June 14, 2005 3:35 AM PDT

N.Y. library audio book project snubs iPod

In one of the biggest projects of its kind, hundreds of audio books will be available for download--but not for the iPod.

The story "N.Y. library audio book project snubs iPod" published June 14, 2005 at 3:35 AM is no longer available on CNET News.

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I find it hard to believe you would be bulldozed by a monopoly,
Microsoft, to pick their format for downloading the digital
books. The iPod is one of the most innovative devices of digital
programming ever developed and is used by the majority of

Your ill informed decision just plays into the hands of the
Microsoft monopoly by forcing people to use a device that they
have developed.

Microsoft must not be allowed to monopolize another part of the
computer revolution using another of their inferior product.

Gene Pileggi
Posted by genepileggii (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NY has probably the largest concentration of iPod users in the
Yet somehow, the library doesn't want their books to be read..

Maybe some of those decision makers should actually look
around. HINT: The white earbuds are connected to iPods.

Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
The ipod is used by the majority of people???
You said the ipod is used by the majority of people but it isn't. The majority of people use computers running Windows so Windows Media player is the logical choice.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Link Flag
I find it hard to believe you would be bulldozed by a monopoly,
Microsoft, to pick their format for downloading the digital
books. The iPod is one of the most innovative devices of digital
programming ever developed and is used by the majority of

Your ill informed decision just plays into the hands of the
Microsoft monopoly by forcing people to use a device that they
have developed.

Microsoft must not be allowed to monopolize another part of the
computer revolution using another of their inferior products.

Gene Pileggi
Posted by genepileggii (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why DRM for books out of copyright?
All of the books cited are no longer under copyright. What reason
on earth does the library have to subject them to DRM restrictions?
Isn't this a PUBLIC library? Aren't these books in the PUBLIC
DOMAIN? This is sheer stupidity.
Posted by rallan (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
public domain
>>Aren't these books in the PUBLIC DOMAIN?<<

Actually, the President purchased the rights to the Bible. He now
has exclusive rights over content and interpretation.
I hear he's working on a sequel.
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
Books vs Audio files
Although you are correct that the works cited are in the public
domain, this does not mean that the audio recording of those
works are in the public domain.

This is analogous to a film made from one of Shakespeare's plays
or a recording of a symphony by Haydn, both of which can be
protected under copyright law.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
Easy Workaround
All you have to do is burn it out to audio CD, then re-rip it as an
MP3. No DRM, no locks and it will play on an iPod. Then, really
**** of the NY Libraries and share it via Limewire or some other file
sharing network. Granted, you may lose a little bit of quality
because of the re-rip, but it's voice work... you probably won't
decern anything.
Posted by verucabong (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This problems runs deeper than than you think
Not only is this MAJOR PUBLIC library preventing all iPod user from accessing these materials but, due to the fact that Microsoft has not yet (or probably ever will) enabled the Macintosh version of their media players to handle their DRM bonded content, the library is also preventing ANY USER OF THE MACINTOSH OPERATING SYSTEM FROM ACCESSING THESE BOOKS AS WELL. So, the burn-and-re-reip approach will be undoable by Mac users.

This is a tremendous mistake. Not only is it discriminatory in it's concept (dare I play "the OS race card"?), but Macs are used by many students and educators of all learning levels. "Staying ahead of the curve", they say? It's more like they're ignorant to it; where it's been, and where it's going.

This is flabbergasting, and officials should be made aware of this gross oversight.
Posted by MacDuff (62 comments )
Link Flag
This is a frustrating development, given the pervasiveness of the iPod player - a principal means for delivering this content. I am not a fan of most closed systems but realize that you are undermining competition by effectively choosing to bolster a virtual monopoly's already strong market position despite the fact that a large number of New Yorkers have obviously adopted the very popular iPod and iTunes offerings. This ties the Library's future to a company that many would argue has a history of unfair, predatory practices, not to mention a long trail of security flaws in their operating system.

Why wouldn't the Library be more forward-looking and choose something in an open-source format (eg., Ogg Vorbis) to keep with the spirit of access for all? A move like this would encourage closed vendors to adopt a platform-neutral approach and would benefit all - particularly the patrons of the Library. This is the public trust we count on you to protect with your decisions.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Closed vs. Open
The library had to pick between 2 separate technologies.

Apple has a closed DRM system and Microsoft has a licensable DRM system.

I have no idea why they chose MS over Apple, but MS seems to be into licensing their DRM to lots of hardware vendors and Apple has only licensed FairPlay to Motorola cell phones - and it's delayed and delayed.

Steve Jobs killed off the Apple clones in the 90's and now he wants to reinforce his image as a control freak with FairPlay. Hey, I love my iPod, but MS will license to anyone for a couple bucks.

BTW, Apple won't release their loseless codec to anyone, though I hear a few companies have reverse engineered it.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of the largest cities in the world, one of the largest PUBLIC
libraries in the world, a list of books that can be viewed at ANY
time without charge, ...

