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I tried out a DRM for my digital comics a while back. It was way too clunky and irritated the people who actually buy my comics rather than hang around dubious forums begging people to post them for free. This meant I basically had to sit back and accept the losses being incurred through unauthorised distribution – and by “unauthorised distribution”, I don’t mean one person posting it to another person, I mean the product I’m trying to sell being made available for anyone and everyone to download free for an indefinite period. Something which the offenders don’t seem to believe (or care) to be damaging.
Recently, some bright spark has collected every scrap of digital material I’ve ever created with the intent to sell and put it all in one place as a free download. This has essentially wiped out my inventory and is forcing me to take another look at possible DRMs I can apply to future digital content.
I’ve earmarked a few that I’m going to examine more closely, but if anyone has a recommendation, feel free to post it below.
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m4xm0u53 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
If it exists, it's been cracked and pirated. No exceptions. DRM your comics and people will crack and pirate them just for bragging rights. Sort of a fun sport for people on my end of the internet to get the first crack on some DRM. In fact they will sometimes do it just to spite the fact that you use DRM.

Though I don't understand why they are putting you on the Warez lists. It's not like you are as large as Marvel or DC. Usually it's big media publishers or fat cat authors that they pick on. They never pick on the independents or at least most of them don't. 
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jollyjack Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014
Don't try to drag me into this, please.
BigLoader69 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014
For your info I wasn't. 
The person my brother was arguing with block him so I couldn't info him of what his words caused.
Why not let him & others see? I guess you don't care!

For further info this account is closed!!
Afrodisium Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014
There's a very popular 3D hentai doujin circle called Umemaro3D that tried to prevent people from distributing their work but using an obscure video encryption and using a launcher to encrypt and play the videos they make.  Their work still ends up online because some enterprising bugger buys a copy, takes screen captures like they do with video games, and then posts those online after editing.  There's always a way to break DRM.  If a crook is determined enough, he will find a way.  In the meantime, you run the risk of alienating your base.  DRM is a bitch to deal with, especially when the method you use ceases to exist, and all the stuff you purchased no longer works.  I've had that happen to me with Atom Films and RealPlayer (to their credit, RealPlayer allowed you to download DRM free MP3s of everything you bought when they shut down their DRM).
Draber-Bien Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
It's pretty silly to think that someone who doesn't want to pay for something won't find a way not to pay for it. DRM ONLY hurts your paying costumers.
SannyF Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
patreon drive is one that has proven fairly successful to some thoe you have to be showcasing it properly also.

there is so much ways you can go at it with this but often a mix of what ytou ahve bundle with patreon is a way to probrably go for, i know i will and works on.
jallen327 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the watermarks that,, etc. does on their PDF's.  I'm not sure where you'd find that kind of technology, but it basically puts your email address into the PDF's headers and footers.  I certainly don't mind it.
Karl1666 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
Not to DRM. Take CDProjekt (authors of the Witcher computer RPG game) as example.
People will take it for free anyway, don't worry about them.
Instead, care for the paying customers. Add something extra that is not available online etc.
Or forget about web-comic and sell printed version.
katheb Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I honestly don't know how you would go about it, even if it does have DRM, images can be copied too easily for any DRM to work.

I mean big companies are trying their damnedest to find a way and they have not found one that does not piss off customers to some degree.
Asura-Shudo Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Student General Artist
I'd say DRM the more popular ones or the ones you think should be DRM. I bought 4 of your comics on Lulu, which were all pretty good, wouldn't mind if they were DRMed cause I bought em so they're mine now. Don't know if it would backfire, but it would show that you are okay with people downloading some of your stuff, but it would help to support you and if they do, they can read the good stuff when they actually purchase those said DRM'd comics.
Sounds stupid I know but keep up the good work.
40kfreak Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
I dunno if you have tried this before, but what about trying a pay what you want method. Suggest $4USD (slightly higher than what you charge now), have a minimum of $1.5 or $2 and see if the lower prices are incentive enough to get those who would not otherwise buy into it. And those who are fans of your work could pay more. I don't know how well it would work for art but may be worth a shot.
CKentavr Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
What losses?  If people aren't going to pay for it, they aren't going to pay for it.
DrawingsbyAlicia Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Not necessarily. There are many products I wouldn't or can't pay for, but give me an option to pay what I want and I'll gladly throw some dollars at it based on what it's worth to me.

