Digital Rights Management

The focus on Digital Rights Management has become an obsession for some, particularly those pre-occupied with determining ‘ownership’ of material in the digital realm.

I received a link this morning from Denise Nicholson in South Africa to a paper titled Digital Rights Management : A failure in the developed world, a danger in the developing world(PDF file) that summarises the key issues and concerns in an easily understood manner.

This paper discusses the special risks to the developing world posed by DRM through restrictions on liberty, distance education, development efforts, criticism, and the creation and dissemination of culture.

While focusing on the issues as they relate to developing countries, the paper provides an excellent summary of the issues and themes that need to be addressed in the area of DRM, and would be a useful read for anyone not familiar with these.

A concluding quote from the paper should have us all taking a hard look at what we are doing in this area:

    Policy-makers around the world have to juggle many priorities: industry, public interest, cultural preservation, education, and so forth. DRM has been positioned by its adherents as a system for accomplishing many of these goals with little cost. In fact, the reverse it true: DRM exacts a terrible cost to the public, to performers and authors, to educators and cultural institution, and it delivers nothing in return. DRM is a system for delivering less freedom to performers and authors and the public while charging more. It is all cost, no dividend.

Leave a Reply