SURVEY: Will Eliminating DRM Alleviate or Promote Piracy?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

To DRM or not to DRM, that is the question. And it’s been around since the beginning of e-books. Advocates sit on both sides of the debate. Generally speaking, one side says that DRM is merely an unnecessary impediment that is hindering the growth of e-reading and denies readers the right to share a book that they already own among multiple devices and formats. The other says that DRM is┬ánecessary to protect intellectual property.

The implicit threat to eliminating DRM is piracy. Publishers do not want to take the risk of seeing their valuable property made accessible for free by anyone with an internet connection and the know-how to use a Torrent site. Advocates for eliminating DRM suggest that “piracy is a reaction to unmet demand” and that those who pirate books would not be people who would buy them in the first place and it will motivate people who might on occasion download a free book to buy it legitimately instead, knowing they have the freedoms of ownership.

Of course, there are differences, between the global East and West, North and South, and developed and developing e-book markets. On par, you can say that both sides are correct and there is no obvious answer to what is right.

Where do you stand on the question of what effect eliminating DRM would have on piracy in the global e-book market?


Please elaborate on your point of view in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.