Yeah, some people refuse pay for anything, but many others are willing to pay what they can/want, given the opportunity to do so. It's not a waste of time to try to collect what you earned, even if it's just a fraction of your asking price.
CKentavr Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
You just contradicted yourself.  A "There are many products I wouldn't or can't pay for," connect be true if B "an option to pay what I want and I'll gladly throw some dollars at it."

You just said you'd pay for it, so that you can't pay for isn't true.

Of course, I'm pretty sure you meant 'At a higher (normative) price point you wouldn't pay.'  For instance the difficulty in paying itself is a price that many people aren't willing to pay.  I give people dollars on the street for far less, merely because it's very simple to give them money.

So in shorter terms, we're agreeing.

I also agree that sliding scale systems are ones I want to encourage.
DrawingsbyAlicia Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
"Of course, I'm pretty sure you meant 'At a higher (normative) price point you wouldn't pay.' "

Indeed, that is obviously what I meant. I don't know why you would take it any other way as it doesn't make sense unless taken how I meant it.

I suppose you may agree with me, but I don't know what we're agreeing to because you didn't state it clearly enough. :P
CKentavr Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
Your words weren't very specific, either.
DrawingsbyAlicia Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Specifically, what do you mean by specific? =P
dayman Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
True, but what about people who want to view it and not want to pay for it.  Its a exchange service, in exchange for a comic they need to give a few dollars. 
However, if they go to another site and get it for "free", Jolly Jack loses doesn't get paid for the work he done. Like he said, it not the matter of one person sharing with a friend, its the matter of somebody putting it up on a site like MediaFire and saying "Why pay X amount of dollars to Him, when you can get it here for free?" to a mass of people, posting links to the MediaFire download on sites like 4chan, tumblr, even blogs.

Now Jolly Jack, or any other artist who faces the same deal, just spent X amount of hours (I'm guessing 30-40 hours) of hard, imaginative work on something and not get the amount that equals to views.
So lets say he sold something at a $1 and he finds that 120 people bought his item, that's a good, well owned $120. That's good, but well under something that he could get from any common part time job. But then he see's a torrent share file, or mediafire amount downloaded statics on one of his stolen works to be over 600. That's over $600 he is missing. Now imagine that but over a internet scale.

DRM in total is a grey subject, especially with the internet. Its one of those words that can't be said without somebody going on a hate rant. Its stops the people who do pay good money from enjoying content the way it was meant to be enjoyed, but at the same time it help protects the people who make the content.
The biggest concern I have with DRM or Piracy is the disconnect that people have with it. I suggest reading: When Pirates get pirated.  People get so used to it, they they sometimes don't realize what they are doing is affecting somebody else.
dayman Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
True, but not getting any money from people stealing a product is even worse. If you made something, sold it to 10 people but it is shared 300 times, that is a rip off to the creator. Its not the fact that they aren't willing to pay, its that they rather get it for free and care not for what happens to the creator.

All the rest of your comment is bogus.
CKentavr Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
If they aren't going to pay, not scheme will make them pay.

As demonstrated many times, the amount of money made by limiting access often shoots ones self in the foot.

All the rest of your comment is bogus.
Avolendi Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
To brainstorm a bit on a potential approach.

Having the images behind a login and register when a user presses printscreen. You could warn/inform a person after the first print screen to please refrain from doing so and after a second time no longer allow the account to view anything. While not a perfect solution, it should make it significantly harder, while of the normal users only annoying those that want to keep a local copy. Which is something you probably want to discourage anyway, since it's a short step from sharing.

