For years I couldn’t name anything more obnoxious than the crazy frog, but I stand corrected. I’ve long thought that the DMCA was ridiculous, mostly for the broadcast implications, and that DRM was just a band-aid that irritates people and doesn’t actually prevent piracy. Well, today a student came into our library to see if we could purchase a case study from the Harvard Business School. Should be a simple request, right?
HBS has an almost punitive rights statement which makes it nearly impossible for libraries to purchase case studies for their users. Why? Money, of course. By virtually ensuring that everybody has to purchase their own copy of a paper, it guarantees lots of money for the HBS. It’s a veritable cash cow! I remember when I had to purchase a case study for a class, I was a little shocked that everybody (all 30 of us) had to plonk $20 for a pdf of the article.
So now, the library can’t purchase a document we would love to have and we have to shrug and hope the student can afford the document for find somebody else who can. (I actually don’t want to know about it.)
These sorts of policy not only hinder access but also get in the way of research and progress. How obnoxious, even more so than the crazy frog.