Suggestion Box: DRM and Ebooks

Submitted:  April 28, 2015
Regarding:  Ebooks / DRM

Comment/Suggestion:  The "MyiLibrary" system is nonsense.  The purpose, the key goal, the raison d'etre of a library is to provide students and researchers with access to information--to facilitate communication between scholars.  That DRM system interferes with the fundamental purpose of the library.  It should not exist.

 We are outraged by someone who damages library materials.  Why? Because they are interfering with the purpose of a library.  Why should publishers be allowed to interfere with communication between researchers?

The author of the book I was looking at recommended I read it.  I want to read it.  And yet the publisher has conspired with the library to make it a damn near impossibility.  The existence of DRM in the library is absurd and offensive, for the same reasons that censorship and burning books is offensive.

No doubt apologists will say that the choice is between DRM or no copy at all.  Nonsense.  DRM exists in libraries because librarians accepted it.

Music aficionados did not accept it on music, and it is no longer found there.  Yet somehow librarians accept crippling the service they provide because the publisher demands it.  But they forget, they would not exist without us.  We provide both their content and their customer base.  They are not in a position to make demands.  We are in a position to make demands on them.  And we should.

End DRM in libraries today.  Do not buy those "books."

Library Response:  We agree that digital rights management (DRM) restrictions on the ebooks we provide is problematic, and we are working with our content providers to advocate for fewer restrictions. We celebrate publishers, such as Springer, that do provide ebooks without DRM imposed, as good examples of ways to provide content moving forward. But, as in your example with digital music distribution, this change takes time to permeate the market. We're sorry that your experience was so frustrating