DRM Free 4 Eva!

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Today is International #DayAgainstDRM. Since DRM-free ebooks have been a plank in our platform here at Weightless since we opened back amidst the primordial phytoplankton ebook soups of 2010, I thought I’d take this as opportunity to explain why.

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s a name for all the different forms of technology used by companies in control of vast amounts of intellectual property in order to maintain that control, even after a consumer has paid for the right to use that content. When your Kindle breaks or dies or gets stolen after you’ve spent thousands of dollars loading ebooks onto it, only for Am@z*n to tell you they only sold you a license to those ebooks and now you’ll have to buy them all again, you’ve been stung by DRM. If you buy an ebook, read it, love it, then lend your ereader to a friend you know will love it too, only to find out that you own the rights to read that book exactly once, you’ve been stung by DRM.

Consumers have been figuring out ways to work around DRM, and consumer advocacy groups like Defective by Design, EFF and EPIC have been arguing against its use, for as long as the pro-DRM crowd has been struggling to lock them out. But instead of backing down, corporations keep developing new, more invasive iterations. New forms of DRM threaten to infringe on privacy by tracking and reporting on how and when you use your rights-managed files.

When you buy an ebook, you should be able to do what you want with it, for as long as you want. Yes, there’s always a chance that an ebook will be pirated, especially when it’s a really good book. Piracy robs authors of income they need and deserve, and it’s a tragedy. But forcing people who actually want to pay for and own a book legally to jump through a bunch of flaming hoops in order to do what they want with it is no kind of solution to that.

That’s why none of the books we carry here at Weightless use DRM or ever will.

If Gavin and I are destroyed by meteors tonight, tomorrow you’ll all still have your ebooks. And to that we say hooray!

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