A new DRM technology is being developed in Germany that gives every ebook a unique watermark of sorts, so that publishers can track them and see who is pirating copies. With the popularity of ereaders and ebooks on the rise, publishers are looking for new ways to combat the rise in piracy on ebooks, especially expensive ones.
The DRM essentially alters words, punctuation, and other text elements in ebooks so that every copy is unique in some way. This means that copies can be traced back to the people who bought and pirated them, making it easier to catch wrong-doers and cut down on ebook piracy in the long run, or at least that’s what publishers are hoping for.
While the storyline of an ebook would remain intact, the DRM would change some words around, as well as insert synonyms, change the paragraph format, or alter the punctuation just a tad. A good example is that some copies could come with “don’t” instead of “do not,” or “that’s so pathetic” instead of “that’s pathetic.”
The project is a big collaboration between researchers, the ebook industry, and the government, with a shared goal of cutting down on piracy in the internet. While DRM is frowned upon by many consumers, researchers say that this will be a consumer-friendly form of DRM that wouldn’t inconvenience the reader any more than they currently are.
Obviously, though, the system may not be entirely foolproof or even accurate. Since the system is completely automated, it’s possible that errors will occur when changing around words and punctuations. Plus, while it’s not said how pirates might get around the DRM, the system still could be vulnerable of such a thing.