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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Retail DRM Versus Library DRM

What's all the damn fuss about 'Digital Rights Management'? Seems like publishers, retailers and library technologists could design an agreeable solution that will allow the free flow and functionality of digital works while still protecting the creative capital of the writers/creators (who have leased some rights to these folks through contracts.

Holy shitswowski, these so-called publishing/book professionals are acting like a bunch of asinine politicians that spend all their time and energy in NOT getting things done just to make opponents look bad and be damn what's good for the country or citizens. 

Definition of DRM from Wikipedia with great links to all the major players.

Now this insight from Michael Kelley, Executive Editor, News and Features for Library Journal:

Retail DRM Is an Apple. Library DRM Is an Orange

The decision on Tuesday by Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen imprints, to make its entire list of ebooks available DRM-free by early July 2012, caused a tremendous amount of discussion in publishing circles with little reference to the library market.
From a librarian perspective, such news is secondary to the ongoing battle to convince publishers such as Macmillan, which is the parent of Tom Doherty Associates, to make even DRM’d content available to the library channel. Something Macmillan has steadfastly refused to do. Talking about DRM-free books, then, is a bit like “focusing on the new skylight you want when you haven’t yet built the walls to support the roof,” as one prominent librarian put it.

Even though the decision could possibly signal a lessening of fear among some publishers, DRM will remain an integral part of the library lending workflow for the foreseeable future. Whatever rethinking is going on among publishers, and that in itself could be a positive, it still remains that what a publisher decides to do with DRM on the retail side does not necessarily correlate to anything they will do with DRM on the library side.

“For Tor, it will undoubtedly be the same thing as O’Reilly does: no DRM for retail, DRM for library lending,” said Bill Rosenblatt, an expert on content protection technologies and the founder of New York-based GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies. “It would make no sense for publishers to abandon DRM for library e-lending just because they don’t like it for retail. The two scenarios are apples and oranges.”

“I could cite other examples of this, such as music downloads being DRM-free but DRM still being used on certain aspects of music subscription services, not to mention audiobooks in library lending scenarios,” Rosenblatt said.

Patty Garcia, the director of publicity for Tor & Forge Books, confirmed what Rosenblatt said.

“This does not affect our library policy in any way; this only affects e-books sold through retail channels and our library position of not lending e-books is unchanged. Tor’s library policy is indeed governed by the Macmillan policy,” Garcia said.

Rosenblatt has blogged about the issue and he will present a panel on June 5 called “The Landscape of Content Protection Technology” for the Digital Book 2012 program at BEA (the program is held in partnership with the International Digital Publishing Forum). The presentation will, among other things, look at potential lending workflows.

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