Why are they using ANY DRM of ANY kind?! Where did this
impetus come from?
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why ??
" Why are they using ANY DRM of ANY kind?! Where did this impetus come from? "

Your guess is as good as mine, but I'll guess that they want one - and only one - system that can work with non-copyright and copyright materials AND is approved by the big book publishers.

Copyright protection is important. If someone takes 2 years to write a book, they need to earn royalties or they'll starve.

Song freeloaders, I mean downloaders, argue that musicians make money from concerts, not CDs. But, I think everyone realizes that book signings are only profitable to the writer if people actually buy the book - no other way to profit from their hard work.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Link Flag
"Why are they using ANY DRM of ANY kind?! Where did this
impetus come from?"

You are unlikely to rush out to Kinkos to copy a 300 page book.
It would be cheaper to buy your own book. A digital recording,
however, is easily duplicated by almost anyone these days for
the cost of the CD media. I suspect the DRM is a requirment
from the audio publishers that supply the Library. Those that
have stated that Apple is to be blamed by not licensing Fairplay
have probably hit the logical conclusion. As an avid iPod user I
understand the frustration as more libraries will follow suit. I
recommend Audible.com.
Posted by Greg Sparkman (82 comments )
Link Flag
Unless I'm missing something, they never had any other choice....
Everyone is complaining like they choose not to release it in FairPlay (Apple's DRM format that will play on the ipod), but the last I had heard Apple will not license FairPlay, so the only people who can "legally" release content to the Ipod, is apple via itunes.

You guys are directing your wrath at the wrong people. The library choose the only DRM format that was available to them.
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Follow The Money Stupid...
Apple DRM/FairPlay v. MS DRM is NOT the issue here folks.
These books are within the PUBLIC DOMAIN from a PUBLIC
LIBRARY. The Internet was supposed to be Public information
super highway, NOT a Toll Gate to Mr. Gates Monopoly. The
Internet was funded by the US Governement first as a private
Information Network, NOW as a Private & Public Network.... I.E. a
"digital democracy". Monopolist HATE democracies & free

FOLLOW THE MONEY.... THIS is why the New York Library
Association is "preferring" Microsoft vs, the NON-MS.

From Microsoft web site:

