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Digital Rights Management – Speed Bumps to keep People Honest

Date & Time:
17:00:00 - 18:30:00,
Tuesday 11 March, 2003


Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools are technical measures such as software code or functions within computers and other consumer electronic devices, which prevent or limit the making of copies of copyrighted works beyond those the rightholder is prepared to allow. They form one dimension of the current controversy surrounding intellectual property rights on the Internet.

Rightholders claim that, while they accept a consumer’s right to make copies of works they have purchased for limited private use purposes, they must find ways of preventing such copying extending beyond private use in the direction of mass copying for commercial purposes. To this end they wish to see equipment manufacturers incorporate approved DRM technology in their products, and they want copyright laws which make it unlawful to circumvent such technologies, or provide equipment by which circumvention can be carried out.

Manufacturers do not want to be told what technologies they must incorporate into their products, nor, if their products permit the making of legitimate copies of digital works, do they wish to see laws which might criminalise them because the same machines can be put to an unlawful purpose. Consumers have another set of objections to DRM’s which centre on their claims, that having purchased a legitimate copy of a work, they are entitled to make non-commercial uses of it in any way they chose without the rightholders dictating what the acceptable uses are.

This seminar will review the current state of the arguments in Europe and the United States over DRMs, and propose areas where further research might assist in their resolution.

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  • Peter Davies
  • Name: Peter Davies
  • Affiliation: Visiting Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
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