Pirates may turn out to be salvation of e-books under DRM. As people break DRM schemes and make unencrypted copies, they’re preserving the books in a kind of unintentional (or in some cases maybe intentional) underground movement. In the US at least, you’re on shaky legal ground if you even develop software to break DRM, and preserving it might run into the same issues, besides which you risk the possibility of malware.

Future preservation efforts may include a scramble to find and archive those illegal copies. It all feels a little like the end of Fahrenheit 451, where there’s an underground movement to preserve books in people’s memories.