Previous Blog Entry Next Blog Entry


Today is International Day Against DRM!  On this day, people and organizations around the world come together to proclaim “hell no!” to Digital Rights Management (AKA Digital Restrictions Management). Learn more about the day and how to take action, small ones and big ones, on the Defective by Design website.

And here’s the neat part (to win over librarian hearts). Publishers are participating by offering DRM-free media at a substantial discount:

Why, as a librarian, am I vehemently opposed to digital rights management? Oh, let me count the reasons why:

  • Consumers, and libraries by extension, should have the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software we choose.
  • DRM inhibits the free exchange of ideas, literature, and information.
  • As customers, we are entitled to be treated with respect and not as potential criminals. If you buy a physical version of a song or movie, you are warned about the law, but generally trusted to follow it. If you buy a digital version, however, the DRM code forces compliance.
  • I am concerned about the future of access to digital information that is locked down with proprietary software or formats.
  • Right now, libraries are coming down on the wrong side of this debate—not the side of content delivery, accessibility, and customer service, like we should. We should be demanding DRM-free digital content from all vendors. Instead, we limit content to a select group of our users.
  • Oh, did I mention DRM doesn’t even work? An 8 year old can break it faster than you can say “noooooooo!”

Librarians have cared about access to digital content since digital content was invented. We have worked to educate staff and customers. We have asked for leadership from our professional organizations in legislating change or working with the Librarian of Congress to make effective changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Are you a believer? Check out the Librarians Against DRM and Readers Against DRM graphics (designed by cartoonist and artist-in-residence Nina Paley). 

Should you be against digital rights management? That’s up to you. If you believe in the role libraries play as preservationists of our cultural heritage, then yes. I believe you should be anti-DRM. If you believe that information should be freely accessible to all and not dependent on devices, software, or versioning, then yes. I believe you should be anti-DRM. But you know, it’s up to you and everything. o.O

“Day Against DRM: Why Librarians Should Just Say No”

  1. 08/05/14 – Día Internacional en contra de los DRM : por qué los bibliotecarios deberían decir que no | La revista digital de las Bibliotecas de Vila-real Says:

    […] Sarah Houghton, directora de la Biblioteca Pública de San Rafael en California publicó en su blog Librarian in black un artículo en el que razona por qué los bibliotecarios deberíamos estar en contra de los DRM […]

  2. We interrupt this broadcast… | Jenny Arch Says:

    […] or three about MLA still to come, but first: May 6 was International Day Against DRM. Please go read what Sarah (a.k.a. the Librarian In Black) has to say about this, and follow all her links (especially check out Defective By […]

Leave a Reply

LiB's simple ground rules for comments:

  1. No spam, personal attacks, or rude or intolerant comments.
  2. Comments need to actually relate to the blog post topic.

You must be logged in to post a comment.