Digital Rights Management for E-Commerce Systems

Digital Rights Management for E-Commerce Systems

Lambros Drossos (Technological Educational Institute of Messologhi, Greece), Dimitrios Tsolis (University of Patras, Greece), Spyros Sioutas (University of Patras, Greece) and Theodore Papatheodorou (University of Patras, Greece)
Indexed In: SCOPUS
Release Date: October, 2008|Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 404
ISBN13: 9781605661186|ISBN10: 160566118X|EISBN13: 9781605661193|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-118-6


With the proliferation of Internet access, e-commerce systems are increasingly important as a new and effective method to distribute, transact, and exploit digital multimedia content. With the growth of multimedia content, management and protection become a critical issue, creating a need for digital rights management systems.

Digital Rights Management for E-Commerce Systems highlights innovative technologies used for the design and implementation of advanced e-commerce systems facilitating digital rights management and protection. Through comprehensive coverage of the full range of technological, legal, and social issues related to digital rights management, this authoritative scholarly work provides researchers, practitioners, and students with a complete understanding of the most critical concerns of today's digital content industry.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Copyright Protection
  • Digital fingerprinting
  • Digital Rights Management
  • E-commerce systems
  • Educational content distribution
  • Image watemarking
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Multimedia content distribution
  • Online rights clearance
  • Organizational DRM

Reviews and Testimonials

This book concentrates on new innovative technologies used for the design and implementation of advanced e-commerce systems, which facilitate digital rights management and protection for the transacted content.

– Lambros Drossos, Technological Educational Institute of Messologhi, Greece

Twenty-five chapters presenting the state of the art technologies for digtial rights management systems which are designed, implemented, and applied through e-commerce systems, and discussing recommendations, key points, disputes, and limitations of these technological solutions.

– Book News Inc. (February 2009)

…highlight innovative technologies used for the design and implementation of advanced e-commerce systems facilitating digital rights management and protection.

– APADE (2008)

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Borrowing a book from a library is now a typical, simple and costless procedure. A whole universe of knowledge is available to anybody, which establishes a basis for lifetime education for all of society. The act of borrowing a book seems easy, but it is based on a complicated mechanism involving laws, publication policies and many financial and technological parameters. This mechanism might be in balance and in everyday use, but this balance can be affected by the rapid digitization of the information provided (the books). The problem can be proven in a simple way: a book can be borrowed by one or two people at the same time within the same library. An electronic book can be borrowed by anyone with a telephone line, a computer and an Internet connection. From the Internet user’s point of view, this news is positive; the library owns a book which is never exclusively borrowed and is always available for countless readers. In fact, this library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. On the other hand, this news is very stressful for publishers and writers. How many copies will be sold or published while digital networks allow worldwide access to digital information? How many books, movies, pieces of music and other, copyrighted information can be created, published and sold on the Internet while, to enable worldwide access for readers, listeners and viewers, one digital copy is enough? These initial thoughts and problems should not lead to aggressive and dangerous actions, which restrict or disallow access to cultural, scientific, educational and entertainment resources. This is the worst news for the Internet user and e-inclusion to Information Society is threatened.

The aforementioned simple (as it seems) problem describes exactly the modern digital dilemma that Randall D. (2001) predicted. The World Wide Web is a powerful vehicle for publishing and distributing information and is the world’s largest infrastructure for making digital copies of this information. It is a technology with which free and efficient access to information could grow at an unbelievable pace but, at the same time, it could prove to be a force that deepens the discrimination line between those who have access to it and those who do not.

According to the House of Representatives (1998), Information Society technologies are changing the most common methods of providing access to digital content. The information available in digital form increases on a daily basis; the Internet is connecting worldwide digital content; and the World Wide Web is providing an efficient platform consisting of access services, which act as a gateway to scientific and cultural resources, music, movies and video archives. The technologies which provide access to digital content also provoke important problems concerning the protection and management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for this digital content. This happens mainly because technology supports efficient access to and enables the copying of copyrighted information. As a result, many legislative rules and laws for IPR, which refer to physical objects, are almost invalid for digital objects. The specific problem becomes even more intense as broadband Internet is applied worldwide and any Internet user has fast data transfer rates at his or her disposal. Other examples which prove the size of the problem include the free distribution of copyrighted music and movies through the Internet and the online sale of copyrighted digital art and cultural images without permission.

Digital Rights Management for e-commerce systems is a proposed solution for IPR protection and management. These systems combine a handful of technological solutions such as watermarking, data encryption, information systems, databases, and e-commerce applications so as to deal with the issue of the protection and management of copyrighted digital content.

