LockLizard's Secure USB solves digital library e-book lending problem
LockLizard has released a secure USB product for e-books that enables libraries to issue DRM protected ebooks on the same basis as physical books but with additional flexibility, convenience, and lower cost.
Libraries and lending institutions have faced an uphill struggle with the copyright collecting societies (CCS) to determine the best tariff when making collections available in digital form. Traditional physical book controls have been eroded because unlimited digital copies could be made and 'lent' with almost no control at all. This is not an attractive business model for libraries, where digital costs could rapidly exceed previous paper costs, or for CCS because they cannot align charges to actual use without more detailed information.
LockLizard have developed the Secure USB device (http://www.locklizard.com/pdf_security_usb.htm) as a means of controlling distribution by returning the control of distribution/lending to the library. Using a secure USB device allows a library to issue USB sticks that have a whole collection loaded, and then allow individual users limited access to specific e-books in line with their lending policies. The secure USB device then enforces those policies. Flexibility still exists. Lending dates may be varied or extended. New editions may be copied to the secure USB device and access permitted dynamically. Actual lending use can be gathered and reported to the relevant collecting society - and a more pragmatic fee negotiated based upon real measurement(s). Amazingly, all parties get to win.
Secure USB sticks can be lent out just like a physical book, yet cannot be copied. Safeguard PDF Security controls whether the ebook can be printed, stops screenshots, and prevents copying of the ebook content and duplication of the USB stick files in an unprotected form. Ebooks can be set to automatically expire (say after a 30 day viewing period) so that users don't have to return them to the library, and additional ebooks can be added online.
Trevor Mathews, LockLizard's Chairman, commented "Lockizard's secure USB product requires no installation, is completely portable, and does not require an Internet connection. Possession of the USB stick is the grant of rights, so the USB stick may be lent just like an ordinary book (but cannot be copied). Here is a solution that actually benefits publishers, libraries, and users alike."