Mike Gerwitz

Activist for User Freedom

LuLu Says Goodbye to DRM


On January 8th, LuLu announced that they would be dropping DRM for users who “[download] eBooks directly from Lulu.com to the device of their choice”. This is a wise move (for those of us who oppose DRM), but unfortunately, as John Sullivan of the Free Software Foundation noted on the fsf-community-team mailing list, the comments on LuLu’s website are not all positive:

This is a positive development, but unfortunately there has been a lot of negative reaction in the comments on their announcement.

It’d be great if people could chime in and support them their move away from DRM.

At first glance, certain authors seem to be concerned that the absense of DRM will lead to “more illegal file sharing”:

[…] I’ve got copies of my non-DRM ebooks all over the torrent sites and thousands of downloads registered, for which I haven’t received a cent. As soon as you push for them to be taken down, they’re posted up again.

While it is unfortunate that those authors are not receiving compensation for their hard work, it should be noted that this problem exists even with DRM, so it is not a valid argument toward keeping it.

I applaud this move by LuLu, though I’m disappointed to see this comment in the original post:

Companies like Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble integrate a reader’s experience from purchasing to downloading and finally to reading. These companies do a fantastic job in this area, and eBooks published through Lulu and distributed through these retail sites will continue to have the same rights management applied as they do today.

They do not do it well; no DRM is good DRM.