DRM at the BPL

As reported by Universal Adam, Glyn from across the pond, and from the source itself:

DefectiveByDesign.org will be taking action this Saturday at the Boston Public Library to demand that they remove DRM technology from their collection… gathering outside the entrance at the main branch of the Boston Public Library… from 1pm until 3pm on Saturday, February 9th, 2008.

Yes, that’s tomorrow. I don’t think that I’ll be able to make it in person. So please consider this post my protest against the use of DRM at the BPL: Data Restricted by Microsoft at the Boston Public Library.

5 thoughts on “DRM at the BPL”

  1. Hi, Andrew. 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 that scrapping a new, popular service will help anyone.

    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

  2. Many a times you may want to remove DRM from your iTunes music collection for the simple reason that you want to play the songs that you legally purchased over the internet to work in your home-thearte system or just in any other player other than your iPod and iTunes.

    When you legally download music from services such as iTunes and Musicmatch Jukebox, the files are protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM). This prevents you from playing the music on unsupported players. I use MelodyCan software (http://www.convert-any-media.com/index.php) to remove protection. But remember distributing these files is illegal.

    Now to be clear, this isn’t a way to take music you bought and give it to someone else, this is so you can listen to your own purchased music on other systems or devices. In fact, your personal info is still in the file.

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