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I'm fine with watermarks. The only downside to them is that they are traceable to the original buyer if someone else gets their hands on your and decides to distribute it online, so lending them to a friend is risky.

But the watermarks really only matter when they get illegally copied around, and don't hurt the owner in the way more restrictive forms of DRM do.

Risky how? Is there some punishment for not perfectly securing bytes? That would be insane because companies aren't punished for sharing your stuff by accident or even selling it on purpose.

Maybe they should be.

in the blind community I'm a part of, there are a lot of ebooks floating as plaintext files, with watermarks either stripped or replaced by something like "there was a watermark here, but it has been stripped. Keep trying".

There will always be hacking. When you sell ebooks without drm and with just reasonable watermarking, you remove all the incentive for ethical hacking. This remains only the unethical hacking (the thieves).

Well, that “downside” is the entire point. Czech publishers call this “social DRM”, which conveys the point well: if the book says it was printed for me, visibly, I won’t be inclined to distribute it illegally. It isn’t about enforcement (see sibling comment). And yes, you can strip visible watermarks, but this still discourages casual pirates well.

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