Digital Rights Management: Devaluing content and criminalising consumers in the war to control end user piracy.

The following article was researched and written over the last three months of my undergraduate BA in Internet Communications through Curtin University. It was presented with a literature review that can also be found here.

My Research looked at the qualifying factors for the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the war against end user piracy.  While some publishers of digital products including Tor Books have reported no increase in end user piracy since removing all embedded DRM from their stock in the last 12 months, others such as Electronic Arts have reported no decrease of unauthorised product in the market since rolling out new anti-piracy technology.  As the arts, entertainment and cultural industries navigate their way through the current transitional period of Intellectual Property Rights Management, many consumers have expressed confusion and frustration over the legal frameworks that govern the use of digital goods, and the technologies that protect them. While the removal of embedded anti-piracy technologies can leave digital product open to end user piracy, the implementation of DRM effectively wages war on paying customers. Before any DRM can be presumed a success there must first be evidence of a return on investment and a notable decrease in piracy.  Without assessing the economics of piracy compared to the financial cost of implementing restrictive anti-piracy technologies, those that implement DRM will continue to devalue their product and force consumers to seek unrestricted alternatives.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, I would suggest a good cup of coffee, glass of wine or bottle of craft beer for the rest of the journey.

As always comments, feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated.

Continue reading Digital Rights Management: Devaluing content and criminalising consumers in the war to control end user piracy.

The current state of DRM; a literature review.

The following Literature Review is a accumulative update of the major ideas, concepts and accepted statistical data surrounding the state of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and its effectiveness for protecting the Intellectual Property (IP) online. By bringing together academic research, industry data and contrasting arguments regarding the use of DRM in the distribution of digital products, this document hopes to bring the reader up to speed with the current contributions to the DRM debate and the laws and economics that surround and inform it.

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Fair participation; why copyright laws don’t work.

Traditional applications of copyright are becoming unworkable in the contemporary media environment.

As our culture moves from a mass media environment into a participatory system of media consumption, traditional applications of copyright have become unworkable (Regner, 2010 p1). Publishers and broadcasters who once controlled the spaces their product was consumed, now face an online environment where media is increasingly utilised in spaces controlled by the audience (Bowery, 2002 ). Because of this trend, copyright law must evolve to remain relevant and ultimately protect the rights of content creators, media producers and corporate entities whose business model is based on the profitable distribution of media. This essay will argue that traditional copyright law fails to account for the economies of sharing (Lessig, 2004 p56) and the anthropological nature of human desire to use the tools available, to communicate and create, as an expression of their culture (Wikstorm, 2010 p2).

Continue reading Fair participation; why copyright laws don’t work.