Digital Rights Management (drm) (drm) Digital Rights Management

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Digital Rights Management (DRM)

(DRM) Digital Rights Management

An Annotated Bibliography

Carol DeFroscia

INFO 522: Information Access & Resources

Linda Marion,Instructor

August 29, 2010

Introduction and Scope

The following bibliography contains information regarding Digital Rights Management, also known as DRM. Eighteen articles/case studies are discussed covering areas of DRM such as: music/the entertainment industries, verification, algorithms, mobile phones, distance learning/academic society, and other various issues. The articles were published from 2002-2010, and covered various countries throughout the world such as the United States, the UK, Italy, Taiwan, and Germany. I did limit the search to a more recent time period as technology is constantly changing. However, I did not want to limit the sources only to the United States as I wanted to show the importance of DRM and the impact it has upon everyone in the world. To locate my information, I utilized various databases such as: Library Lit. and Information Science (Full Text), Library and Info. Science Abstracts (LISA), Literature and Information Science (LISTA), Web of Science, and Dialog (File 15: AB/INFORM and File 99: Wilson Applied Science and Tech Abstracts) limited to Full Text articles only.

Description of Digital Rights Management (DRM)

“The term ‘digital rights management’ (DRM) was discussed at the Conference on Technological Strategies for Protecting Intellectual Property in the Networked Multimedia Environment in January 1994 (Graham, 1994). From the copyright perspective, the definition of DRM is to protect digital content (encryption), to control specific operations on the content (play, print, copy, save), and to limit the number of times a particular operation may be exercised on the content (e.g. view three times) (Davis and Lafferty, 2002). DRM consists of purchasing procedure, policy, rights attributes, utility, and rights management. Rights are described digitally, operated by an information system and authorized for use under a reasonable scope,”(Yu,2002).

Digital Rights Management Systems are contained within operating systems, program software, or the actual hardware of a device. With the use of some form of customized encryption, it allows the distributors of the electronic content to control the viewing access. DRM’s consist of two elements: 1). The enforcement of usage restrictions, and 2). The identification of intellectual property.
With the increase of computers in households, it made it convenient for consumers to convert original works and copy them illegally. Along with the Internet and file sharing tools, this made piracy much easier to achieve. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) was an important milestone regarding digital content. However, it didn’t become highly addressed until the year 2000. In Gartner Group’s Timetable for DRM (adapted from Weintraub, 2001), it states that DRM follows a certain timetable: 2000: Education, 2001-2002: Early Adoption, 2003: Production of DRM Launches, 2004-2005: Growth and Maturity of DRM, 2006: Market Consolidation.
A recent article dated June 23, 2010, titled: U.S. to Target Music,Movie Piracy, found at, states: “ U.S. businesses alone estimate losses of billions of dollars annually due to piracy and counterfeiting of films, music, and consumer goods, and blame the illegal trade for U.S. job losses as well. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has battled to close websites in Russia, China and other countries that sell pirated American music and films.”
Obviously, this is a global problem that is not going away.
The year 2002, with the DMCA not being enough to protect digital rights, was monumental in regards to Digital Rights Management developments. That year alone the FCC enacted Digital Broadcast Copy Protection, Representative Howard Berman created H.R. 5211 P2P Anti-Piracy Bill, Microsoft announced Palladium Project that would allow DRM into software and hardware, and Sen. Hollings introduced the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA).
With all of the acts and progress DRM has made, there are still many problems that need to be solved regarding Digital Rights Management.
Literature Review
Although Digital Rights Management is quite a popular topic, “Studies devoted to DRM and Copyright Exceptions have noted, theoretically, its legal implications,” (Akester, 2009). A lot more research has been conducted on a similar topic “Fair Use” as opposed to Digital Rights Management; in terms of fair use, a digital copy is the same as a hard copy. Lastly, most studies regarding Digital Rights Management are devoted to the issues regarding it.
Most research in areas of Social Science tend to be Empirical (observational where one observes or tests real-life data: (i.e. Use of Case/Case Study) - both qualitative and quantitative and case study research is usually the most appropriate methodology to use in library studies. However, in my findings, most of the research regarding DRM has been more qualitative: subjective and data is less concrete. Two studies, Entries 8 and 17, are based on the Empirical Method. Two studies (Entries 2 and 11) used an Anthropological Method, which is also known as Participant-Observer Method. Entry 1 takes a Critical Information Studies Stance. Entry 9 takes an Efficient Methodology based in computational algorithm. Entry 10 uses a Semantic Web Otology which is also known as User-Driven Modeling, and Entry 14 is based on a Literature Review. The remainder is based on Case Studies/Use of Case Methodology.
In conducting my research, I found that most studies were conducted in aims to find a solution to a problem regarding Digital Rights Management. I also found that most of the research focused on the Music Industry with the invention of sites such as Napster and iTunes. However, Digital Rights Management affects so many categories, that I wanted to include various arenas of DRM as this is really a Global Concern. Research topics regarding Digital Rights Management in this bibliography include: Digital Rights Management & Film, Digital Rights Management & Music, Digital Rights Management & E-Books, Digital Rights Management & Documents (Enterprise Digital Rights Management), Digital Rights Management in the Academic World, Digital Rights Management & the Mobile Internet, Digital Rights Management & Archives, International Digital Rights Management, and Issues and/or Controversies/Digital Rights Management Opposition.
Anything multimedia- television, to web pages, to magazines, to movies- has become a major part of our lives. According to, multimedia is the integration of multiple forms of media. This includes text, graphics, audio, video, etc. An example would be a presentation involving audio and video. Software that includes sound, text, and animation is considered multimedia. CD’s and DVD’s are considered to be “multimedia formats”. Large volumes, real-time transmission, and peer-to-peer sharing, brings new requirements to Digital Rights Management systems. “DRM for transmission of multimedia contents is being regarded as the most severe and important issue among the wireless digital content distributors,” (Gunhee, Dongkyoo, Dongil, 2004). Even with the DMCA enacted in 1998, December 1999, was not a favorable year in regards to this matter. Over 500 people and 11 nations were sued by the DVD CCA (Content Control Association) due to misappropriation of trade secrets. Multimedia piracy is a problem for everyone and involves interdisciplinary collaboration involving consumer electronic industries, scientists and entertainment industry, and the information technology industry, to name a few.
“The role of DRM systems in the use of digital content is to enable business models where the creation, distribution, and consumption content are controlled. As such DRM permits the governance of multimedia content throughout the complete digital value chain,” (Rodriguez & Delgado, 2007). This sounds great in theory. However, the “older” DRM systems are failing and new systems are being put into effect. You can go online and access hundreds of sites dedicated to the removal of DRM systems. In a study done by Rodriguez and Delgado, 2007, computational algorithms were used to cease the encryption of current DRM systems.

