Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Invisibility is the killer"

Paul Coyne from Emerald Group Publishing has blogged some notes on the DRM session at the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference (San Jose, June 18-20, 2007).  Excerpt:

A 3 speaker panel from Elsevier, National Academies Press and the Digital Library Federation.

I thought this session would be about how to implement DRM and how good it is and seriously, you need to do it now and here’s why.

WRONG! The Elsevier speaker talks about allowing access via subscription models and IP address ranging, something we already do at Emerald.

Then, the NAP guy tells us that the balancing act for them is between openness and financial sustainability – fair enough. For NAP a policy more openness has been a successful strategy. The messages from the panel are clear – Don’t err on the side of caution with respect to openness, in fact quote : “Invisibility is the Killer!”.

This is not the session I was expecting. It turns out that there is a clear consensus that DRM introduces an unnecessary layer of technology between the publisher and the reader/researcher/student – which runs the risk of making your customer pissed of with you, for no real material gain since the fears that DRM play on are largely unfounded. Elsevier, NAP and the DLF were very relaxed about the issues of Piracy and DRM. In fact as a means of tapping into the long tail effect and ultimately marketing the brand it’s no band thing, unless of course it becomes really, really, out of hand, but no-one hand any experience of such an event.

A quick poll of the room ( about 40 or so) revealed that no-one implemented DRM in their PDFs or other electronic content offerings. Very revealing.