Esposito wonders whether DRM is more effective in preventing “casual copying” than large-scale infringement:
It will be argued that the promotional value of free copies outweighs the lost sales due to sharing. I don’t think so; the NPR example is telling us something about the propensity for people to pay for things that they don’t have to. And NPR has to work hard even to get 10% compliance, with relentless pledge drives and appeals to civic-mindedness, supplemented with salving premiums (an NPR T-shirt, etc.). Promotional friction can take many forms (providing excerpts, civic appeals, special features), but it’s an important element of this economy.
So moving publishing away from DRM “requires a great deal of thought and contingency planning.”
Can we afford to lose our course adoption sales? How do we monetize reading groups? And what about the used-book market, from which we currently derive no revenue? Can we come up with new ways to monetize books so that we can recapture some of that lost revenue? The issue concerning DRM is falsely thought to be a technological one. It is not; it is a marketing issue.