If you’re a reader, you want to pass on books you’ve bought to friends and family. If you’re an author, you want the royalty that comes each time your book is bought, so you’d prefer each person buy your book. If you’re the majority of publishers or the store selling the e-book, you also want each person to buy the book.
Your viewpoint on sharing e-books depends on where you are on the book chain - supplier or consumer. So, it’s no surprise that Apple wants anyone downloading to its new iPad to buy books, but not share with others. To help ensure that, they’ve announced they will wrap their e-books in a digital lock called FairPlay, designed to deter piracy.
According to the Los Angeles Times, FairPlay is “a digital rights management software that once limited how many times digital songs can be copied onto different computers.”
9 to 5 Mac pointed out that, while digital songs are no longer protected by FairPlay, “Apple has been using Fairplay on video for a while now. It never went away. And now it will be in Books.”
Reuters reports that “Apple's FairPlay system is used to restrict the number of devices that can access content you purchase; it's usually set to 5 computers, iPods or iPhones, and so on.”
As an author, I’m okay with this. As a realist, I wonder how long before someone cracks the FairPlay software for e-books and puts the key out on the Internet. Hours? Or minutes?