Hugh Rundle has produced another thought provoking article, suggesting the current copyright system is doomed.
Librarians should not play along with this. Eli Neiberger told us earlier this year that our mission should be to ‘fight for the user’. Fighting for the user doesn’t mean signing petitions pleading with publishers to sell us their ebooks. It means looking for alternatives and spending your money with companies that do serve your communities needs properly. Show your community how to publish their own ebooks and bypass the publishers. Show your community how to curate their own newsfeeds using Twitter or Flipboard and cancel your subscriptions to crappy news aggregation databases. Refuse to subscribe to any service that requires your members to create a new account with the provider or an associated DRM software product. Question whether ALIA should really enshrine support for Copyright in its policy documents. Demand to know why IFLA opposes one of the few systems that could support the creation of cultural works without locking them down.
Winter is coming for the copyright slumlords. Make sure you rug up, and remember whose side you are on.
As Hugh knows, I’m closely involved with our library subscribing to a service that requires our members to create an account with a DRM product. That’s how we’re getting at least some popular ebooks into the library. I’ve read other arguments that we should boycott such providers so the publishers are forced to do it our way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the publishers preferred this – then they could just stop selling ebooks to libraries. The fact is, if we want some new release popular ebooks in the library (we can’t get them all), we’re currently forced to make some big compromises.
I’m going to try to guess what is in Hugh’s head and predict his response: that’s fine, let people buy ebooks at the cheap prices that will result when the copyright revolution hits. Libraries will need to reposition themselves as something other than popular fiction lending institutions if they are to survive.