Charleston 2014 – DRM: A Publisher-Imposed Impediment to Progress, or a Legitimate Defense of Publisher/Author Intellectual Property Rights?

Speaker: Jim Dooley, University of California

<insert very slow and deliberate description of all of the headaches of DRM in the library world>

Speaker: Zac Rolnik, Now Publishers

His company does not use DRM on their content, but they are not open access, either.

They want to control the distribution of their content but also maximize the access to it. Not putting DRM on the content is their solution to that push/pull. They also want the user to have a good experience getting to the content.

Implementing and managing DRM does not come without its own costs, and the benefits in his estimation are not great enough to justify those costs. Some seepage of the content is okay, and occasionally good. It can raise awareness of the content itself.

The major STEM publishers don’t have DRM on their ebooks (if purchased directly). Most large institutions and consortia have big deal packages with all of the content, so who would be excluded by DRM? DRM does not benefit the goals of Open Access or Fair Use. So, why have it at all?

Speaker: Adam Chessler, Business Experts Press / Momentum Press

A publisher might want to implement DRM to have control over the distribution of their content, as well as protecting their assets.

If you decide to go the route of DRM, it’s not simply pushing a button. If you have a strict DRM regime, you couldn’t use something like SERU, so you’ll spend a lot of time on licensing and legal discussions. Developing and administering platforms is time-consuming, as well as resource-consuming. Monitoring the use and making sure that there are no violations of the DRM is also time-consuming and resource-consuming. More time on the sales team will be spent explaining to the customers what they can and cannot do with the content.

Speaker: David Parker, Alexander Street Press

DRM reader platforms restrict knowledge sharing. It perpetuates a pricing model driven by print, and eliminates the conversation and creativity that could come. Piracy of scholarly and learning-oriented ebooks is not pervasive, and is quite overstated. These are the downsides of DRM for authors.

ER&L 2014 — More Licenses, More Problems: How To Talk To Your Users About Why Ebooks Are Terrible

“DRM PNG 900 2” by listentomyvoice

Speakers: Meghan Ecclestone (York University) & Jacqueline Whyte Appleby (OCUL)

Ebooks aren’t terrible. Instead, we’d like to think of them as teenagers. They’re always changing, often hard to find, and difficult to interact with. Lots of terrible teenagers turn into excellent human beings. There is hope for ebooks.

Scholar’s Portal is a repository for purchased ebooks. Used to be mostly DRM-free, but in 2013, they purchased books from two sources that came with DRM and other restrictions. One of those sources were from Canadian UPs, and they really needed to be viable for course adoption (read: sell many copies to students instead of one to the library). The organization wanted everything, so they agreed to the terms.

In adding this content, with very different usability, they had to determine how they were going to manage it: loan periods, Adobe Digital Editions, and really, how much did they want to have to explain to the users?

One of the challenges is not having control over the ADE layout and wording for alerts and error messages. You can’t use a public computer easily, since your user ID can be logged in on six devices at most.

Faculty can’t use the books in their class. Communicating this to them is… difficult.

Ecclestone did a small usability test. Tried to test both a user’s ability to access a title and their perception of borrowable ebooks. The failure rate was 100%.

Lessons learned: Adobe = PDFs (they don’t get that ADE is not the same); .exe files are new to students, or potentially viruses; returning ebooks manually is never going to happen; and terms like “borrow” and “loan” are equated with paying.

The paradox is that it’s really challenging the first time around, but once they have the right software and have gone through the download process, it’s easier and they have a better opinion.

Suggestions for getting ready to deal with DRM ebooks: Train the trainer. Test your interface.

They put error messages in LibAnswers and provide solutions that way in case the user is searching for help with the error.