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Digital Rights Management

Automated Assessment of the Validity of Content Take-Down Notices?

The next WebSci 2016 paper session starts with a presentation by Pei Zhang, which introduces what she calls the Content-Linking-Context model, or CLC. The context for this is legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the European e-Commerce Directive, as well as various national legislation in the EU.

Dealing with Digital Content in a Convergent Environment

We've now moved to a plenary session on converging media policy. Now that media convergence is finally starting to happen, there may be a number of crucial effects of this development, and there need to be new policy approaches to address them. The first speaker is Edgar Berger, the CEO of Sony BMG Germany. He begins by discussing the impact of digital technologies on the music industry. To begin with, business is now no longer done only with specialised retailers - music is also being licenced to telcos, games developers, online content providers, and many other partners. The music video market is also changing: videos are now being downloaded for a fee by users rather than being distributed for free to music television stations. For the consumer, the experience of music has also changed thoroughly - it is now available anywhere, anytime through the Internet and mobile devices in a wide variety of forms including ringtones, mobile video, and other new digital formats. There is special growth in the mobile world, and in what's called dual delivery - consumers buying a song once for access on mobiles and PC-based media. Digital media also changes the creative process: consumers discover musical acts on the Internet and it is only after this discovery that contracts are signed with music industry players. The question of 'piracy' is also raised here, and Berger restates very clearly Sony BMG's commitment to pursuing 'piracy', while balancing this with consumer rights (but remains vague on how he intends to do this). Is digitisation a risk or an opportunity for the music industry, then? There is a dual strategy here - of combatting copyright infringement while embracing the opportunities of digital media at the same time.

Yet More DGM, and Less DRM

Following up on my "More DGM, Less DRM" post a little while ago: in his diary, Robert Fripp has now responded to some of the reports about the launch of DGMLive, and clarified some of the usage restrictions for downloaded music which apply for DGMLive downloads. "Act rightly" is the governing phrase - an idea which is positively alien to the mainstream music industry, of course.

More DGM, Less DRM

I've been meaning to flag the fact that DGMLive has gone online. The site is the new online arm of Discipline Global Mobile, the record label founded by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, and offers a growing number of Fripp and Crimson concerts and other goodies for purchase and download. This interests me as a fan, but also for other reasons: music purchased through DGMLive is available in MP3 and FLAC (lossless audio) formats, and is downloaded through the peer-to-peer filesharing software BitTorrent.

Neither of these facts sits well with standard music industry wisdom (now there's an oxymoron for you) that 1. the customer is the enemy, and cannot be trusted, 2. p2p filesharing tools of any kind are evil, and must be destroyed, and 3. because of 1. and 2., there is a need for new music formats which include strong digital rights management (DRM) measures to prevent unauthorised duplication, filesharing, or other supposedly illegal activities. At the same time, having been cheated by industry players at various times during his 40-odd-year career, Fripp can hardly be described as a friend of the music industry - which he has described repeatedly as being 'fulled by greed' -, so perhaps it's not so surprising that he would take a different approach to online distribution.

Homework, Hitchhikers, Homework

Spending yesterday and today at home, working. This week and the next are strangely teaching-free weeks for me as the two Monday public holidays mean that my Creative Industries unit doesn't run again until Monday week. So, instead I'm getting some other important work done. Yesterday I made further inroads into two papers - the one co-authored with Sal Humphreys about our wiki efforts in KCB336 New Media Technologies (which will go out to the International Wiki Symposium organisers later today), and one with Danny Butt on digital rights management in the music industry, for a special issue of Media and Arts Law Review (which Sal also has a hand in).

Digital Rights Languages

The second speaker is Renato Ianella, from the Open Digital Rights Language Iniative. This project focusses on one of the three components of Creative Commons licences (human-, lawyer-, machine-readable): the machine-readable representation of licences. This is linked to digital rights management issues: on a technical level, DRM covers rights information management (RIM: rights holders, royalties, licence management) and technical protection measures (TPM: security, encryption, trust). RIM metadata is usually captured in an XML-based "Rights Expression Language" (REL).

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