The term Digital Rights Management (DRM) was coined by some combination of vendors, their marketers, and industry analysts in the late 1990s, as Katzenbeisser and Petitcolas (2000) mention. Thus, defining DRM has become difficult and a better question to ask is “What has DRM become?” When content (information) is created, the control of a set of rights to that content is inherited by the owner, allowing browsing, editing, printing, executing, copying, etc. Traditionally, those rights have accrued from three sources:

  • Legal: Rights that someone gets either automatically under law (such as inherent copyright) or by some legal procedure (such as applying for a patent).
  • Transactional: Rights that someone gets or gives up by buying or selling them, such as buying a book or selling a manuscript to a publisher.
  • Implicit: Rights defined by the medium that the information is in.

    The most important aspect of DRM is that the first two sources of rights have not changed much with the advent of technologies such as the Internet, cell phones and MP3 files. Various parties have called for a complete replacement of the Intellectual Property (IP) law, but this has not happened and is not going to. Legislators have responded to new technologies by creating Directives and Acts.

    Transactions have not changed that much, either, regardless of the fact that they can be performed over the Internet through E-Commerce systems. The same laws apply, the same money is used, and the same goods can be purchased. What has really changed is the implicit nature of rights when applied to traditional media. The Internet has made these implicit rights explicit. This engenders problems and opportunities for content providers as well as consumers.

    Understanding the implicit rights of traditional media types, the next example is considered. If a book is purchased, the buyer has rights to the content in the book. Some are legal (it is a breach of copyright law to make copies of the book and sell them) and other transactional (someone pays money for the right to read the book, to lend it, or to give it away). Most rights, however, derive from what is easy and what is difficult to do with the technology of a printed book.

    Digital Rights Management refers to controlling and managing rights to digital intellectual property. The need for control and management has increased now that digital network technologies have taken away the implicit control that content owners get with legacy media.

    It is the aim of this book to present the state of the art technologies for Digital Rights Management Systems, which are designed, implemented and applied through e-commerce systems and to discuss recommendations, key points, disputes and limitations of these technological solutions.

    The main objective of the book is to concentrate on new innovative technologies used for the design and implementation of advanced e-commerce systems, which facilitate digital rights management and protection for the transacted content. Specifically, the focus will be on technologies such as data encryption and watermarking (Wayner, 2002), peer to peer networks, very large databases, digital image, sound and video libraries, multimedia content based services, electronic licensing, digital certificates, rights expression languages, metadata standards, etc., which are used within the e-commerce systems. In addition, special focus will be given to implemented e-commerce systems, whose aim is to support organizations active in the sectors of entertainment, content industry, music, cinema and culture and to protect, manage, exploit and disseminate multimedia content and its intellectual property rights.

    E-commerce systems are becoming more and more important as a new and effective method to distribute, transact and exploit digital multimedia content. Interactive applications and GUIs, digital image, sound and video databases, e-payment systems, and e-licensing mechanisms are a few of the many opportunities created through the evolution of e-commerce.

    In this framework, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection and management of multimedia content is gradually becoming a critical issue, primarily because reproduction costs are much lower for both legitimate IPR holders (content owners) and those infringing intellectual property legislation. Further, digital copies are perfect replicas and computer networks have changed the economics of distribution. Networks enable the distribution of multimedia content worldwide and do so cheaply and quickly. As the US Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (1999) has described, it is easier and less expensive both for the rights holder to distribute a work and for an individual to make and distribute unauthorized copies. Finally, the World Wide Web has fundamentally altered the publication of information, allowing everyone to be a publisher with worldwide reach.

    In addition, the production and sharing of information in electronic form has been integrated into everyday life, directly affecting intellectual property legislation. Today, casual everyday activities such as downloading files and forwarding information found on the Web can, at times, violate intellectual property laws. Other activities, such as making copies of information for private use, may require difficult interpretation of fair use provisions of the law to simply justify their legality. Consequently, individuals have the capability and the opportunity to access and copy vast amounts of digital information, yet lack a clear picture of what is acceptable or legal. On the other hand, the necessary amendments of legislation in several cases does not fully address with the problem, resulting in certain legislative weaknesses.

    A fundamental problem is that institutions of the Digital Content Industry want to make information widely available for educational or commercial reasons, but the legal environment makes this difficult. Where the rights-holders are known, this can be negotiated, but the costs of clearing the rights for digital images taken by an individual for non-commercial purposes can be prohibitively expensive.

