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The O'Reilly Factor

There's a revolution afoot.  People do not like Digital Rights Management.

Jessica Simpson released a new single years ago as an MP3 without DRM, the first artist to do so when WinMedia, iTunes, and others were bragging about the DRM they used.  It became her biggest seller ever.

Last year, a game called Sins Of The Solar Empire sold over a half million copies.  The box openly bragged, in big letters, that the game featured no DRM.  You buy it, you can put it on all your computers without having to buy another copy.  Everyone thought the company was nuts and that the game would be pirated all over the 'Net, but the coders are making a good living now without going draconian.  Lots of indie game designers, myself included, have been forgoing DRM because we feel it isn't fair to someone who buys a copy and wants to make backups or put it on more than one machine he owns or whatever.

(Side note:  the game engine I use has an option for DRM.  It fingerprints the machine and plays for about an hour.  After that, the game locks up until you buy a decryption key from the game maker.  Since it fingerprints the machine, that means that, if you were me, you would have seven different computers and have to pay to put it on each machine, or if someone biffs your hard drive or OS, you have to pay again for something you already own.  I didn't feel that was fair, so my games are full versions without DRM.  It's a case of I wouldn't like it if it happened to me, so I won't do it to my customers.  This is why I buy the full versions of the Diner Dash games on disc instead of downloading them off Yahoo.)

Also last year, O'Reilly, the biggest name in computer reference books, announced that their e-books would not be DRM'ed.  Everyone REALLY thought this was nuts.  People would just pass the reference books to each other over the Internet or torrent them or whatever.  After all, the books really are expensive.  Authoritative, but expensive.  O'Reilly had just committed corporate suicide.

Today, the sales figures came in.

Sales of O'Reilly books are up 103% over last year.

O'RLY?  No, O'Reilly.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
While iTunes, WalMart, Napster, etc are selling MP3s with DRM online, Amazon.com started selling MP3's without DRM online. They have continued to add songs to their MP3 catalog, and often have free songs available, as well as the promotion this last month where they gave away a free Xmas MP3 each day. I don't see Amazon hurting from this experience.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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