Publishers, especially in an on-line environment, are increasingly finding that they are attempting to limit copyright violation rather than prevent it entirely. While smaller businesses, acting as both retailer and publishers, are now finding themselves entering the publishing sector on-line; it is becoming much harder to implement copyright controls through legal remedies, because of the widespread nature of copyright violation in many ways and forms and the difficulty of litigating in countries other than their own. Digital Rights Management software or DRM software is helping in terms of ebook copy prevention β publishers can also limit the functionality of documents in terms of printing, saving, and other features which could in turn encourage or facilitate copyright theft. Such controls undoubtedly help, and those that wish to host and digitally distribute versions of their published work can always do so when they are willing to invest the time and energy into doing so.
Copyright theft can be carried out in many ways, and is estimated to cost the publishing business over $5 bn per year. While there are no breakdowns of overall losses in terms of violation attribution to specific types, the rise in popularity of PDF format for a ‘standardised’ publishing medium, and thence the development of PDF security mechanisms, can certainly be praised in terms of its contribution towards limiting small scale illegal distribution of or alterations to publishers copyright assets β and for those reasons, most publishers find that they can make a good return from investing in associated DRM software and digital rights management solution providers.
Document security is constantly evolving, and according to some analysts, the increased margins achievable through on-line distribution, makes the battle one that publishers are happy to participate in because of the increased market reach and speed of delivery. The almost monopolistic market-share of Adobe had, perhaps, also left some publishers concerned; fearing that DRM security software would not evolve at the rate it should, perhaps through compatibility issues when 3rd party innovators make progress in the market, when dominant players seek to create their own monopolies. Despite that, it would be unfair to say that Adobe has not continued to progress β thanks to the evolution of elearning on-line β with its features which include commenting within documents that have been added more recently.
While the digital rights management space continues to gain traction under pressure from larger publishers, the internet has also opened up a can of worms in terms of how easy it is to commit copyright violation. Now, thanks to user generated on-line content, or citizen journalism, websites are now allowed to have their users publish content they do not own copyright to, as long as the remove it upon request from the copyright owner. This is making it even harder for publishers who already feel unprotected by the law, and who are looking towards the private sector β and the digital rights management software industry β to help. Such are the concerns regarding copyright violation that ebook publishers are even refraining from allowing some of their customers to print out versions of the books, stopping people from being able to listen to their e-books in audio, and other drastic measures which are being taken to tackle the growing problem. As innovators, such as LockLizard www.locklizard.com, continue to make progress, publishing industry companies β large and small β can be confident that the problem of copyright violation will inevitably decline over time as their methods and technologies become widely implemented and accepted.