As of last week the Ypsilanti District Library began offering a downloadable audiobook service. They are offering a service that is provided by a company called netlibrary.com. As I wrote in this post if you have an ipod or an Apple computer or one that runs on Linux, don’t bother signing up because the service provides books that are encoded Microsoft windows media audio DRM. You can only listen to the books on a computer with windows 2000 or XP and a recent version of windows media player. If you have an audio player that supports microsofts “plays for sure” drm you can transfer the book to that device too. Of course most of the inexpensive players don’t support plays for sure so you are out of luck just like the 35 million ipod owners out there. You can’t burn the books to cd either. All in all when you combine all the restrictions with the decidely limited selection that netlibrary offers, the whole deal seems like a waste of our tax dollars. Of course no one has yet come up with a copy protection scheme that actually prevents copying digital media. Any media that can be copied can be converted to another unprotected format, usually with any of several free software tools. Of course any further discussion of this would probably be a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and I certainly wouldn’t want to distract the FBI from hunting terrorists by having to come after me.