From Wikipedia:

Digital rights management (DRM) is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale.


You have to love the jackassery inherent in the statement above. The key point of it all is “…after sale.” That’s right, I go and pay money for something, and the people who produced it get to determine how, when and even where I use it (see DVD regions, etc).

What the hell? I don’t think so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still buy stuff with DRM on it. I can’t not buy the latest Blu-ray’s without DRM. Captain America: The First Avenger wasn’t going to sit on that shelf one second longer because it was restricted to Region 1, is what I’m saying. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, and that damn sure doesn’t mean I have to incorporate it into my business practices.

Grey Gecko Press does not – and will not – use DRM on any of our books, as long as I control the company. Why? Because it artificially restricts the ways in which our customers might find enjoyment from the works.

“But what about piracy?” you ask. Well, piracy is a valid concern in this new and bright digital age, but that doesn’t mean we have to go all crazy about it. Let’s face it, with the way things are now, including the advent of Torrents (which were themselves a natural outgrowth of Napster and services like them), there is, quite simply, no way that you will ever completely prevent your book/movie/software/music from being pirated. It’s just not possible. If someone wants it bad enough, they’ll get it, plain and simple.

So why all the fuss? Because the big megacorps have to be seen to be doing something about it, even if that something is completely useless and only hurts the people who are actually buying their products. Here, look at it like this:

Infographic from the awesome guys and gals over at BoingBoing

See? All you’re doing is pissing people off. Why would I ever want to do that to my customers?

Second reason is even simpler: Say someone does take the file for one of our books, which isn’t encoded with DRM, so it can be used like a merry-go-round (I actually had something more visual for that sentence, but in the interest of propriety, I caved).  Joe Bob gives a copy to his brother Earl who copies it for his brother Darryl who’s wife Irma sends it to her sister Jolene down Kearney way.

5 people have now read the book. Only one of them paid for it (Joe Bob). But – and here’s the kicker – all of them liked it enough to pass it on to someone else.

What do you think the chances are that they’ll come back to Grey Gecko to buy more books? Okay, maybe not Joe Bob, but Barney from the West Side might. Or whomever. The point is, the more people who see/read the book, the more people know about the author, and the more potential sales that author gets, especially when you consider our books are so low-priced even without our sales ($3 – 5 avg per ebook).

So that’s the long and the short of it (mostly long) about why I won’t do DRM. Feel free to comment as needed.

–Jason Aydelotte, Chief Gecko