TeleRead, one of my favorite ebook blogs, just posted a “Primer on DRM.” It is a really good summary of DRM – Digital Rights Management. What’s not included is information on how/why libraries use DRM. For more information on that, check out a previous NoShelfRequired post on DRM.
Here’s a snippet about the challenges, which I find interesting:
Challenges facing the industry
70 per cent of respondents may feel ready for the digital challenge, but industry professionals nevertheless recognised the need to work together to tackle certain issues. The following top four concerns will be discussed at length during this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair:
• copyright – 28 per cent – typical…
• digital rights management – 22 per cent – Oh, that nasty DRM
• standard format (such as epub) – 21 per cent – how about one platform while you’re at it
• retail price maintenance – 16 per cent – hopefully this will filter to library price maintenance too
My recent discussion with Cynthia Cleto from Springer got me thinking about some issues. I’m curious if Springer’s model – no DRM and ILL rights – is unique or if other ebook publishers and aggregators offer similar things. To me, it’s a superior blend, but I’m thinking that most publishers and aggregators feel it’s a toxic cocktail….
DRM – Digital Rights Management. Springer uses none. What about others? I know the services with one book – one user biz models use DRM to control access and checkout/due dates. But, there are many other services with unlimited simultaneous user access, full print and cut/paste features. Are they using DRM? Ones that come to mind are GVRL, Sage, Oxford, Greenwood, and Credo.
Interlibrary Loan – wow, I’ve never heard of any eBook service offering ILL. Springer allows full ILL on its content, following normal ILL procedures. Is anyone else doing this? Typically, ebooks and ILL don’t mix, which is a major disadvantage of ebooks, probably one that is preventing many from taking the eBook route. Traditionally, we’ve been able to send most of our purchased items via ILL, but with the advent of licensing agreements and authorized uses, we are losing our ILL rights. It’s nice to see that Springer is not following that road.
I think I’ll start investigating more about DRM and ILL in the eBook world. That will give me something else to rant about instead of my usual rant – one single platform!
If you have comments or more information on these issues, I’d love to hear them.
If you are one of the 8,500 libraries using the OverDrive Media Console for digital audiobooks, you now have a new feature – compatibility with Microsoft’s Zune. Both DRM-free and DRM-protected (Digital Rights Management) audiobooks are compatible. This now opens up the direct transfer of audiofiles to Zune, iPod, and virtually all other mp3 devices.
For the full story, check out OverDrive’s press release.
or, skip the full story and just download the Media Console.
What is DRM?
DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, coding added to digital content to control access. DRM prevents copying, editing, and sharing of digital files. You may have come across DRM in your personal use of digital music or digital video recorders. More importantly, if your library offers or plans to offer ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs, and other media, usage of this content will be controlled by DRM.
Why is DRM used?
To protect copyright. Media and publishing companies want to protect their content from piracy, illegal copying or editing, and sharing, ie. to control access.
DRM is controversial.
Many people feel that DRM prohibits the fair use of media by the majority of the general public. For example, some DRM programs prevent the creation of backup copies of music and DVDs, printing of ebooks, recording of TV shows or movies for home viewing, and the selection of some hand held devices, since Sony and Apple use different DRM software. Additionally, DRM is now supported by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer advocacy group for the networked world says “the DMCA has become a serious threat that jeopardizes fair use, impedes competition and innovation, chills free expression and scientific research, and interferes with computer intrusion laws.”
Why should I care about DRM?
DRM is particularly relevant to libraries since many are providing digital media in the form of ebooks, audiobooks, digital music and videos, and software and games. Chances are the media you are purchasing to deliver digitally is controlled with DRM software. For libraries, the DRM software prevents copying and editing of digital content, controls printing of ebooks, and magically makes the digital content “disappear” after a due date, even if patrons have downloaded a copy to their personal computer, external storage device, or a hand held device.
If you purchase ebooks or audiobooks from aggregators and distributors such as: EBL, ebrary, Follett Digital Resources, Gale Virtual Reference Library, NetLibrary, and OverDrive, you will have digital content with DRM, so it’s important to understand DRM and how it is used by each of the vendors.
More information on DRM can be found here: