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Event on Saturday to get DRM out of the Boston Public Library [Feb. 7th, 2008|11:04 am]
The Boston Community

b0st0n

[johnsu01]

DefectiveByDesign.org has announced an action against libraries that support DRM on their collections. Boston locals can join them this Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at the Boston Public Library's main branch, and non-locals are encouraged to stage an action against their own library if it's using DRM.

Read story at Digg

(I'll be there.)

linkReply

Comments:
From: scolford
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:




One of the most popular new services provided by the Boston Public Library is OverDrive, a vendor-supplied lending system for electronic books, audio books, music, and videos. Digital Library Reserve, the vendor from whom we license this content has secured thousands of popular, high-quality titles from many major publishers under the condition that digital rights management (DRM) measures are taken to ensure that the material cannot be redistributed. Furthermore, the specific DRM schema used on OverDrive titles allow material to circulate for distinct periods of time, permitting the library to honor its licensing contract and to provide a service paralleling the loan of physical material. No personal patron information is shared with OverDrive or other third-parties in the download or DRM process. Please see the BPL privacy policy for more information. (http://www.bpl.org/general/policies/privacy.htm)

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.

Scot Colford
Applications Manager
Boston Public Library
scolford@bpl.org
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dsaklad
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!
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[User Picture]From: dsaklad
2008-02-08 04:51 am (UTC)

Re: Libraries could provide alternative links.

After all further information, hints, tips, pointers are in keeping with the mission and mandate of libraries!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: scolford
2008-02-08 02:41 pm (UTC)

Re: Libraries could provide alternative links.

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:

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
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[User Picture]From: cowsandmilk
2008-02-09 02:47 pm (UTC)

Re: excuse the cross-posting...

you're the person who fixes Safari Tech Books Online when it breaks. I love you for that. Having access to those books without having to go to the library whenever I forget Perl (once or twice a week) is wonderful.
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From: scolford
2008-02-09 02:52 pm (UTC)

Re: excuse the cross-posting...

Indeed, that is me. I'm not sure whether to be flattered at the appreciation or embarrassed that Safari has gone down a couple times so far this year. Well, if there's an up side to that, we've really found out that a *lot* of people use Safari ... and we've ironed out those access problems!

Thanks for saying hi!
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[User Picture]From: dsaklad
2008-02-10 04:26 pm (UTC)

Introducing DRM changes the line between what is your own, and what belongs to the Englobulators.

> Introducing DRM changes the line between what is your own, and
> what belongs to the Englobulators.
>
> The issue is: the Library, by using "DRM", supports the general
> principle that we should be under surveillance and that our
> computers should be under the control of the Englobulators at all
> times. No, we should not be under constant surveillance and no,
> we should keep our computers our own. That means no DRM. None
> whatsoever.
>
> Don, you may quote this, with attribution, and a warning that I
> cannot, this month, enter the public conversation.
>
> oo--JS.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: scolford
2008-02-10 05:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Introducing DRM changes the line between what is your own, and what belongs to the Englobulators

Okay, Don. But no one patron exclusively owns library material. That's the problem. You don't get to keep it forever. You gotta give it back.

And regarding surveillance of your computer, I am well aware that some DRM schemes do maintain connections with rights management servers and I would agree that these schema constitute spyware. But the scheme used with OverDrive does not function this way. A user downloads a license willingly and once downloaded, it's good for 14 days. The license server does not "check in" on your workstation ever again -- transaction completed.

So, the claim on the Defective By Design flier that using OverDrive at the BPL involves installing corporate spyware on your computer is simply not true.
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