16 June 2010

OverDrive: The Three Steps to Solve Almost Any DRM Problem

The support questions we receive for Listen Up! Vermont, powered by OverDrive, almost always fall into the category of problems related to Digital Rights Management, or DRM. You can help your patrons be successful in resolving their issue by suggesting they try these three steps first:

  1. Talk to your patron. Are they trying to download a format that works on their computer? A format that will work on their player? WMA and mp3 formatted titles will work on an iPod if transferred through a PC. Mac users can only access mp3 formatted titles. Users with iPod Touches and iPhones and Andriod phones using the OverDrive Media Console app need to first find an item to download in the browser on their phone, and the item must be in mp3 format (it will download directly to the device when using the app, light years easier than downloading to your computer and transferring).

  2. Open up the OverDrive Media Console and click on the Tools menu. Choose "Windows Media Player Security Upgrade." This will automatically open Windows Media Player and update the DRM permissions; more often than not, this will solve the issue. Sometimes, the upgrade needs to be initiated manually; go to (in Internet Explorer only): http://drmlicense.one.microsoft.com/Indivsite

  3. Still not working? We all know Windows can be a little cranky. OverDrive then recommends resetting the DRM folder:

    1. Open the 'Control Panel'.
    2. Open 'Folder Options' and select the 'View' tab.
    3. Select 'Show hidden files and folders'.
    4. Uncheck 'Hide protected operating system files'.
    5. In the warning message you receive, click 'Yes'.
    6. Click 'OK'.
    7. Close the Control Panel
    8. Rename the DRM folder to DRM.old.
    (You can find the folder most often under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\ DRM)
    9. Close this window and open OverDrive Media Console.
    10. Go to “Tools > Windows Media Player Security Upgrade” (as above).
As in the past, if you have tried these steps and looked through the "troubleshooting" posts on the Listen Up! blog, send the GMLC an email at vtaudiobooks[at]gmail.com for further tech support.

The downloadable media process is full of places where things can go wrong, because there are so many steps. It may help to understand that DRM is a requirement of the publisher; the format an item is released in is also determined by the publisher. The industry as a whole needs to decide to move to a unified format, as most eBook publishers have done by choosing EPUB.

Right now, in this relatively new circulating format, the model we have is the best we've got, where OverDrive is attempting to please both the wishes of publishers (to prevent piracy) and librarians (to be able to make available and circulate materials without draining the budget). Our patrons, the majority of which are not as tech savvy as their librarian, unfortunately are stuck in the middle.

As with anything in technology, don't forget the old standby of turning off the machine, counting to ten, and turning it back on. A reboot can do wonders. Don't forget to take advantage of the training sessions when they are offered.

And, as with anything in customer service, empathizing with your patron, apologizing ("I am sorry you had such as frustrating experience."), and offering to help walk them through the process does wonders.

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