The other day, I was in the bookstore with a friend of mine. He mentioned that David Weber was a good science fiction author. A few days later, I was looking through the bargain books section at Barnes & Noble and I found a David Weber book - Ashes of Victory. I bought it and put it in my pile of books to read. Then, yesterday I was in the bookstore again and found another David Weber book - War of Honor, also in the bargain books section.
Both of these books are part of the Honor Harrington series of books. Since both books were far into the series, I debated buying that second book. I'd never read the series so I thought that starting near the end of the series might be a bad idea. The thing that sold that second book for me, though wasn't the book, but what was inside the book. Inside this bargain book, was a CDROM containing the entire Honor Harrington series of books - in HTML, Microsoft Word, RTF and a couple other formats! And all these files were not protected by any form of DRM! I buy one book and I get ALL the books! How cool is that!
When you put the CD into your CDROM drive and view the HTML page on it, there is a link to the Baen Free Library. This is a web site that lets you read the entire books that Baen Books (the publisher of these David Weber Books) publish. The Library site opens with an introduction by the company as to why they are offering all these books for free, without any DRM. Below is a quote from the page as to his opinion of DRM and online piracy:
1. Online piracy — while it is definitely illegal and immoral — is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We're talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates.
2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.
3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom.
Amen brother! This is a rare sight - a book publisher that GETS the Internet and the concept of DRM being bad. Plus, this was written in the year 2000! Seven years ago, this company 'got a clue' and there are many companies, such as *ahem* NBC Universal and Universal Music that still do NOT.
I have to say that after discovering this, I'm going to be buying a lot more Baen published books. I show my support with my money, and these folks certainly deserve it.