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May 17, 2001
How To

Research Publisher Grows Profits by Implementing Digital Content Security

SUMMARY: Is it worth it to invest in a strong DRM (digital rights management) system to protect your e-publications from being stolen by buyers who pass them along for free to friends? This quick article reveals one publisher's experience.
"Most people don't knowingly or willfully steal content," Oscar Vaz, Senior Analyst for research publisher TechSearch says, "Our market is typically engineers and high-level business managers. Most of them understand copyright law but what ends up happening when you have a PDF File or an unprotected file of some sort is you think 'I know I shouldn't be doing this but I'll just send my friend a copy so they can take a look at it.'" Vaz notes that recipients then have even less compunction about forwarding on to more people.

Nothing if not thorough, Vaz spent 18 months researching the two dozen or so companies offering digital protection technology before picking SealedMedia. Since implementation on March 9 2001, about 15% of TechSearch's print customers immediately agreed to switch to electronic-only after receiving a single emailed letter offering it. (An additional 15% are definitely interested, but wanted more info about how easy the new tech would be to use.) Vaz says this has already helped the bottom line, "Our printing costs and shipping costs are fairly steep, so this is definitely cheaper."

Also, TechSearch is now growing sales in its limited niche marketplace by offering view-only electronic copies at $1000 each compared to $4000 for print or downloadable electronic ones. These are designed to appeal to executives who have some interest in the topic, but not enough to pay the higher rate. So far four TechSearch clients have said they're interested in adding a view-only copy to their regular order.
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