Is This the End of 'Onerous' Digital Rights Management?

Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, announced that by early July 2012, their entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free.

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”

DRM-free titles from Tom Doherty Associates will be available from the same range of retailers that currently sell their e-books. In addition, the company expects to begin selling titles through retailers that sell only DRM-free books.

Interestingly enough, Tor’s decision comes on the heels of several issues that involve e-book rights, particularly with the Justice Department accusing Apple and five publishers — Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster — of colluding to fix ebook pricing. Three immediately settled, while MacMillan and Penguin, along with Apple, refused.

Additionally, this timely topic comes just after J.K. Rowling decided to release her Potter series via her own site, Pottermore, in formats for most any device and with no onerous digital rights management.

As of Beta News explains:

“The universal distribution approach, fair pricing and DRM-freeness set apart the most successful fiction series in history from most every other popular literature available today in digital formats. Rowling’s ebooks mark a watershed moment in digital publishing that could eventually lead to the end of onerous DRM.”

What do you think, LitStackers? Are we seeing an end to DRM? We want to hear from you.

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