February 17, 2018

MIT Automotive Engineering Faculty Say No to DRM

By LJ Staff

Automotive engineering faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have agreed to cancel access to the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) database of journals over Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues. According to a post on MIT’s library news blog, paid users at MIT would be required to download Adobe’s "FileOpen" plug-in in order to access SAE papers, technology that "severely limits use of SAE papers and imposes unnecessary burdens on readers." The software limits use "to on-screen viewing and making a single printed copy, and does not work on Linux or Unix platforms."

Faculty responses were "uniformly against accepting [SAE’s restrictive] DRM, even if it meant losing ready access to SAE papers." Alternate arrangements, including CD-ROM, microfiche, and on-demand access, will be made for MIT faculty to get access to SAE content when the deal runs out on March 31. "The Libraries spent several months weighing options, consulting with faculty and IS&T experts, and in conversation with the SAE," noted library officials, adding that they "reluctantly" opted to cancel only after SAE informed them that they would indeed be required to use the DRM plug-in.