Thanks for informing us about an event while giving us precisely ZERO content. Where is the DRM in the Boston Public Library, is it something the library can remove or is it something they're saddled with, and why should this be of interest to anyone who doesn't know what DRM is already?
It's true, I had no idea what DRM is, and it took me a while to find out what it stood for. Now I'm not sure what the problem with it is. :-/
Mind filling us n00bz in as to what DRM is and why it is so horrible?
I have some sympathy with the "software should be free" movement if for no other reason than the fundamental underlying assumption, that you're basically paying for something (math) that's free, is at least logical. The problem, of course, is that this is generally the attitude held by the kind of computer nerd who sees EVERYTHING on a disc as software, even if it's, erm, not.
In an attempt to Be Meaningful, could you perhaps provide a few links as to what DRM is and perchance why it's a bad thing?
Perhaps scientific as well the standard rioting links would do, so that folks can make up their own minds as critical thinkers.
But if you could form your own opinion, you might not join their protest!
Duran Ramm Man; a DJ mashing up Duran Duran and Rammstein.
I fail to see how any of this is the library's fault? The patrons want these materials. Said materials are available through certain vendors and those vendors have that DRM-thingy-whatsit. Gotta get the materials through the vendor for the patrons...And therefore, you're stuck with the DRM stuff.
And sharing some audiobook that you took out from the library with all of your friends has copyright implications, which can really suck for the library.
Seems to me you should be protesting the vendors, not the library.
I agree -- the idea is to get the library to look harder for alternatives, and to help create a market for alternative vendors. All we're doing here is saying that there is a large demand for DRM-free materials, and we want the library to consider and act on that. It's not a matter of whether it's the BPL's fault, it's a matter of whether they can help change the situation -- and they can.
Fun examples of DRM in action:
Macrovision. You use your VCR to hook up your video input. You play a movie on your DVD player. The VCR, even though it's not recording, distorts the picture. You'll need to buy a device from Radioshack for $50 which will make the picture shitty, or re-architect your home theater.
DVD CSS. You buy a DVD. You go home to watch it on your Linux box. It doesn't play (or at least, back when I used Linux at home). In order to watch it, you have to download software from another country and violate the DMCA.
Sony Rootkit. Sony installs a kernel root-kit when you try to play your CD on windows. This can not only adversely affect your operating system, but the same 'stealth' methods Sony uses to hide it software can than be utilized by hackers. They can use the Sony rootkit to hide their own files.
You purchased a movie from the Google Video Store. They closed shop. You can now no longer watch your movie.
You buy a new CD, rip it, and put it on your iPod. The RIAA sues you, claiming you're making illegal copies (they backed off on this one).
And the list goes on and on. That being said, I don't think protesting the BPL because they have a few copy-protected DVDs is going to accomplish anything.
2008-02-08 12:14 am (UTC)
excuse the cross-posting...
Listen, we all know that DRM is annoying at best. But we're able to offer content that would not be available to anyone
in digital format otherwise because publishers feel comfortable with DRM. I hope that changes, but until then, I'm not sure what you're asking us to do.
Here's the official response. Rest assured that it was written by a real human being who knows what he's talking about, namely me:
While we are well aware of the frustration DRM schema can cause end users, we feel that the high numbers of use (nearly 100,000 downloads since September, 2005) send a strong signal that our customers want access to the material OverDrive provides. For many years, the BPL has offered material in a variety of formats that require specific hardware and/or contain copy-protection technologies (DVDs, Macrovision-protected VHS tapes), but we’ve never been asked to discontinue circulation of this material because not every customer has the ability to use them.
Almost all of the titles available through OverDrive are also available in other formats. Customers who are unable to use DRM-protected content can certainly access the same content via CDs, DVDs, print books, and magnetic media. We also provide links to several other sources for digital eBooks, audio, and video that are in the public domain, and therefore do not require DRM.
Boston Public Library is committed to providing free access to community-owned resources and will continue to search for partners who can provide material to the most number of users possible.
Boston Public Libraryscolford@bpl.org
2008-02-08 04:41 am (UTC)
Libraries could provide alternative links.
Where libraries connect library users/customers/consumers with OverDrive there could also be some listings of alternative links for some of the audiobooks available around the web. That is alternative listings of other web resources for free audiobooks. Maybe not as extensive as OverDrive but at least some alternatives.
Part of the thing is the bureaucratic resistance to engage in discussion about issues that turn up in library users/customers/consumers' feedback, comments, suggestions, questions. Instead libraries could use issues that turn up as opportunities for programming in our community. Applications Manager Scot Colford engaging with critics is a model of the right thing to do. At the front line counters and desks of our libraries more librarians should be willing to engage and be more informed on the issues and offer library users/customers/consumers further information. After all that's the mission and mandate of libraries!
Thanks for the pat on the back, Don! You'll actually find many links to alternate sources for digital text, audio, and video on our website. These sources, like LivriVox and the Internet Archive make available works in the public domain, so they don't require any DRM. Take a look:http://www.bpl.org/electronic/ebook.asp
2008-02-10 05:11 pm (UTC)
Our library could mount a symposium, panel, forum, debate, presentations, programming...
2008-02-11 12:15 pm (UTC)
The Real Sheet newsletter. Backstage behind the scenes at the lib.
A BPL newsletter of interest is...
The Real Sheet
newsletter of the BPLPSA Boston Public Library Staff Association.
The Real Sheet newsletters' articles have insight into the lib backstage behind the scenes.