. Although piracy and DRM failure and encryption are concerns in many multimedia arenas, most of the research focuses solely on the entertainment industry.

“According to the Distributed Computing Industry Association, the average number of users worldwide peer-to-peer networks has steadily increased from 4.32 million in September ’03 to 6.78 million in September ’04 to 9.28 million in September ’05, and estimated that it accounts for over one-third of total internet traffic.” (Currah, 2006).
This leads to one of the main problems in the film industry regarding Digital Rights Management, pirates. When I speak of pirates, I am not referring to the many characters of the Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean. The website, defines pirates in the following ways:


1. a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea or on the shores of the sea.

2. a ship used by such persons.

3. any plunderer, predator, etc.: confidence men, slumlords, and other pirates.

4. a person who uses or reproduces the work or invention of another without authorization.

5. Also called pirate stream . Geology . a stream that diverts into its own flow the headwaters of another stream, river, etc.
verb (used with object)

6. to commit piracy upon; plunder; rob.

7. to take by piracy: to pirate gold.

8. to use or reproduce (a book, an invention, etc.) without authorization or legal right: to pirate hit records.

9. to take or entice away for one's own use: Our competitor is trying to pirate our best salesman.
verb (used without object)

10. to commit or practice piracy.

To my surprise, the pirate I am referring to here was addressed and would be used #4 as a noun and used as a verb in numbers 6, 8 and 10.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) established in 1998 is a Federal Law. This act makes it criminal to disseminate copyrighted materials. “For the last 10 years, the Entertainment Industry has been demanding an efficient mechanism for digital content protection,” (Damiani & Fugazza, 2007). However, there seems that no matter what the case, the industry cannot fight piracy and is leaning towards being more “DRM Free”. A major recording label, Warner Brothers gave anyone the right to use their recordings to make short videos or movies, and most likely other labels will be following suit. According to Currah, at least 2 billion Hollywood Films are acquired over peer-to-peer networks each year, and in the view of Hollywood Studios, every free download represents a lost transaction which results in theft of expensive creative property (2006). The amount of revenues actually lost due to piracy is inconsistent with each other. However, they do have one thing in common- the studies show they all have a loss of profits. Those in the industry agree, that the business model of the film industry needs to change to one that embraces the Internet and web-based technologies in order to deter pirates, as consumers demand cheap, easy, and fast access.

Another area of concern that is also part of the multimedia world , is Digital Rights Management in the music industry.

“The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) (2009) estimates that music sales declined from $13.7 billion in 1998 to $8.5 billion in 2008. The music industry has been unequivocal in blaming this trend on online piracy,” (Minha,Machado,&Sellman,2010).

