Four DRM Strategies for Publishers

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Blogging at the Scholarly Kitchen (“what’s hot and cooking in scholarly publishing”), Joseph Esposito, a digital media consultant, thinks through possible scenarios for publishers regarding how they approach digital rights management (DRM) software (Thinking Through a Strategy for Digital Rights Management):

Publishers are faced with a few broad options (but countless sub-options):

–    They can play hardball and fight infringement at every turn. This more or less is the current situation for most, though definitely not all, publishers. Let’s call this the legal enforcement strategy.

—    They can play softball and learn to tolerate a certain degree of file-sharing, punctuated with the occasional outburst (e.g., the targeted lawsuit against a major infringer) to restore some friction to the economy. Some publishers are gravitating to this position now. Let’s call this the editorial strategy, with publishers being highly selective about asserting their positions, but insisting on their prerogatives whether or not they are asserted.

–    They can move to a strategy of full engagement. They can appeal to their readers in various ways, be responsive to their questions and challenges, and portray their company as being a part of the civic infrastructure. We can call this the NPR strategy.

–    They can begin to rethink their products and marketing, moving away from the fixed texts that characterize book publishing, into texts that are dynamic and interactive, which makes them hard to duplicate for unauthorized use; and they can develop marketing programs (e.g., community licenses sold through an LMS) that diminish the appetite simply to make copies and give them away. Call this the innovation strategy.

Read much more at the Scholarly Kitchen.

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