    The consequences of the aforementioned parameters are obvious and digital content is being used, copied, distributed and published without the necessary license. In many cases, commercial exploitation is also taking place without the necessary legal provisions and permissions by the copyright owners. An Internet user with an average ADSL connection at home who utilizes peer to peer networks for exchanging data has the ability to transfer more than 25Gbytes of digital content per day. This content may include music, movies, television series, documentaries, books, photographs and images of all kind. In addition, copyrighted content of the world’s cultural heritage is being distributed and sold through the Internet. More than 4.000 illegal copies of the Picasso’s “Guernica” are published on the Internet and more than 1,000 digital images of the Athens Parthenon are being sold through digital image stores without permission by the copyright owner. The music and movie industries are facing economic losses, and this directly affects the jobs of thousands of people. In addition, the phenomenon of unauthorized use of digital content on the Internet causes skepticism within Digital Content Industry organizations, who are not willing to distribute digital content through e-commerce systems, unless certain technical protection means are being applied.

    Universities, research institutes, laboratories and corporations who are active in dealing with the issue of protection and management of IPR of digital content aim mainly at providing a safe environment for content distribution and publication (Cox, Miller & Bloom, 2002). The US Government, the European Union, Canada, Japan, Russia and all the countries with a developed content industry have recognized the need for finding effective solutions for this important issue. The intensive activity is proved by the establishment of many governmental bodies and committees, which are dealing with the issue and its legal, financial and social aspects and, in parallel, by many funded research projects, which aim at developing technologies for copyright protection and management.

    These projects concentrate on new innovative technologies used for the design and implementation of advanced e-commerce systems, which facilitate digital rights management and protection for the transacted content. Specifically, the focus is on technologies such as:

  • Methodologies and techniques of content digitization
  • Geographically dispersed and interoperable databases
  • Peer to peer networks
  • Metadata for digital rights management
  • Digital image, video and audio processing
  • Telecommunications and signal processing
  • Digital watermarking of multimedia content
  • Unique identification systems for digital objects
  • Internet technologies
  • E-commerce systems
  • Electronic licensing mechanisms and applications
  • New and innovative file formats
  • Streaming applications for audio and video
  • Rights expression computer languages

    The use of the aforementioned technologies provides solutions, applications and information systems, which aim at digital rights protection and management. This book provides an in-depth analysis of all the above technological solutions and their combination and use in integrated e-commerce systems.

    Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

    Lambros Drossos graduated from the Department of Mathematics of the University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He received his PhD by the Department of Mathematics of the University of Patras in 1993. His research area is focusing on dynamic systems and analytical arithmetic methods which apply to chaotic dynamics. He is a professor at the Department of Applied Informatics in Management and Finance of the Technical Educational Institute of Messolonghi. He has published an important number of papers in international scientific journals and conferences.
    Dimitrios Tsolis is an associate professor (with contract) of the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics of the University of Patras. He is responsible for the courses “Legal and Social Aspects of New Technologies”, “Quality in Software Engineering”, “Internet Technologies” and “Introduction to Informatics”. His Ph.D. was focusing on Digital Rights Management Systems for E-commerce. He has over 30 publications in Journals, Conferences and Technical Reports about DRMS, Copyright Management and Protection, E-commerce and DRMs etc.
    Spryos Sioutas obtained his diploma and Phd degree from the department of Computer Engineering and Informatics of the University of Patras. His current research interests include Spatio-Temporal Databases, Data Structures, Algorithms and I/O Complexity, Computational Geometry, Peer-to-Peer Networks, knowledge management and advanced information systems. He has published about 60 articles in international conferences, Books, Journals and Technical Reports. Main Research Interests include spatio-temporal and multimedia databases, efficient I/O algorithms and data structures, computational geometry and computer graphics, P2P computing, information systems and Web services, and educational software.
    Theodore Papatheodorou has held several academic and consulting positions in Greece and the United States. Since 1984 he has been a Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics of the University of Patras, the first Computer Science/Engineering Department in Greece. He developed the HPCLab of the University of Patras, which now employs about fifty faculty members, graduate researchers and computer engineers. Currently he is the Director of this laboratory. He also initiated the establishment of the Computer Technology Institute (CTI). As the first Director of CTI (1985-1990) he led the Institute’s development and R&D work. Prof. Papatheodorou has received wide recognition for his work and several international awards. Most recent distinctions include the Best Paper Award in Supercomputing, Dallas, Texas, November 2000, the first prize in the Moebius Competition (Hellenic Section) for the CD-ROM on the life of Melina Merkouri, and the selection of this CD-ROM in the top 4 in Europe (Europrix Competition – Cultural Section). He has authored numerous publications in several areas of Computer Engineering and Computer Science.