What further comes to mind (combined with the previous) is to display each image inside of an encrypted PDF and not allow downloading of it. This would mean those who want to make duplicates can only get lower resolution print screen images very slowly, while again not disrupting normal reading.

Beyond that I don't know what could work without disrupting normal viewing. It might be worth checking out if there are watermarks that only become apparent when print screen is used, perhaps related to the resolution difference? Though that already sounds like a longshot.

Hopefully this is of some use as an alternative or addition to any measures you decide to take.
LexyEevee Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
why do you think piracy means lost sales?  by and large, if pirates can't pirate X, they won't go buy X; they'll just pirate Y instead.
willcraft Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Because the right to property entitles one to choose how one's possessions are handled irrespective of how much one benefits perhaps?

Also, that really oly applies to habitual pirates. There are people who want something and will buy it if they have to, but will otherwise pirate it. Pirates who pirate for the sake of piracy are not discerning consumers.
Sage-Freehaven Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
THANK YOU. :salute:
Lavik1988 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 21, 2014
I would request that you don't use drm; it infringes on too many morals, imho.

Personally, I would suggest reading some of the articles from Defective by Design, though taking what they say with a grain of salt (they tend to be a bit on the 'radical' side)

*edit* I especially suggest reading their article on the publisher 'Tor' and why they now publish without DRM
Nenshoyaju-Raizer Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
There's DRM removal software. I know some sites will disallow the posting of your images if you contact them about it, but still there's no 100% way to prevent privacy except by not having anything to pirate at all.
Brooklyn-Wyvern Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
As an additional comment, I dislike the continual monthly payment or "auto subscription" based systems. I only purchase what I'm interested in. If there is a subscription-based payment system and the producer of the content either A. doesn't produce anything that month or B. (more likely so) doesn't produce something I would have interest in (Case in Point: I've skipped some of JJ's comics), I've just forked over money for a service (yes, a subscription is a *service* not a *product*) I don't intend on utilizing.

Give me a la-carte any day. I can pick and choose the specific products I want and avoid others; or, if the option for subscription based systems is a must, make it NON-auto renew, that way I can only purchase the month I feel warrants it. Of course, with subscription based systems, not providing access to previously-released-month's content is a big no-no too.
AlanRalph Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
I've not had any dealings with DRM for ebooks, but a few years ago I did research on DRM solutions for DVD videodisc content. They did work against those trying to do whole-disc copying, but won't prevent ripping and re-encoding of the contents by those with the time and software. :hmm: And of course, it meant the discs had to be duplicated (slowly) one at a time, because the protection meant we couldn't use our in-house disc duplicator towers. :doh:

A couple of people have mentioned Patreon. I'm supporting a few other artists on there already, and to be honest I'd be more than happy to throw you some bucks to see work-in-progress and read you asides and commentary. The good news is that you're getting actually fans and customers via Patreon. The bad news? It might take a while to build up, so don't expect to get heaps of money right away.
abelgrave Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional
Some time back I has asked you if you were going to put your books on comixology, you told me you have issues with their model but did not elaborate.
Seeing as they do not have a download policy available for books through their platform and are a possible option to slowing the pirates (please note I did not say "stoping", screen captures can be made into a digital comic with a bit of work, but pirates don't like work do they) are you now reconsidering them?
You could also look into Drivethru comics. The books they sell have a "watermark" on each page, below all the panels with the name of the person who purchased the initial PDF. That would at least let you know who to press charges against.
Capt-Anime Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Sir.if you do that i will stop looking or buying and both DRM is not freedom and seriously people will turn to the people you hate even more i once saw a comic(i can't Remember where) of the DRM man how hansom and wonderful He is but in pic number 2 he was in Leather Gear and going  over 2 kids  pushing his system on that and 3 pic uncle pirate pachcy come to there aid and saves the day. That will happen if you consider have the right to protect your art and fight the good Fight and i am willing to buy of man i want to buy your stuff your a great Artest and you got my backing BUT; please Don't do the Evil DRM Man.
Mokele Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Sew mistrust.  Make fake accounts and post your work for "free"...with a virus, worm, trojan, or other malware somehow attached to it.  Flood the internet with it.  Make it so that anyone who goes looking for the free stuff has a better than average chance of ruining their machine.

