Just when we thought eBook DRM was on death row, Enthrill Distribution is looking to transform the eBook industry with its new platform-neutral “Social DRM” called PackaDRM(TM). This DRM relies on enforcing a contract with readers through a personalised warning about copyright clearly visible at the start and end of the book, along with hidden watermarking.
When the reader buys a book that is protected by PackaDRM, they will see a full page at the beginning of the book with a personalised message to remind them of the eBook’s copyright content. There is another full page at the end of the book to remind the user of the copyright agreement they made with the publisher at the point of purchase. Should someone attempt to remove these pages, the eBook is watermarked along with a hidden unique transaction ID within its metadata, which allows the publisher to track the ownership in the event of someone distributing the eBook, such as on a file sharing network.
Like the former crippling DRM, this one is not without side effects either. The main side side effect now is that paying customers will need to treat their eBooks as confidential documents. For example, if someone accidentally leaves their eBook reader behind on a train, the person who finds it may not care one bit about piracy and could end up sharing the collection with friends, who in turn do the same, until eventually they end up on a file sharing network. Ironically, the people who download pirated books do not face this risk, so it’s the paying customers who once again have to face the DRM.