Most will agree that DRM has failed to prevent piracy and protect content, but also pushed away consumers. In the 90’s, CD sales were at an all time high, ranging from approximately $500 million in 1995 to over $750 million in 1999. It seemed from this point , the music industry was not prepared for the 21st Century. Digital music sales were non-existent until 2002, and even then, were a little slow to start.”Cumbersome restrictions imposed by DRM have contributed to the slow growth in digital music sales,” (2010, page 41). The first portable MP3 player was the Diamond Rio. The RIAA filed suit and stated:

“We filed this lawsuit because of unchecked piracy on the Internet threatens the development of a legitimate marketplace that consumers want.”

Consumers wanted digital music, and in 2001 we had the introduction of the Apple iPod. At this point, lawsuits were running rampant, and a lawsuit was even filed on a 12-year-old girl who was sued for illegal music downloading. From that point on things went from bad to worse. Piracy, it seems, will never have an end. The problem isn’t going away, but the research concludes that DRM in the music industry needs to take on a different, more compatible, sophisticated format.
“We find that the recent trend toward reducing DRM controls may actually increase overall revenues for digital music while reducing the number of consumers that might be classified as hardcore pirates,” (2010, page 51).

Another area of concern that is part of the multimedia family is Digital Rights Management and E-Books.

“E-Books have encouraged many major book publishers to put more resources into the area of protecting content. The issues relate not only to technology and the law, but also to issues of social acceptance and creating a system that is so acceptable to users, so that there is little incentive to cheat,” (Heather, 2005).

Digital Rights management in this arena was initially created to create a trust between the authors and consumers. Although E-Books, in theory, seemed to be a stupendous idea, it seems it has been tainted by aggressive DRM. A new restriction in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act states that it will now be LEGAL in the USA to remove the DRM from an E-book to allow read-aloud functions. The trend has been one similar to other entertainment industries- offer DRM free products. In fact, one bookseller- states,

“When you buy an E-book through, you get lifetime access to the book, and whenever possible we provide it to you in four, DRM-free file formats — PDF, .epub, Kindle-compatible .mobi, and Android .apk — that you can use on the devices of your choice. Our E-book files are fully searchable, and you can cut-and-paste and print them. We also alert you when we've updated the files with corrections and additions.”

And wouldn’t you know that Oreilly’s sales increased by an astounding 104% when they decided to drop its DRM! In addition to use restrictions, another major issue is that there is no open book format. Meaning with all of the E-Readers available out there, the formats are not all compatible with each other, and each E-book purchased is limited to one reader. Therefore, through the research, one can thus conclude,

“For the E-book industry to thrive, the industry itself needs to address many difficult and complex problems from DRM to content to standards,” (Heather, 2005).

Manager of Apple collects $1 million for stealing trade secrets from Apple and selling them to Chinese companies; the world’s largest toy company, Mattel, was accused of sneaking into trade shows to steal rival toy company, MCA’s, secrets regarding the Bratz doll as Mattel believes the doll was created by a former employee (during his employment with Mattel) who is now working for MCA; HP hit with a lawsuit for allegedly stealing trade secrets about used printer cartridges from Turbon International; Motorola sues Huewai of allegedly stealing cellular networking gear trade secrets. All of these situations have something in common which lead to yet another issue in regards to Digital Rights Management- Enterprise DRM- also known as E-DRM, ERM, or IRM (Information Rights Management); this area relates to corporate documents and/or “trade secrets” such as (but not limited to) Microsoft Word, PDF, e-mails, contracts, and intranet documents.

“Enterprise DRM is currently being used, for example, in inter-enterprise exchange with modest security requirements. We believe that such applications can and will drive the need for more sophisticated Enterprise DRM solutions,” (Sebes & Stamp, 2007).

Those few examples I provided of lawsuits involving the theft of “trade secrets” are just a small percentage of the many that are out there. However, because there has never been any system in place to secure these documents or systems that offer very little security, there is little research done on E-DRM.

In April 2008, a lawsuit was filed against Georgia State University by three academic publishers who alleged that the university is not licensing its course readings proves that Digital Rights Management seems to be an issue in the Academic World as well. However, most studies conducted in this area seem to focus on the lack of consistency throughout the universities in terms of guidelines as to who owns the online course materials. Kelley, Bonner, & Pomea pointed out this issue when they stated in their research, “One of the reasons why the issue of copyright ownership of web based materials, most notably online courses, has been debated is because the legal basis for claiming ownership is somewhat unclear,” (2002).

According to Waters, 1998, “Digital libraries are organizations that provide the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to, interpret, distribute, preserve the integrity of, and ensure the persistence over time of collections of digital works so that they are readily and economically available for use by a defined community or set of communities.”

