Stephen Fry made a great point on DRM in his talk at the Apple Store in London last month (download podcast from iTunes here)*
"People who think that if it can be got for free, no-one going to pay for it..... don't understand the fuzziness of the human mind"
Piracy was a grey area. You are not either a pirate or a good citizen. We have all pirated something in our lives whether it was copying a cassette tape for a school friend or photocopying a chapter of a book or some software. And yet along the way we have bought a hell of a lot of stuff. Our houses are full of CD's and DVD's and books that we have bought legally.
"If the creative industry gets too snotty about pirates and criminalizes and tries to create too much of this "you're a thief" business. People will go <expletive deleted>. They are going to say I've seen you in your Rolls Royce and your house in Barbados, don't come to me moaning like this."
"(The creative industry) have to use their human imagination to find a way to sort this out in such a way there will still be an incentive to own copyrights but also there will be a way of disseminating it around that isn't so locked in in zones and codes and things"
Stephen had artists, writers and singers in mind when he said this, but I think this applies to the whole media business including publishing. Some call our sector "creative and media". It is high time for us to be creative!
*The whole podcast is worth listening to, but if you just want to hear the DRM bit then fast forward the podcast to 44.55 minutes