I’m continuing to wade through my publishing news slush pile. Today, I’m returning to an article that Keith Kupferschmid, an executive with the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) contributed to the year-end 2012 issue of Book Business magazine.
In his article, Kupferschmid offered “10 ways to combat online piracy”. Overall, the piece was on-target, with practical advice about what book publishers can do to discourage and contest instances of piracy.
In reviewing the ideas, I was struck that eight of the 10 items advised preparing for enforcement or pursuing damages after the fact. Only two recommendations broke the enforcement mold:
- Understand the limits of technological solutions (such as DRM and watermarking)
- Consider alternative business models
These ideas were listed seventh and ninth, respectively.
Discussing alternative business models, Kupferschmid asks:
“Are the people who are pirating your publications engaging in piracy because your publications are not accessible to them in a way or at a price point that they desire?”
This is an aspect of the operative question, “Why does piracy take place, and what impact does it have on overall sales?” If there were one thing I’d add to the list, it would have been that second part: “What is the impact of piracy?”
As I’ve said before, I’d also change the order. Enforcement is a tool that preserves core aspects of the current model. If 80% of your time and energy is spent there, I think you’re making a mistake. Better to start with item 9: consider (and implement) alternative business models that make piracy a less desirable option.