This is an interesting story, from Larry Thompson, the Engineering Librarian at Virginia Tech, regarding DRM restrictions on SAE Digital Library, apparently a set of technical papers used by engineers – and engineering academics and students.

The DRM which SAE is proposing will apparently allow digital access only while a computer is connected online: it will not be possible to save copies to computers – if you want ongoing access, you have to print. How very 20th century. According to Larry Thompson, Virginia Tech is now considering what to do: as he puts it,

‘Do we want to spend thousands of dollars on digital format papers that users can’t save to their computers? The professor who wants to read an SAE paper while jetting to Europe for a conference will need to print out the paper … If one publisher does this, it may not be too bad. But what if every publisher adopts this policy, and the professor wants to take 50 papers to read during the flights? Do we want to pay roughly double the cost for a corporate license, in order to legally cover the walk-ins who might use the product, because as a land-grant university our library computers are open to the public?’

Read more here.