This chapter introduces and discusses much needed alternatives to the traditional either/or debate on total security of secure multimedia distribution. Most DRM-based approaches rely on considering the user as untrustworthy and consequently a weak link. We argue there may be alternative ways, providing increased flexibility to users in terms of fair use and copyright balance while still maintaining a much needed level of governed usage of content. While introducing exception management in DRM environments might seam counterintuitive at first sight, we provide elements supporting the idea in the form of a model which is discussed. In doing so, we argue for the need to rethink DRM in ways that will enable both a seamless compelling user experience and the rights holder to address the issue of managed copying of content.
Background And General Problem Description
Starting with one of the most important problems in the field of secure multimedia distribution is probably the position and the role of the user which has largely been eluded altogether from the beginning. While such a statement might seem slightly controversial at first sight, it is supported by numerous examples mostly driven by the Majors in the music and movie industries who have at all times tried to lobby to protect their industry from the potential threats of new technologies starting with the VCR (Betamax, 1984) up to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA, 2008) and similar laws around the world.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Space Shifting: Concept allowing to shift digital content among different format and devices. Commonly agreed to fall under lawful use under personal copy or home copy rights.
Enforcement Point: Trusted piece of software residing on a user platform in charge of interpreting the rules associated to DRM enabled content.
Time Shi fting: Concept allowing to shift in time the rendering of digital content such as using VCRs for example. Commonly agreed to fall under lawful use under personal copy or home copy rights.
Technical Protection Measures (TPM): Refers to all the techniques used to protect digital content such as DRM, watermarking, fingerprinting, access control, etc.
Exception Management: In the context of DRM environments, model enabling users to claim legitimate and lawful usage situations by requesting unilaterally an exception based on the production of some form of credential.
Fair Use: Doctrine allowing limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as academic use, review, etc.
Digital Rights Management (DRM): A technical protection measure used to persistently protect digital content by cryptographically associating usage rules to the digital content. Content rendering is bound to successful interpretation of the associated rules by an enforcement point, usually a trusted piece of software.
Superdistribution: Distribution model based on the fact that digital content being persistently protected for example with DRM, it can be freely exchanged based on the fact that access is bound to successful interpretation of the cryptographically associated rules.
Copyright Balance: Principle stating that since lawful use, including fair use, of copyrighted works is in the public interest, no DRM system should prevent it (Felten, 2005).