What is DRM and what does it mean for your library?

In an effort to help the library community better understand and adapt to the growth of digital content, the ALA has released a tip sheet (pdf) that provides background on digital rights management–systems producers, publishers and vendors use to control what users can do with electronic files, such as e-books, DVD films, and other media.

We encourage library community members, librarians and supporters to use the tip sheet to provide additional information for interested parties. We also encourage librarians to keep the guide at the front desk of their libraries to answer to spark conversations with library patrons or simply answer any questions they may have about DRM.

The ALA Digital Content Working Group created the tip sheet. The working group is charged to advise the association regarding opportunities and issues related to libraries and digital content and the provision of equitable access to digital content for all.

Christopher Harris, who is a member of the Digital Content Working Group, recently published a blog piece that highlighted the digital rights management tip sheet:

The first tip sheet, tackles digital rights management (DRM). This is a highly technical, highly nuanced and legally ticklish topic. Which made it an excellent (or really difficult) place to start depending on your role as reader or author…Our vision for the tip sheets is that they can help inform conversations and provide additional information for interested parties. Keep them at the front desk to help answer patron questions, or use them as a starting point for a quick professional learning opportunity in a staff meeting.  I have already had publishers ask for copies of this to help answer some of their questions about DRM as well, so feel free to share this well beyond the library community.

To learn more about digital rights management, visit the ALA website.

About Jazzy Wright

Jazzy Wright was a press officer of the American Library Association's Washington Office.

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