Analyzing the Digital License Reselling Problem and Its Impact on E-Commerce

Analyzing the Digital License Reselling Problem and Its Impact on E-Commerce

Tarek Gaber (Suez Canal University, Egypt) and Ning Zhang (University of Manchester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3954-6.ch008
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Existing Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems allow consumers to buy digital licenses to access the corresponding contents on their devices. However, with these DRM systems, the consumers are unable to resell their licenses. Supporting digital license reselling adds additional challenges to DRM technologies and could find a new E-market. The aims of this chapter are as follows. The problem of reselling digital licenses is formally formulated. Then the state-of-the-art of the existing license reselling solutions proposed in the literature is discussed. Their strengths and limitations are analyzed. Then a framework allowing a consumer to resell his/her license to another consumer without compromising the underlying security of the DRM system is proposed. Finally, the impact of allowing license reselling on E-commerce is discussed.
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What Is Drm?

DRM refers to digital technologies, which enable legal distributions of digital contents (e.g. ringtones, songs, video clips) while enforcing usage rights specified by content owners of these contents. DRM also refers to a set of hardware and software technologies and services which (1) control the authorized use of a given digital content, (2) and manage, through associated usage rights, any consequences of this use during the entire lifetime of the content (Dutta, Mishra, & Mukhopadhyay, 2011).

A typical DRM system works as follows. On a content owner’s side, as depicted in Figure 1, (1) a digital content is symmetrically encrypted with a CEDK key, (2) a content metadata (e.g. Content ID, and License acquisition URL) is generated, (3) usage rights over the content are defined, (4) the content and its metadata are finally packaged through a packager. The packaged content is sent to a content provider, and the usage rights are delivered to a License Issuer (LI). When receiving the packaged content, the content provider prepares different methods (e.g. website catalogue, CDs) to deliver the content to a consumer. Also, upon the receipt of the usage rights, LI puts them in the form of a license1. To do so, LI makes use of a Rights Expression Language (REL) (ODRL, 2002).

Figure 1.

A typical DRM system architecture


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