Legal Issues for DRM: The Future

Legal Issues for DRM: The Future

Vagelis Papakonstantinou (University of Patras, Greece & PKpartners Law Firm, Greece)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-118-6.ch015
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DRM systems have been implemented in the past few years by the Content Industry as the panacea against all copyright (and Intellectual Property Rights in general) infringements over the Internet. The validity of this statement shall be assessed in this analysis, identifying its strengths and record to-date and highlighting its shortcomings in an increasingly complex e-commerce (Web 2.0) environment. While doing this, particular attention shall be given to (mostly EU) Intellectual Property Law, Consumer Law, Data Protection Law, and Competition Law.
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The (Legal) Background

Before embarking upon the legal analysis of contemporary DRM e-commerce systems, as elaborated in other chapters of this book, a short presentation of the background that led to their development is deemed essential. DRM systems, as it will immediately be seen, have been the Content Industry’s technical, but not necessarily legal, response to a relatively recent and otherwise unprecedented volume of attacks against the copyright scheme, that could have ultimately brought its demise. Nevertheless, DRM e-commerce systems, essentially reflecting business rather than technical models, it remains to be seen whether they will indeed fare well under the legislative environment that regulates a number of their aspects.

The Digitization of Information

The digitization of information signaled the first difficulties for the copyright scheme1. Until that time the copyright system for protecting intellectual property had worked relatively successfully for around 200 years. It was first developed in the United Kingdom back in 17092, when the development of printing and the sale of legislative (and Shakespearean) texts begun evolving into an industry3. Law-makers of the time identified thus a new type of property, “intellectual” property. This had not been as evident then, as it perhaps appears to us today: for thousands of years before that time, property was divided into only two categories, fixed assets (land) and mobile assets (furniture, equipment, garments etc.). Only at that time did mankind realize that works of the intellect could be of an economic value, and therefore constituted “property” of their author (or right-holder). In this sense, the system that was then developed, and is still in use today, focused upon protection of the “work” of the intellect against unauthorized reproductions (copyright = right to copy). The author of such a protected work deserved compensation for each and every use (reproduction, copying) of his work by others.

The digitization of information challenged the practical, not theoretical, parts of this scheme. Until then reproductions (copies) of any “work” were relatively easy to control (and thus, ask for a fee): books had to be printed and sold on bookshelves, music had to be copied into vinyl and sold on record stores, paintings could only be seen at the premises of the person who owned them. All these actions of reproduction included cost (and thus could not be undertaken by anyone), and were controllable because of the relatively small distribution channels (shops) and the fragmented market (international commerce meant totally different things at the time). The digitization of information managed the first blow to this scheme: once texts and music and pictures became digital, anyone could reproduce them at minimum cost. No more were printing and binding machines or vinyl-cutting industries needed; once “works” became digital, anyone, even home users, could easily copy and store them in their computer systems for (unlimited) future use. Evidently, the 17th century scheme, whereby any act of copying would confer money to the author of the work automatically became obsolete: copying became so vast that the Content Industry could no longer control it as effectively as it did in the past. Even when new “works” emerged (for instance, movies) it was only a matter of time before digitization affected them in the same way too.

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Athanasios Skodras
Dimitrios Tsolis, Lambros Drossos, Spyros Sioutas, Theodore Papatheodorou
Chapter 1
Alfredo M. Ronchi
“Creativity is one of the highest forms of human energy. It is a defining human trait that enables us to design and use tools, while giving us the... Sample PDF
Intellectual Property Rights
Chapter 2
Ioannis Kostopoulos
This chapter highlights the need for using copyright protection tools in our digital transactions. The main tools of copyright protection, such as... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management: A New Trend or a Necessity
Chapter 3
Image Watermarking  (pages 56-70)
Nikos Tsirakis
This chapter describes image watermarking, the most common and widespread category of media files are images. The evolution of the Internet and the... Sample PDF
Image Watermarking
Chapter 4
Alessandro Piva, Roberto Caldelli, Alessia De Rosa, Mauro Barni, Vito Cappellini
The need to safeguard the property rights of multimedia content from unauthorized copying and the possibility to determine the true owners of the... Sample PDF
Watermarking Techniques for DRM Applications
Chapter 5
V. E. Fotopoulos, I. D. Kostopoulos
This chapter introduces JPEG 2000 as an application field for image authentication and the new technology of digital image watermarking. The new... Sample PDF
Watermarking and Authentication in JPEG2000
Chapter 6
Evanthia Tsilichristou
The basic principle of watermarking is the addition of the watermark signal to the host data that we wish to watermark. The addition is taking place... Sample PDF
Securing and Protecting the Copyright of Digital Video Through Watermarking Technologies
Chapter 7
Nikos Nikolaidis
Intellectual property rights protection and management of multimedia data is essential for the deployment of e-commerce systems involving... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management of Images and Videos Using Robust Replica Detection Techniques
Chapter 8
Shiguo Lian
In this chapter, the digital fingerprinting technology that is used to trace illegal distributors in multimedia content distribution is... Sample PDF
Digital Fingerprinting Based Multimedia Content Distribution
Chapter 9
Tom S. Chan
While delivering content via the Internet can be efficient and economical, content owners risk losing control of their intellectual property. Any... Sample PDF
A Digital Rights Management System for Educational Content Distribution
Chapter 10
Dimitrios P. Meidanis
This chapter investigates intellectual property rights clearance of as part of e-commerce. Rights clearance is viewed as another online transaction... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management and E-Commerce Transactions: Online Rights Clearance
Chapter 11
Dimitra Pappa, Lefteris G. Gortzis
With emerging technologies constantly creating new possibilities for organisations to manage their information resources, this chapter proposes a... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management in Organisations: A Critical Consideration with a Socio-Technical Approach
Chapter 12
Georgios Stilios, Dimitrios K. Tsolis
The issue addressed in this chapter is the design, implementation, and evaluation of a watermarking application, especially focused on the... Sample PDF
An Advanced Watermarking Application for the Copyright Protection and Management of Digital Images of Cultural Heritage Case Study: “Ulysses”
Chapter 13
Andrea de Polo
Digital Rights Management (DRM) describes a set of functionalities which control access to, and the use of, copyright material. In particular, they... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management in the Cultural Heritage Arena: A Truth or a Myth
Chapter 14
Christos Golfinopoulos
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the legal framework that applies to Digital Rights Management (DRM) information and... Sample PDF
Digital Rights Management: A European Law Perspective
Chapter 15
Vagelis Papakonstantinou
DRM systems have been implemented in the past few years by the Content Industry as the panacea against all copyright (and Intellectual Property... Sample PDF
Legal Issues for DRM: The Future
About the Contributors