01/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 18:50

Tor ditches DRM-protection from its e-book library

Category: Business

Published: 26th Apr 2012 12:53:27

Science fiction publisher Tor UK is dropping digital rights management from its e-books alongside a similar move by its US partners.

DRM is used as an anti-piracy measure, but limits a user's ability to read a title on different devices.

Tor UK, Tor Books and Forge are divisions of Pan Macmillan, which said it viewed the move as an "experiment".

The firm said it was in discussions with e-book store owners to implement the action within three months.

The business said its authors had been pushing for the action for more than a year.

"We know that this is what many Tor authors passionately want," said Jeremy Trevathan, Pan Macmillan's fiction publisher.

"We also understand that readers in this community feel strongly about this."

Tor's writers include China Mieville, author of fantasy title The City and the City, and Peter F Hamilton, author of the Void trilogy.

The move means users will not be restricted to using only one firm's technology to read purchased titles.

At present a user who buys a DRM-encoded book via Amazon, for example, can only read it on one of the firm's Kindle e-readers or a device running one of its Kindle apps. They cannot transfer the title to a Sony Reader, Kobo eReader or use it with Apple's iBooks.

A spokeswoman for Tor told the BBC that said she thought ditching DRM would serve as a "precedent" for the wider industry.

It is not the first to take the action. Fellow science fiction publisher Baen Books has long opposed DRM's use. Its late founder, Jim Baen, had said he thought it made it harder for people to read books.

JK Rowling also opted to offer her Harry Potter books DRM-free from her Pottermore store last year, instead adding a digital watermark to discourage users from copying them illegally.

In addition, genre publisher Angry Robots releases its title in the ePub format without DRM.

Apple helped shake up the music industry when its former chief executive Steve Jobs published an open letter in 2007 urging music publishers to drop DRM protection. It is now industry practice to sell tracks without the limitation.

However, many publishers remain unconvinced that they should follow.

"It is fair to say that DRM as a principle is now up for debate within the book trade - I have heard views both for and against it from senior members of the industry within the past few weeks," said Neill Denny, editor-in-chief of the Bookseller magazine.

"Some people think that it is an impediment, and has been cracked anyway so we don't need it. But others say that it continues to restrict piracy.

"The key difference with the music business is that the book trade can see what mistakes the record labels made and avoid them."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Tor ditches DRM-protection from its e-book library [Online] (Updated 26th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1424818/Tor-ditches-DRM-protection-from-its-e-book-library [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Boris Island airport plan 'to be rejected'

    A plan for an island airport in the Thames estuary will be rejected, the BBC understands.
  • British Ebola patient 'pretty well'

    The parents of the first British person to contract Ebola during the outbreak in West Africa say he is recovering well.
  • 'Cloud' concerns after celebrity picture leaks

    Experts have raised concerns over the security of "cloud" storage sites following the leak of intimate pictures of celebrities.
  • Boris Island airport plan 'to be rejected'

    A plan for an island airport in the Thames estuary will be rejected, the BBC understands.
  • Woman's body discovered in Loch Morlich, near Aviemore

    A woman's body has been found in a loch in the Cairngorms.