If you can somehow distribute your comics exclusively in EXE files (some sort of packaged reader, maybe?), that would make it much harder to tell good from bad, and much easier for you to distribute malicious copies.
Sage-Freehaven Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Yeah, because associating your work with viruses and trojans won't backfire in any way possible. Noooooooooooooooooooo, that'll work perfectly.
JamtRaven Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Or just pay what you want model like slugbox, big money there.
JamtRaven Featured By Owner Edited Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A pay-per-month membership, or even better, a god damn expensive six month membership requirement, with a unique separate watermark applied a little here and there as a faint .PSD premade layer on every piece (software generated). Not the deviantart 'in your face' type watermark but rather a unique pixel-sized code, barcode say. Seen it work amazingly on 'other' websites, simply because the culprit will either:

A: Be unaware of the watermarks, happily posting them online and then after your examination of the leaked pictures origin face the banhammer of unending agony, essentially wasting the expensive membership money he spent. 

B: After the first one(s) has become an example the rest will think twice before following suit, either:

1: Spend a ridiculous amount of time de-watermarking the pieces, and then out of good will share them with netizens though the risk remains they have missed one. *not likely*

2: Keep the pieces for themselves, for their viewing, fearful of the day they might suffer the same fate as poor 'A' dude by mistake.

You can't catch every hardcore one hellbent on removing the watermarks, but forcing them to think twice might just scare off the majority of offenders. Or backlash completely, users potentially out of shock the limitations you have placed down turning to other free stuff, boycotted by a majority and an internet hellfire ensued over what a cruel man you have become for trying to pay taxes.

If you manage not to go crazy with power and release 'Jacks little red book' code of conduct for your subscribers, might work.
Aelius24 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've seen one artist place all the material behind a paywall with a membership requirement and a site that has right clicking disabled.  I think there was also a function that halted people from grabbing the files on the web pages' media menu, too.  I'm not sure if that's what you currently have, but I figured it might be something to check.
Sage-Freehaven Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
People can use Print Screen or a right-click-enabling userscript to circumvent those measures.

No form of DRM works with 100% effectiveness. No form of anti-piracy measures has ever stopped pirates. If you believe otherwise, go ask the companies behind Blu-ray about how someone broke their allegedly "unbreakable" DRM mechanisms.
LexyEevee Featured By Owner Edited Jun 21, 2014
or disable javascript.  or ctrl-i and look at the media tab.  or hell firefox used to have a checkbox right in the options for preventing right-click hijacking.
Aelius24 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Quite true, though at the very least it can discourage some of the more casual art thieves.
Sage-Freehaven Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Those pirates will just wait for others to do the work for them.
darrellsan Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
What I do is, I steal food from the local grocery store, take it back to my home, eat it, and IF I like the food, I go back and I pay the owner for it. The way I see it, I'm only checking the food out to see if it's worth buying. I got the idea from people who use that excuse to condone piracy. 
Scintillant-H Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014   General Artist
I'm fine with people pirating company comics like DC's books or Marvel, Darkhorse, etc... I don't pirate myself, but hell, you can't trust the quality of the books. I'm poor as shit and if I was going to want to check out a book from one of those companies, I would try to find a site to download it first (nothing "torrent", cuz I can't get those through the library computers) and if I like it, it'll go on my list of comics to buy when I get the money. I WANT it in my hands legit, literally or digitally.

