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.

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