Digital Rights Management

An interesting development in Digital Rights Management (DRM)… The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has dropped its subscription to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) web-based database of technical papers over the use of DRM.  The SAE refuses to allow any online access except through an Adobe DRM plugin that limits use and does not run on Linux or Unix. Also, the SAE refuses to allow its papers to be indexed on any site but their own.

I’ve had first-hand nightmares in trying to purchase AMS specs from the SAE website.  Their use of DRM tends to be very cumbersome, and — to add insult to injury — SAE gets their content for free from the researchers who actually do the work. 

Professor Wai Cheng, SAE fellow and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, says about DRM: “It’s a step backwards.”   He feels strongly enough about the implications of DRM that he has asked to be added to the agenda of the upcoming SAE meeting where he will address this topic.

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