Digital Rights Management: Effects on Research Support in the Context of a University Library

By J. Stephanie Collins, Shahriar Movafaghi, Tom Chan and Carol T. West.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is an issue that is looming on the horizon of most university libraries. Many such libraries now provide electronic books and papers as resources to support researchers working in their institutions. Publishers, wishing to protect their ownership and copyrights, impose DRM techniques to prevent copying of texts, which may make them difficult to use by researchers and students. DRM can prevent librarians from offering the full range of scholarly works to the patrons of libraries that ordinary copyright laws may permit. This problem is particularly acute for researchers who require details of new research that may only be available in digital format. In fast-moving fields, where the results of various kinds of research are to be quickly disseminated, digital-only publication may be preferred today, or in the near future. With the imposition of DRM on these publications, the problem of access by researchers is becoming a concern. Tensions exist in the current enforcement of copyright law, pitting the owners of protected works against those who want to use them in various legal ways (fair use, artistic creation, etc.), and the limits of ownership are standing against the desire of others to use material. DRM has the potential to tilt the scales in the direction of owners, and prevent many uses. Librarians must provide services to their patrons, while preserving the ownership rights of copyright holders. DRM techniques may complicate this task. DRM is varied, complicated, and may force limits on knowledge sharing and dissemination. This paper will describe various different DRM techniques, how they are currently being used, and new techniques that are being developed, and their potential to affect how we store, retrieve, and disseminate knowledge in the future.

Keywords: Digital Rights Management, Intellectual Property, Electronic Books

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.107-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 464.528KB).

Dr. J. Stephanie Collins

Professor of Information Technology, School of Business, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA

I am currently researching the effect of Digital Rights Management on the dissemination of knowledge.I have been working in the area of Information Technology for some years, and the effects of new technologies on the lives of individuals and societies.

Dr. Shahriar Movafaghi

Associate Professor, Information Technology, School of Business, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA

Dr. Tom Chan

Associate Professor, Information Technology, School of Business, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA

Prof. Carol T. West

Electronic Resources Librarian, Shapiro Library, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA


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