One of the cheapest (okay, free) ways to amass digital content is to check out CDs or DVDs from the public library and rip them onto your computer. But when it comes to digital content, DRM rears its ugly head. Library patrons have to install a Windows program called the OverDrive Media Console that allows them to play borrowed/downloaded content in a DRM-ed Windows Media format. You can play the content as many times are you want during the artificially-enforced lending period, after which the content times out (you can't burn it to disc for your own archives either).
The point of libraries is to make content freely available for the common good, I thought, so these restrictions are a little weird. Physical library cards don't require a certain type of wallet; why should the electronic ones only work on Windows? I asked a wilfully unemployed librarian (his words) to explain the system, and he had some choice words for the OverDrive system....
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Wired News | Listening Post | Public Libraries, Private DRM