Before we get started, you can find an excerpt of Kismet at the Daily Harrell.
I think for an author I may have a unique view on digital rights management and piracy. I don't like DRM. I don't hate piracy. Yep. I said it. Hear me out, before you call me crazy.
DRM often limits the devices a reader can access your story on. That means if I want to buy your book, but your DRM software doesn't work with my reading device of choice, I'm probably not going to buy your book. If I do, and I can't read it or have a hard time reading it, I associate your name with a reading process that is a pain in the butt. Even if I associate your name with a story I love--it was still a pain in the butt. If I only liked the story, it wouldn't be worth it. In short, I think DRM can cost an author sells.
Piracy may cost an author sells, but it offers exposure. Yes, I know. Stealing is stealing. On the flip side, most people aren't willing to spend money on an author they don't know. If a reader finds your work for free from a slightly less than legal source, you may become his/her new favorite author. You wrote a book they illegally borrowed, but books are usually out legally long before they're available illegally. If someone loved your work (which they wouldn't have seen otherwise), they are likely to buy your next work, and the one after that, and the one after that. Don't get me wrong. I understand the business sense, that we have to be careful about how many books we give away, and I don't like the idea of a website making money off my work and me not. I just think when we consider DRM software, we need to think it through. Are we willing to give a book away for discoverability? Do we want to protect our work to the point of losing potential readers? Also, lots of times downloads come from countries where the book isn't legally available, so did we actually lose anything?
For what's it's worth my thought is that you should copyright protect your work. You should not use DRM. If my work is being illegally given away for free and still has my name on the cover, I don't care that much (unless and until I'm a best seller--then things get more complicated). If my work is being given away for free with someone else's name on the cover, I've copyrighted, so that will change and I will be paid restitution. If my work is being sold illegally, I sue.
What are your thoughts on DRM?