Effects Of Drm On Competition And Access

1520 Words Dec 14th, 2014 7 Pages
WRITING SAMPLE #1 – THE EFFECTS OF DRM ON COMPETITION AND ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE IN THE E-BOOK MARKET

It is no overstatement that the boom in digital reading has revolutionized the book industry. Although ideas about electronic libraries date back to the 1970’s, the market took off in 2007 with the launch of the Sony Reader and the Kindle. In 2013, e-books already accounted for a quarter of adult trade sales, bringing in $1.3 billion in revenue. This rapid growth can be attributed to how portable and convenient e-books are, as well as the utility of features like built-in dictionaries. Moreover, e-books offer benefits in the form of greater accessibility and lower prices. They usually cost 30% less than physical books, and public domain books can be found for free on platforms such as Project Gutenberg. At the same time, e-books also eliminate geographical barriers – with Internet access, the same book can be acquired by someone in London or in Bogota and downloaded in a matter of seconds. Ultimately, these benefits are more than mere conveniences– they serve as important tools for disseminating information and spreading education.
Still, one factor undermines e-books’ potential to promote access to knowledge: the use of digital rights management (DRM). DRM is a technological lock that permits copyright owners to enforce their rights by controlling what users can do with digital files. For example, DRM can be used to limit when, where, for how many times, and for how long a…
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