But when it comes to freelance artists not working for a big company, esp someone from the dA fam (I'm cheesy ^///^ ), I refuse to even check out any free links/downloads unless the artist specifically promotes it themselves. That's an artist trying to make it on their own, something I'm trying to do, too (not even off the ground yet) and I'm sure as HELL not going to damage someone else's efforts to do that. It's like stabbing my brother. Sometimes my actual brother ticks me off and I'd like to stab him... but then he's too damn cuddly and I can't. :D
The way I see it, if I even download it just to check if it's worth buying, then that one download is registered with the person who provided the link, and they think "oh cool, someone downloaded this, cuz it was a good idea to do this!" I don't wanna support their theft. :stare: they can f*** off.

ZaXo-KenIchi Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Can't blame you for it whatsoever. Honestly, people have to be pretty pathetic wastes of space to steal the work of someone trying to make a living based entirely on their own merits, and give it away for free. It's sickening that they're such hypocrites, because you damn well know they wouldn't like it if the same thing was done to them.
Midnight-Vanguard Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Dude that really sucks, I pay for all your comics when I can, and when I see them uploaded... I never post them anywhere... I do hope you find a way to deal with this problem... but I will continue to support your work as I can... 
CastleAether Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
They'll break the DRM easily and post it anyways, you're wasting your time.
Instead, leave a page at the end of whatever comic you make saying something like "Support the Artist!"
I know that sounds as though it won't make a difference, but believe me when I say you can get the most hardcore, trip-key encrypted, blah blah blah DRM and someone will manage to crack it in an afternoon.
Don't waste your money.
tAiTh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
hmm haven't seen those
my question is: are legal images free of any links or information at the bottom of page?
maybe small black bar telling that's not comic available for free and if you like it go buy it
I doubt someone will be asshole enough to edit all of this out and black bar on the middle of page shouldn't be much of issue for legal owners
sadly there is close to none online advertisers that would accept NSFW content and not serve you inferior ads sometimes tied with viruses
UltimateDeathGod Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
think steam: pirates are competitors, not enemies, and people who download that pirated content are a potential sales, not thieves. make it easy to buy, remind people to buy it, make them feel good for buying. i've never used lulu because it looks like someplace that wants to make me register and spam me with its newsletter. have you considered experimenting with something like ejunkie or oronjo to see if one of them have a higher turnover rate? i've used ejunkie a few times before; they send you to paypal to login to pay, but other than that, present a very smooth purchase process.

try logging out of deviantart for a bit and looking over your homepage. does the landing page ( contain any links to your storefront or broadly advertise your products? consider adding a signature to your journals with 2-4 of your latest comics, complete with nice looking cover thumbnails and price points. if i - as a casual nobody - happen upon your page, the only place where i would find a link to your portfolio archive is in the text (which nobody looks at) at the bottom of your preview images. heck, even just add a "buy it at..." blurb to the top or bottom of the preview image.

i would also consider trying to to sell packs of portfolios or have sporadic, time-limited sales. i'll admit i don't patronize your artbooks (legally or otherwise) because they aren't quite my flavor, but if you have comics that follow continuity with one another, see if there are any 'arcs' you can package together. put one comic on sale a week before you list it's sequel. if something is based on an in-continuity birthday or particular fandom, link a sale to that. like, the comic about the ice queen that came out recently, are there any home movie releases that you can ride off of to try and sell more copies?

...obviously i'm no professional. but i do like sequential art, i do think you're a sorta cool dude, and i want you to do well, so there's my thoughts for whatever it's worth.
mrcup Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
What about a subscriber pays model like
You get paid automatically when you release a comic.
You'd build a subscriber base or regular customers and it would encourage you to release more content more regularly as you know you'll get paid.
By offering levels of subscription you allow people to pay what they can afford and widen your potential market.
It promotes the production of new content, builds a fan base and avoids DRM.
LynnNexus Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
He's already complained about this but honestly it's way better than DRM
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