DRM: Digital rights management or digital restrictions management?



Digital rights management (DRM) constitutes the technological measures by which information providers control user access to electronic products to prevent the downloading or printing of online content in amounts that could substitute for product subscriptions or purchases. DRM limitations on the types of uses and their frequency are encoded directly in the products or the hardware needed to use them. This challenges the fair use provisions of copyright law, which offer room for interpretation on whether particular uses compromise the commercial value of copyrighted content. Since DRM measures are part of licensing agreements between vendors and users, they override fair use. This session will provide the rationale for DRM, explain the conflicts between copyright holder and user rights arising from DRM implementation, discuss legislative issues, and suggest alternatives to DRM that might satisfy both parties.

Survey of Use Restrictions in U.S. Cultural Heritage Institutions' Controlled Online Collections (Eschenfelder)

Eschenfelder will describe preliminary results of an IMLS funded study of how and why museums, archives and libraries control how patrons access or use “controlled online collections.” Eschenfelder defines a controlled online collection as a network accessible collection of digital materials where access to, or use of, the digitized materials is controlled in some manner. Survey results will describe: tools employed by cultural institutions to control access to or use of collections, motivators for creating controlled online collections, discouragers to creating controlled online collections, content contained in controlled online collections, and policies created for controlled online collections. The results will report on the types of use restricting tools employed by libraries, museums and archives - distinguishing between “soft” restrictions that merely discourage use (e.g., metadata copyright warnings, popups, watermarks, only providing low resolution versions) and “hard” restrictions that strictly control access or uses (e.g., encryption based viewer systems).

Kristin Eschenfelder is Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As social informatics digital intellectual property (IP) researcher, she studies networks of laws, customs, technologies and expectations that shape what information can be accessed and how it can be used. Eschenfelder's teaching interests include the changing nature of libraries as technology creates new information policy issues related to digital resources. Library Journal 2005 “Mover and Shaker” for her research into the social impacts of information technologies, Eschenfelder received, among other awards, the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Research Grant for a research project to investigate the impact of TPM on the development and use of digital content by libraries in the United States, and the 2005 Carol Preston Baber research grant for her research into DRM and academic libraries.

Mitigating the Effects of the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rules (Smith)

The legal protection afforded to technological protection measures by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a rare example of legislative endorsement of “self-help” on the part of copyright owners, who can now use DRM systems to protect their material even more strictly than is permitted by the copyright statute itself. These “anti-circumvention” provisions are putatively required by international intellectual property treaties to which the US is party, but the virtually unlimited scope given for “digital locks” is both unprecedented and well beyond the requirements of any treaty. This presentation will discuss the consequences of legal protection for DRM systems as well as ways in which the negative impact of that protection can be reduced. At least three possible paths have been proposed to mitigate the effects of the DMCA anti-circumvention rules - the Library of Congress' rulemaking authority, a bill called the “FAIR USE Act” that was introduced in Congress last year, and a major law review article that proposed a judicially created “reverse notice and take procedure” for DRM protections. Smith will discuss each of these proposals, as well as any others that arise in the interim, in terms of what they can accomplish to facilitate teaching, learning and creativity, as well as their feasibility as public policy.

Kevin Smith is the Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University and is available as a resource to the University faculty, staff, administration and students for advice on a wide variety of copyright, publishing and licensing issues. Kevin began his academic career with graduate studies in theology at Yale University and the University of Chicago, and then moved into library work. His strong interest in copyright law began in library school and persisted throughout his work in both theological and liberal arts college libraries. He received a law degree while serving as the director of the library at Defiance College in Ohio and moved to Duke shortly thereafter. Kevin serves on the faculty of ARL's Institute on Scholarly Communications and on ALA's Committee on Legislation Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. He maintains a highly-regarded web log on scholarly communications (http://library.duke.edu/blogs/scholcomm/) that discusses copyright and publication in academia; he is a frequent speaker on those topics.

DRM Trends and Challenges: the Copyright Clearance Center Perspective (Burger)

From the early days of the Internet, some copyright holders have opted to adopt DRM as a model for controlling access to their content and services. How is that model faring? Burger will discuss why copyright holders have decided to adopt DRM as a model for controlling access to their products and how that model is evolving. He will discuss the challenges DRM poses for all stakeholders - publishers, vendors, libraries, users - and the Copyright Clearance Center. The speaker will shed light on how vendors using DRM perceive the opposition to this technology by users and libraries and offer insight into alternative models to DRM that can satisfy both vendors and users and be widely implemented.

Bill Burger is vice president of marketing at the Copyright Clearance Center, the world's leading provider of content licensing solutions for corporations and academic institutions. Burger joined the senior management team at CCC in 2005 and leads the company's product marketing and marketing communications groups. Burger's first career was journalism. He spent 14 years as an editor, writer and foreign correspondent at Newsweek. As the magazine's European economics editor in the early '90s, he became interested in the convergence of information and technology and the emergence of new economic models and distribution channels for content. Following that interest, in 1995 he began his second career, in the information industry, first at AT&T and then as vice president of content and media services at Infonautics, the pioneering company that introduced the eLibrary research service into the K-12 and consumer markets. Over the years Bill has helped several companies launch new services for the consumer and business markets, including Rogers Medical Intelligence Solutions, where he served as Senior Vice President of New Ventures from 2002 to 2004, and iCopyright, where he was Vice President of Content Services from 2000 to 2001. Bill holds a BA in Political Science from Stanford University and has served on the board of directors of the Stanford Alumni Association.

Envisioning an Alternative to DRM: the Work of the Free Software Foundation (Gay)

Gay will give an overview of the various ways in which DRM technologies are implemented to control access to content and provide examples of popular products using DRM and legislation supporting DRM. He will argue how DRM is inherently flawed as a technological solution and excessively restrictive and invasive to users. Gay will present the work of the Free Software Foundation and its campaigns to counter the proliferation of DRM, such as the Defective By Design and BadVista.org campaigns. He will also discuss FSF initiatives, such as the non-proprietary Ogg media formats and the GNU General Public Licenses (GPLv3 and AGPLv3) for free software, as well as other FSF/GNU high-priority free software projects. Gay will explain how the FSF helps users license its products and then enforces the licenses. Finally, the speaker will envision DRM alternatives advantageous to copyright owners and users.

Joshua Gay is Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation. He previously edited the book Free Software, Free Society http://www.gnu.org/doc/book13.html. He is active in and familiar with a number of free software and free culture communities.