When the British Library “improved electronic access with DRM”

Scraped from British Library site without permission into Arcturus

I have found the point in time when the British Library [changed or introduced] its DRM. I quote in full (without permission, claiming fair use) and then comment.

http://www.bl.uk/news/2009/pressrelease20091126.html


The British Library Improves Electronic Access with New DRM Platform from leading provider, FileOpen Systems

26 November 2009

Responding to customer demand, the British Library, supplying over 1.6m articles every year to researchers all over the world, has added FileOpen to its choice of delivery options via its Document Supply Service. FileOpen’s DRM technology will improve accessibility and extend the reach of the British Library’s vast resources.

The British Library’s Document Supply services have been at the heart of the national and international research community for 50 years, enabling users to exploit a wealth of information for the benefit of research. In the digital age increasing customer demand for electronic delivery, both remotely and immediately, has seen the number of Document Supply users requesting content delivered electronically raise to over 70%.

In an effort to provide customers with greater flexibility when receiving electronic documents, the British Library has teamed up with FileOpen Systems, a leading provider of a Digital Rights Management platform to the information industries. The FileOpen option offers users an alternative to the Library’s existing Adobe Digital Editions platform, enabling them to access copyrighted material in their Adobe PDF Readers without the need to download a new viewing application.

“The decision to add FileOpen to our Document Supply delivery options was driven by customer demand, they wanted a choice of electronic delivery options,” says Barry Smith, Head of Sales and Marketing at the British Library. “Customer feedback from the testing phase was very positive, and we are pleased to announce that we are now recommending FileOpen as our preferred electronic delivery option to all customers.”

“We’re delighted to be working with an organisation with such worldwide prestige as the British Library, and to be providing their customers with a robust, user-friendly solution for secure document access,” said Elizabeth Murphy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at FileOpen Systems. “FileOpen Systems is the leading provider of DRM for Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) information, and continues to innovate to meet the high standards of that market.”

The FileOpen secure delivery option is now available to all Document Supply customers but is currently unavailable via British Library Direct or British Library Direct Plus.

 
Note the following points:

  1. “Improves access”. I did not realise that DRM improves access.
  2. “driven by customer demand”. Where are the customers who are demanding DRM?
  3. DRM technology will improve accessibility”. Do they really mean “accessible” as in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessible_publishing.? Because my “deep throat” informant has suggested that the DRM makes the document almost inaccessible.
  4. Can the document by understood by an unsighted person? If so how?

The idea that DRM improves anything other than commercial and quasi-commercial revenues is pure Newspeak. The firemen in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 started fires – of books – rather than stopping them. DRM is in the same category – it prevents people reading things.

I think that if my “deep throat” saw the words “user-friendly” about the system used to deliver their ILL material they would explode.
====================== see also comment ==============
Response to “When the British Library “improved electronic access with DRM””

  1. Adobe Digital Editions was also DRMed. I got some papers from the BL via inter library loan and they were awful. Lasted 14 days, restricted printing, limited to the number of devices you could open them on. I really wished I hadn’t chosen electronic delivery!
    I think this is a _change_ of DRM, not the new introduction. I don’t know when they started requiring Adobe Digital Editions, but this clearly replaces it.

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One Response to When the British Library “improved electronic access with DRM”

  1. secretlondon says:

    Adobe Digital Editions was also DRMed. I got some papers from the BL via inter library loan and they were awful. Lasted 14 days, restricted printing, limited to the number of devices you could open them on. I really wished I hadn’t chosen electronic delivery!
    I think this is a _change_ of DRM, not the new introduction. I don’t know when they started requiring Adobe Digital Editions, but this clearly replaces it.

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