A new e-book DRM could see text and punctuation randomly changed whenever the e-book is shared without authorization.
The new text-watermarking technology is called SiDiM and has been co-developed by the the German Booksellers Association and the Fraunhofer Institute, with funding from the German government.
The encryption used is designed to create small changes within the text of the e-book, from minor punctuation changes, to substituting words with synonyms, every time the e-book document is copied. So while the original contains the complete and correct text, any subsequent copies will have small random variations that can be easily detected.
As the encryption also allows modified documents to be traced back to its original owner, it is believed that this could discourage owners of e-books from making unauthorized copies, for fear that these traceable copies may eventually end up being distributed online.
However, critics argue that there may be many situations where the original owner is not at fault for copies of this purchased e-books being put online, such as theft, or discarding old computers and devices that contains undeleted copies. It may also be trivial to remove these identifying modifications, by doing a simple comparison between two altered versions of the e-book.