Microsoft Announces Major Philanthropic Initiative: National
Program To Bring Libraries Online! to 41 Communities
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announce
initiative at Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn, NY, October 9, 1996  Microsoft today announced the
launch of "Libraries Online!," a $10.5 million philanthropic
initiative to help library systems in economically disadvantaged
communities nationwide provide public access to the Internet
and multimedia personal computers.
Based on the success of its pilot program begun last year with
the American Library Association (ALA), Microsoft is contributing
financial and technical assistance and software to a total of 41
library systems in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the number of
communities served to 215.
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates, New York City Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden,
and Brooklyn Public Library Executive Director Mart[eel1]n Gmez
also announced that a public/private initiative will enable
Brooklyn to enter the 21st Century with all 60 library branches
connected to each other and to the Internet. The Mayor, New
York City Council and the Brooklyn Borough President will
contribute a total of nearly $5.5 million to maximize Microsoft's
contribution of $2.2 million in cash, software and technical
assistance to Brooklyn, the nation's fifth largest library system.
"Through Libraries Online!, we have seen children, parents,
teachers, entrepreneurs and entire communities gain access to a
world of technology and information that simply was unavailable
to them before," Gates said. "Today's national launch builds on
our vision of information at your fingers by empowering people
with access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. Libraries will
play a pivotal role as we enter the 21st Century in providing
access to knowledge and opportunities for everyone."
"New York City is leading the way into the Information Age and
programs such as Microsoft's Libraries Online! help to ensure
that everyone has access to one of our era's most powerful tools,
the Internet," said Mayor Giuliani. "We are grateful for Microsoft's
support in both Brooklyn and Queens, and applaud the example
both of these communities have set."
Library systems receiving grants this year from Microsoft
include: Queens Borough Public Library (New York), Elizabeth
Public Library (Elizabeth, NJ), Boston Public Library, Miami-Dade
County Public Library, Chicago Public Library, San Francisco
Public Library, Kansas City Public Library (Kansas City, MO), St.
Louis Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Minneapolis
Public Library, San Antonio Public Library, Connecticut State
Library, Oakland Public Library, Phoenix Public Library, St. Paul
Public Library (St. Paul, MN), Hartford Public Library, Macon
County Public Library (Tuskegee, AL), King County Library
System (Bellevue, WA), Central Arkansas Library System (Little
Rock, AR), Wicomico County Public Library (Eastern Maryland),
Nebraska Library Commission, Cherokee Tribal Library
(Tahlequah, OK), Multnomah County Library (Portland, OR), York
County Library System of Pennsylvania, Richland County Public
Library (Columbia, SC), Memphis-Shelby County Public Library
(Memphis, TN), Utah State Library, Nisqually Tribal Library
(Olympia, WA), Timberland Regional Library (Southwestern
Washington state). Canadian sites include: Toronto, Ottawa and
Microsoft is also building on its initial $4.4 million pilot project
by providing additional funding to the nine original participating
library systems to expand their programs. These nine systems
include: Brooklyn Public Library, Baltimore County Public Library,
Charlotte-Mecklenberg County Public Library, Los Angeles Public
Library, Mississippi Library Commission, Pend Oreille County
Public Library (Eastern Washington state), Seattle Public Library,
South Dakota State Library and the Tucson-Pima County Library.
ALA will continue to administer the program.
Libraries Online! enables library visitors to access information
provided by the host library through an intranet, as well as the
world of information available on the Internet through the World
Wide Web. Additionally, patrons of the library can use
multimedia PCs for word processing, spread sheets, presentation
and graphic design, CD-ROM titles and other software.
Participating libraries offer training and special programs that
engage and educate users.
Success of pilot program leads to roll-out of nationwide
Begun as a pilot project in October 1995, Libraries Online! was
started with financial grants and software from Microsoft to
libraries in nine economically disadvantaged rural and urban
communities. During the pilot project, the ALA conducted an
evaluation and found that Libraries Online! technology is being
used at maximum capacity and positively impacting the lives of
library patrons. Users include recent immigrants seeking job
opportunities, displaced workers, small business owners,
students and families.
"Microsoft recognized early on the value of the public library in
America and worked with ALA to demonstrate thoughtful
leadership in addressing the issue of access to the Internet," said
Elizabeth Martinez, Executive Director of ALA. "We are delighted
with the success of our Libraries Online! pilot program. The
immediate goal for ALA is to refine the program models and
provide information and training to all people, regardless of
their age, background or ability to pay. Today, access to
electronic information is not a luxury -- it's a necessity."
Brooklyn goes on-line
"Libraries Online! is providing Brooklynites with the opportunity
to connect to the information superhighway," said Golden. "We
are honored that Microsoft chose Brooklyn as the site to
announce the launch of Libraries Online! Working together, we
will bring Brooklyn into the 21st Century with a library system
that is one of the most technologically advanced in the country."
"We're grateful to both Microsoft and the American Library
Association for creating a relationship that will bring the Internet
to the people of Brooklyn," added Martn Gmez, executive
director of the Brooklyn public library. "We are proud that the
Brooklyn Public Library is a major participant in this important
new initiative. This gift will give us the jump start we need to
become a major player in ensuring public access to the
information superhighway."
Technical support and training for Libraries Online! will be
provided by the Technology Resource Institute for Public
Libraries (TRIPL) of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), an
association of large public libraries and corporations with the
common mission of helping libraries best serve the public
through problem solving, understanding new opportunities and
conducting applied research.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest
library association in the world. Its mission is to advocate the
public's right to a free and open information society and the
highest quality library and information services. The
association's 58,000 members are primarily librarians but also
trustees, publishers and other library supports.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Follow a little more cautiously
The New York Library Association (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nyla.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.nyla.org/</a>) is a
state-wide association that promotes libraries in New York State.
The New York Public Library is a system of libraries within
Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. Neither of these are
mentioned in the press release that was posted above.

The burroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, which are discussed in
this announcement but not in the article on audiobooks, each
have their own public library system, and these operate
independently of the NYPL.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
Some context
Please realize that Reuters has really stretched to put some
controversy into this headline. It actually appears that NYPL has
started to deliver audio books digitally in partnership with
Overdrive Inc, a company that provides content delivery and
management service to libraries. Overdrive uses a standalone
Windows application to "check out" digital content, a system that
is probably in place to avoid liability for copyright infringement.
That system runs only on Windows and uses WMV as its
playback format.

It is not the case, as the headline would suggest, that NYPL has
posted managed WMV files en masse to the open web to taunt
iPod users.

As a side effect of this iPods cannot play these files, but this
headline portrays this as the intent of NYPL which is almost
certainly false. More likely, NYPL determined that an audiobook
download service was needed, and the best choice given a
number of constraints was presumably the Overdrive
partnership. NYPL ought to be applauded for trying to bring
better services to their users, and the publishing industry
castigated for making that so difficult and Overdrive for
excluding Mac users.

If you look at NYPL's own digital collections (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://" target="_newWindow">http://</a>
www.nypl.org/digital/) you'll see that they do not use the
Overdrive system or any one media format.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Real Harmony
I am assuming you can translate M$ DRM to Apple FairPlay using RealNetwork's Harmony technology (if it works with the latest iPod firmware). So what's the whining about?

If RealPlayer for Mac includes Harmony, you shouldn't need a PC to convert/listen to those audio books. You could do it all on your Mac!
Posted by (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are very naive if you think that just because MS "donated" millions of dollars to SOME of the NY Librarys via Gulliani, that ALL of the NY Library Association would not favor MS in the future for doing so... COME ON!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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