Digital Rights Management - the New Copyright

Abstract: DRM – DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT is a wide term that covers many forms of technological schemes for controlling access, use and distribution of creative works – from the blunt and static restrictions on copy-protected Compact Discs to the sophisticated and fluid usage-rules in online music- and movie-stores such as iTunes. DRM technologies have been created and designed in response to a social development where global, digital networks are putting serious pressure on traditional distribution channels. From the early days of peer-to-peer networks to the current diversity of online communities centered on digital file sharing, the landscape has transformed rapidly. This transformation started with the advent of the personal computer and in the wake of its popularization has come drastically altered consumer expectations and consumption patterns in media, culture and entertainment. Technologies or stratagems to counter or circumvent DRM have been developed. These have been met at an international level by anti-circumvention rules. In particular this book examines and deconstructs the European anti-circumvention principles and their effects on the development of DRM. Using a critical, constructivist and functionalist approach to law, this book analyzes DRM as legal phenomena in the middle of this transforming landscape. Hence DRM is examined from a range of perspectives as a tool of normative communication and regulation as well as ideological systematization of rights and positions of control. While some forms of DRM have little more objective than to halt or slow the transformation of media businesses, in other forms it is used in serious attempts to eke out new niches and control positions that resonate within a new digital landscape. In the end, this book essays to place DRM in the evolutionary development of Copyright and weighs its potential merits and flaws in crafting a new copyright – a potential that has yet to be realized.

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