FSF to libraries: boycott DRM

Sometimes, different interests of mine will intersect in fascinating ways. Here’s one: the Free Software Foundation’s DefectiveByDesign.org campaign is asking libraries to boycott DRM, digital restrictions on content the library purchases or subscribes to. Specifically, DbD is targeting the Boston Public Library for its use of OverDrive’s Digital Library Reserve platform.

I would expect libraries to be receptive to the message of eliminating DRMDRM is diametrically opposed to libraries’ missions of access and preservation, and is an awful abuse of copyright law against the public interest. But it’s hard to argue that libraries should forgo access altogether to DRM-crippled content if they can’t negotiate out of it or acquire the content from another source. (Exhibit A: The Boston library’s response.) With that said, there’s plenty of room for library pushback against DRM, which could further signal vendors that there’s no market for it. We’ll see how this turns out.

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