February 11, 2003
Why DRM Matters to Science, Technical and Medical Publishers

This explanation of why DRM matters, what it is and how it works, from a content owner/publisher point of view is worth considering. A couple of important points in their attempt to define and understand DRM:

DRM is "Technology that describes, identifies and protects digital content". To this could be added, "protected by intellectual property rights and in accordance with rules set by rights holders or prescribed by law".

The three essential elements can then be deconstructed as:

1. Description - knowing what the content is and how it can be used;

2. Identification - of how, and by whom it can be used;

3. Protection - encryption or other measures to ensure legitimate usage.

This definition also combines two concepts that are often considered separately: the description & identification of intellectual property and the rights relating to it (Rights Management) and the technical protection (and/or enforcement) of usage rights (Management of Rights).

These seem simple. But each point brings up a subtle distinction between controlling the usage-rights implementation verses the right-to-control-the-copyright implementation, as protected by law. When we talk about DRM, it is usually in reference to one part or the other, where the speaker may refer to one side of that equation, while the listener is paying attention to the otherside of DRM. But DRM is about both, and each time there is a discussion, there needs to be overt consideration of each side of this equation, and even more complicated, the differences that exist around each of these sides of DRM.

"One of the most important things about the definition is that it recognizes that protection is a technical measure - not a contract or trust measure. From this it follows that systems that, for example, allows a user to download a chapter from a book with, on each page a statement that it cannot be copied, or a user agreement that says a paper from a journal cannot be stored electronically, are not DRM. It becomes DRM when there is a mechanism in place that physically prevents copying or storage."

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 11, 2003 04:27 PM

I agree with the author.

Posted by: postal code on July 24, 2003 06:47 AM

I agree with the author.

Posted by: whois on August 22, 2003 07:13 PM
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