Macmillan’s Tor, Forge, Orb and Starscape imprints are to drop DRM by July 2012, according to a statement by the company. The move is particularly significant because it’s a sign that one of the big US publishers is dipping its toe in the water when it comes to potentially making a bigger move away from the controversial DRM mechanism.
According to Tor’s Tom Doherty, DRM just gets in the way for the company’s readers. Many customers have long complained that DRM unnecessarily and unfairly restricts them from fully enjoying legitimately purchased ebooks, and that DRM is a failure in terms of its primary purpose, which is to restrict ebook piracy.
Others will undoubtedly be watching to see how Tor’s decision goes, and to see whether the company gains from dropping DRM. If the latter proves to be the case, it might well be that Tor’s move will be followed by others. The tide seems to turning against DRM, with even big publishers perhaps starting to see that there are alternatives.