Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management

Margherita Pagani (I-Lab Research Center on Digital Economy, Bocconi University, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-93177-738-4.ch008


Digital Rights Management poses one of the greatest challenges for multimedia content providers and interactive media companies in the digital age in order to be able to monetorize their interactive products and services catalogs. In a digital environment, digital contents (video, audio) can be distributed across different media (TV, radio, Internet). Organizations need to take into account some legal issues: • control of copyright and rights management; • regulation of content; • regulation of access; • customer data and consumer protection. There are many problems about conflict between the territorial allocation of broadcast rights and the physical coverage of the signal. As illustrated in the previous chapters, satellite transmission has a much greater potential problem with audiovisual piracy than either terrestrial or cable due to the wide footprint of satellite broadcasts. In respect to out-of-area reception, cable networks offer the most controlled signal distribution since they comprise a closed environment. For terrestrial broadcasting the most typical issue is “overspill,” when the same signals can be received in an adjoining territory. In highly cabled territories, the custom has developed of redistributing the overspill signal as widely as possible.1 In these cases collecting societies will administer the copyright payments. The Net poses challenges both for owners, creators, sellers, and for users of Intellectual Property, as it allows for essentially cost-less copying of content. Digital files can be easily copied and transmitted, and today we already see serious breaches of copyright law. In an analog workflow DRM focused on security and encryption as a means of solving the issue of unauthorized copying, that is, lock the content and limit its distribution to only those who pay. This was the first generation of DRM, and it represented a substantial narrowing of the real and broader capabilities of DRM. The second-generation of DRM covers the description, identification, trading, protection, monitoring, and tracking of all forms of rights uses over both tangible and intangible assets, including management of rights holders’ relationships2 (Iannella, 2002). It is important to note that DRM technologies enable secure management of digital processes and information. Digital Rights Management refers to the management of all rights, not only the rights applicable to permissions over digital content. After giving a definition of Intellectual Property and Digital Rights Management, this chapter discusses the functional architecture domains which cover the high-level modules or components of the DRM system that together provide an end-to-end management of rights. Then the chapter provides a description of the typical Digital Rights Management value chain in terms of activities and players involved along the different phases examined. The purpose of the chapter is to try to understand the impact of the adoption of Digital Rights Management on the Value Chain and to try to analyse the processes in the context of the business model. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the main benefits generated by the integration of Digital Rights Management and proposes the most interesting directions for future research.

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