For the longest time NetGalley has given publishers the option of sending DRMed Epub or DRM-free Kindle ebooks when distributing advance copies of ebooks to reviewers, retailers, librarians, etc.
Now NetGalley is adding a third DRM option: social DRM.
Social DRM, or digital watermarks (the more accurate technical term), is a type of DRM that doesn't restrict access but instead involves personalizing a copy of a file with info that can be used to identify who bought it. Or in the case of NetGalley, the info will lead back to the reviewer, librarian, etc, who downloaded it from NetGalley.
Basically this gives publishers the reassurance that they can track down a leak while not actually bothering rule-abiding readers.
“It’s always been important to NetGalley that we offer readers of influence as many ways to access content as possible, while also preserving the publishers’ legitimate right to protect their content,” said Susan Ruszala, President of NetGalley. “We are pleased to support the emergence of Social DRM as an additional reading option for publishers to enable if they choose.”
The social DRM is provided through Firebrand, NetGalley’s parent company. And as with the other DRM options offered by NetGalley, any legal actions resulting from illegal sharing, such as takedown notices, will continue to be the responsibility of the publisher or author.
image by Dusty J