Erudition Digital launches new solution using Bitcoin and the blockchain to fight eBook piracy
London, United Kingdom | Erudition Digital, in partnership with Custos Media Technologies, has launched the first direct-sales eBook site featuring their new anti-piracy solution, Custos for eBooks at www.practisingthepiano.com. The solution leverages Bitcoin and the blockchain to provide monitoring and infringement detection which serves as a deterrent to piracy without restricting legitimate use of purchased eBooks and impacting honest customers in any way.
Tackling eBook piracy is a major challenge for publishers, but traditional approaches to protecting content, such as “hard DRM”, have a number of drawbacks for both publishers and their readers. Besides being easily broken and therefore ineffective in many instances, “hard DRM” restricts legitimate use, thus inconveniencing and punishing honest customers. It also limits the options publishers have for selling and distributing their eBooks, making them reliant on a few dominant retailers and thereby reducing competition and customer choice.
Custos for eBooks differs from traditional “hard DRM” in that it embeds imperceptible Bitcoin bounties in widely used, open file formats, rather than requiring the use of proprietary formats and viewing applications. These bounties can be claimed instantly from anywhere in the world by a network of “bounty hunters” using a free extraction tool. This gives publishers an alternative means of combatting piracy while avoiding the downsides associated with current, widely-used DRM measures.
“By using Bitcoin bounties, anyone can be a bounty hunter. This not only means that we can detect piracy faster, and deeper in the dark web, but it also sows distrust within tight-knit piracy communities, effectively turning pirates on each other”, says Fred Lutz, COO of Custos. It also serves as a valuable complement to “soft DRM” approaches such as social DRM by providing a more robust means of monitoring and detecting infringement.
“Because we protect eBooks using open formats, readers can access them in any compatible viewing application without restrictions”, says Ryan Morison, Director at Erudition Digital. “This will enable publishers to deliver a more user-friendly experience to eBook readers without being exposed the potential risks of dropping hard DRM.”
With the first commercial application of the solution now launched, Erudition will be conducting a series of pilots to demonstrate the efficacy of the monitoring and detection service. The solution is now available to publishers for applications such as distribution of galley copies, bulk distribution and direct-to-consumer sales. Erudition is also engaging with eBook distributors and other publishing technology providers interested in integrating Custos for eBooks as a value-add to their existing offerings.