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Thursday, November 8 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Digital Rights Management: A Long and Winding Road to DRM-free Ebooks in Academic Libraries

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"Fair use and other exceptions to copyright law that libraries have relied on for decades to loan print titles have been mostly inapplicable to ebooks because of Digital Rights Management (DRM). Libraries, who are regularly called on to justify and maximize their expenditures, cannot help but see DRM-free titles as an attractive value, as they offer the freedom to let patrons access content when—and in the format—they want. But questions remain: Are DRM-free titles used more than their DRM-enabled counterparts? Are libraries making sound investments by seeking out DRM-free titles? As more titles are released (including to large aggregators), the accumulating data allows us to begin measuring the impact of DRM-free.

Not until recently have publishers started to pay closer attention to librarian and user feedback. A recent Library Journal survey revealed that 74 percent of students using libraries believe there should be no restrictions placed on ebooks; 66 percent prefer to use ebooks with no restrictions; and a whopping 37 percent only use ebooks in their research that have no restrictions. This translates to over one third of scholarly ebooks in U.S. libraries not getting discovered because the majority of titles continue to be distributed with DRM encryption. With usage playing an increasingly important role in library acquisitions, how much are publishers risking by keeping their content under strict protections?

Moderated by Mirela Roncevic, Director of No Shelf Required, and echoing the voices of professionals with experience with DRM from library, publisher and vendor perspectives, this panel seeks to clarify the benefits of providing DRM-free content to library patrons without harming anyone in the ebook ecosystem, as well as to elucidate a range of DRM-related issues posing as possible threats to publisher and library sustainability. This session is designed to further the discussion about the state of the market, the realities of DRM-free usage and how we can continue to develop new approaches of providing academic resources in formats that meet patrons’ needs.


Mirela Roncevic

Director, No Shelf Required


Ben Ashcroft

Vice President, Sales and Marketing, De Gruyter
avatar for Alison Bradley

Alison Bradley

Director, Strategic Initiatives, PALCI
avatar for Angela Dresselhaus

Angela Dresselhaus

Head of Electronic Resources, Eastern Carolina University
avatar for Kara Kroes Li

Kara Kroes Li

Director of Product Management, EBSCO
As Director of Product Management for EBSCO, Kara is responsible for understanding the needs of end-users, librarians, and publishers and distilling those needs into product initiatives. Her current areas of focus are user experience, librarian workflows, and partnerships. Prior to... Read More →
avatar for Kari Paulson

Kari Paulson

VP - Market Development, Books, ProQuest

Dean Smith

Director, Cornell University Press

Thursday November 8, 2018 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Grand Ballroom 2, Gaillard Center