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Copy Protection is the Opposite of Copy Promotion (which we call “marketing”)

I’ve often thought that over-done efforts at copy protection kill the limited piracy that helps start the word of mouth about new content. Or they just make it too hard to use, and frustrated consumers walk away.

David Pogue writes about Tor Books’ test where they dropped copy protection and saw no measurable increase in piracy. Read it here.

David’s analysis is right on:

  1. Copy protection is never going to stop determined pirates
  2. Folks with no money aren’t ever going to pay you anyway, so it doesn’t matter if they steal the work
  3. If it’s easy enough to buy legally, most people will buy it
  4. Your loyal fans will buy it legally and encourage others to buy it to support you
So the big lesson: It’s more important than ever to build a fan community. A rock-solid fan base is the best marketing you can do, and they will support you and protect you.

P.S. Read the comments. It’s pretty upsetting to us authors when people complain about a $10 ebook. If you don’t think years of work by us and hours of enjoyment to you aren’t worth $10 — that’s a pretty heavy-duty insult. Most people wouldn’t work two hours for ten dollars. Think about it.

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