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E-books at Penn: Digital Rights Management

Finding and Using Ebooks at the University of Pennsylvania

Important Software and Apps

Digital Rights Management

Books that are not in the public domain are the intellectual property of the author of the book (or to whomever has received rights from the author).  DRM technologies are used to limit the amount and type of access and control a consumer has over the book after purchasing it.  For instance distributors of information may limit the number of pages that can be downloaded at any one time, limit the ability of the consumer to share the book, or make the book 'vanish' once a loan period is completed.

Of the e-book vendors at Penn, Ebrary is the most significant user of DRM.  Many Ebrary books can be downloaded in their entirety by using Adobe Digital Editions and, for tablets, appropriate apps.  Many e-books borrowed from public libraries also use Adobe Digital Editions.

Adobe Digital Editions

The primary tool for managing DRM on your computer is Adobe Digital Editions.  To use Adobe Digital Editions on a computer:

  1. Download it to your computer or mobile device using the installer.  You will need to enter an Adobe ID and password (follow the instructions) to authorize your computer.
  2. Open the document, which you can read in Adobe Digital Editions.
  3. The book will vanish when the 'loan period' is finished.

Computer Downloads
Current Apple and Windows operating systems support Adobe Digital Editions DRM.

Mobile Device Downloads

To download DRM protected books to a tablet device such as an IPad you will need to use a combination of Adobe Digital Editions and an ereading app, such as Bluefire Reader that is equipped to manage digital rights (view a list of readers that support DRM, i.e. that are"library compatible").

  1. Download the free Bluefire Reader.
  2. When Bluefire Reader launches for the first time you will be asked to login using an Adobe ID and password to authorize your computer.
  3. Adobe managed DRM books can now be opened in Bluefire Reader.
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