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Tor's DRM-Free Experiment: One Year Later, 'No Discernible Increase in Piracy'

Posted by: , 22:20 AEST, Thu May 2, 2013

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Going DRM-free has not produced the piracy Armageddon that some predicted, says sci-fi publisher Tor, a year after making the then controversial move
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A year after sci-fi publisher Tor changed the rule book by ditching DRM for its ebook titles, the publisher has hailed the move as a "hugely positive" one.

Writing on the official blog, Julie Crisp, Editorial Director at Tor UK, explained the decision behind going DRM-free, and the positive reaction to the move from both authors and readers alike.

Having received negative feedback from both readers and authors regarding the use of DRM, Tor took the then controversial step of removing all DRM from its ebook titles. As Crisp explains: "Having been in direct contact with our readers, we were aware of how frustrated many of them were by DRM. Our authors had also expressed concerns at the restrictions imposed by the copyright coding applied to their ebooks. When both authors and readers are talking from the same page, it makes sense for the publishers to sit up, listen and take note—and we did!"

Crisp then continues to explain that the move away from DRM in no way meant that the publisher had relaxed or given up on the tough fight against piracy. Trusting its readers are just as much against piracy as they are, and DRM (which Crisp acknowledges isn't a foolproof protection against piracy anyway) was unfairly punishing them, Tor removed DRM in the hope that their readers would be responsible enough to respect the copyright of the author and not share copies around freely.

And Tor was proven right. "As it is, we've seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year," Crisp writes.

So no regrets at all from a company that took a bold step.


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