate that the Oâ??Reilly TOC conference devoted a full session to Digital Rights Management. The session was was quite illuminating, if for no other reason because the conference organizers were unable to find a major trade publisher willing to speak to the advantages of using DRM. Several publishing representatives reportedly begged off for any number of reasons, ranging from â??sadomasochistic trials and tribulationsâ? to â??evolving business strategiesâ?.

What we were left with was a level-headed presentation by a couple of publishers who are actually using DRM-free content as a way to expand their businesses and serve their customers.

Ale de Vries of ScienceDirect spoke about his companyâ??s service which gives subscribers unlimited access to over 2,000 peer-reviewed scientific journals in an unrestricted PDF format. The value for subscribers is in maintaining their subscription, which provides them with ongoing access to high quality content as it becomes available. de Vries spoke about the cost of DRM and the fact that it tends to create customer support issues. It seems his company prefers to use its customer support staff to address real support issues â?? as opposed to the manufactured support issues that arise when DRM is used.

Michael Jensen of National Academies Press (NAP), a publisher of academic books and reports, described how his company has increased sales by making the full content of all of its books available for free online. While readers can easily skim a book online, quite a few actually purchase the full book from the NAP website. Jensen notes that reading online is still not an optimal experience, as a result many readers are happy to pay for a printed edition.

NAPâ??s decision to make all of its content available in a standard web format means that the companyâ??s books are indexed and findable through all of the major search engines. As a result, the company has successfully boosted its web traffic, and its sales.

Jensen explained:

â??Visibility is the killer. The worst thing for a publisher is to have your material be invisible. Weâ??re dealing with a culture of abundance where thereâ??s so much more material out there than anyone can ever find. Itâ??s our job as a publisher to get our words and content into the minds of as many people as possible. The best strategy for that is to make it as open as we can afford to make it open.â?

Autor: Lambert Heller

Librarian 2.0, interested in knowledge management, publishing and communities on the web. Likes Open Access / Open Data. Hannover, Germany.

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