Digital content security is an issue as much contentious as it is intricate. It takes a lot of energy and time to write a book or create any meaningful content and nothing’s more disheartening when you see it become a pirates’ prey. eBook piracy is a rampant issue and it has been affecting writers and publishers without them being fully aware of the losses. Technology does not discriminate between legit owners and pirates and hence there is no foolproof method to stop the menace. However, there are some measures we can take to stop the thefts or at least discourage the ill intent.
Digital Rights Management or DRM for ebooks is widely used by authors and publishers to safeguard their ebooks, DRM deters pirates from copying or printing the files, it also restricts file sharing which means files can’t be simply shared and opened on another devices. DRM has its own wranglings, a DRM protected ebook can’t be shared with your kins, it can’t be opened in any device of your choice and it lets the retailer remotely control your files. Hence the usage of DRM is a contentious issue, however when we don’t want our content to be freely shared on the web DRM is a must, it protects the ebooks from being freely circulated on pirate websites by making it harder to duplicate the file.
DRM is not a foolproof technology, it’s a code which can be broken and there have been many instances of ebook piracy despite the DRM. Hence this is one more reason which stands against the usage of DRM. Digital watermarking is another way of deterring free sharing of ebooks, watermarks are randomly placed within the book which can’t be removed and which get printed with the text. Digital watermarks may include information like user’s identity and copyright notice, any attempt to remove them is a copyright offence and hence it deters any malintent with the ebook. Lot of people argue for the preference of these watermarks over DRM, and some big retailers have adopted the technology in some European countries.
Copyright registration costs money but it might be a smart step especially when your precious ebook has been compromised. While filing a lawsuit against copyright infringement the law wants to know if the book is registered, only then can we take a further step. Registration by itself is a deterrent for pirates who are on a lookout for freely available unclaimed target on the web. However, if your ebook is not copyrighted it does not mean it is legal to copy and share it without your consent. So if you don’t want to go for copyright registration a simple and wise thing to do is to put up a copyright notice within the book. A copyright symbol, year of publishing, your authoring name and a simple rights statement, like ‘all rights reserved’ is what you would do the least.
The moral line in content sharing is thin and opinions are divided. It’s good to share knowledge for free but when you have worked day and night and spent money on something you want to protect it from profiteers. There are no totally safe measures against ebook piracy but taking some of the above mentioned steps will certainly keep a check on the wrong doers. Besides, these security measures authors can also have a periodic check on the internet for presence of any illegal copies of the books, it’s also wise to change the download links periodically and may be password protect the file.