Undeniably, it is much travail to create a digital library. The collection must first be digitized. Then the acquisition of the original digital work by publishers and scholars must be gathered. Copyright seems to be the largest barrier to the development of digital libraries and a task that one cannot take on solely. Bertot stated in his research, “When creating a digital library, DRM is of concern but additional outside sources will be needed to assist as the task would be too arduous for one to take on,” (2002). Research has shown that most DRM is indeed outsourced.

According to Tom Grubber, 1993,” ontology is a specification of a conceptualization.” They are social contracts that have explicit, agreed semantics that is understandable to outsiders. Semantic digital libraries integrate information using various metadata, operate with other systems (not just digital libraries), and empowered by semantics, makes searching and browsing more user-friendly. They extend digital libraries by exposing its resources to a ‘machine-readable’ format using Web Ontology Language. The idea behind semantic digital libraries is that the knowledge space is dynamic and collaborative.

“The OWL implementation of the Copyright Ontology integrates the legal and DRM aspects. Moreover, its particular approach makes an extensive use of OWL classes as patterns for rights, licenses and usages modeling. With this approach, it is possible to reduce checking uses against rights and licenses to computing class subsumption and instance classification. These computations are tractable and decidable in the context of Description Logics, a family of logics that includes OWL-DL, the OWL sublanguage employed during the implementation,” (Gonzalez & Gil, 2008).

Mobile Digital Rights Management, also known as MDRM, is another area of major concern. Just recently, on June 30, 2010, Google added DRM to the Android marketplace due to piracy. In addition, over a million iPhone owners have “jail broken” their phones which allows them to change wireless providers and download songs from sources other than iTunes. Obviously this is a problem that must be addressed. “The future information products will be increasingly protected by DRM systems and other technical measures,” (Pitkanen, Mantyla, Vialimaki, & Kemmpinen, 2003). As research has shown, more efforts are being made to include MDRM with wireless technologies.

In the area of Archiving, Digital Rights Management is yet another burden. The documents are usually older, and the key to unlock the DRM most likely no longer exists. Even though a library or archive has the copyright access to a piece of work, it still may be protected by copy control. Yu makes an excellent point when stated in the research:

“In order to avoid rights tort leading to lost profit and to manage the scope of authorized online processes, the content of digital archives must consider its relationship with rights management. From the physical material to the digital object, copyright is not the only category of rights,” (2007).

Many people maintain, actually, that copyright and DRM is creating a barrier in preserving history. In one study of a small sample of 30 licenses, only two publishers allowed archiving of the material.

International standardization and piracy are other areas of contention regarding Digital Rights Management. In 2001, an International case involving the arrest of a Russian programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, was a highly publicized example of the consequences of anti-DRM measures. Nonetheless, it is still an issue as just this week, scene servers known as “Darkside” were arrested in Sweden due to piracy relating to Swedish and foreign movies. Lastly, different Intellectual Freedom Laws and Rights exist in different countries thereby causing issues between the exchanges of documents internationally. However, problems existed and exchange of documents was even ceased at some point between Germany and the United States as laws between countries do not exist homogeneously.

“Nothing in the U.S. statutes restrict U.S. libraries from sending or receiving articles from libraries in other countries, as long as other restrictions are observed.” (Seadle,2007).

Websites dedicated to abolish DRM exist throughout the Internet such as:,,, and to name a few. Furthermore, the popular site YouTube has a plethora of videos regarding Anti-DRM demonstrations. Many feel DRM is a violation of our First Amendment Rights and privacy issues. Others feel that companies use it as a means to make more money by locking the competition. Just like anything, Digital Rights Management has it pros and cons, and it seems it will always have its issues. As Seadle stated in his research, “The technology race between infringers and rights holders will continue to evolve and provide interesting issues,” (2008).

Take use restrictions, for example, A major concern among students and researchers alike are use restrictions found in licensed scholarly journals. On one hand you have soft restrictions that discourage use, and on the other, you have hard restrictions that strictly prevent use. More often, soft restrictions exist and cause problems for many as well as cause the user much frustration. According to Eschenfelder, “If the user cannot ‘take’ the information in the form they want (print, save, e-mail), it has a negative impact on them,” (2008). Similarly, Foroughi, Albin, and Gillard states, “As DRM technologies evolve and develop, so does end user concern about restrictions to their access to and use of information,” (2002).

Much apprehension exists in regards to Privacy and Digital Rights Management. Many DRM systems track what users buy and force users to disclose personal information. This proves true as Pitkanen, Vitranen, and Kemppinen’s research states, “Although DRM is meant to ensure copyright protection, it often manages information about end users, their behavior, and their preferences. In addition, DRM technologies cannot completely protect data. It is always possible to circumvent the protection.” (2008).

We all use copyrighted materials, and therefore DRM affects us all in one way or another. With new technology such as Blu-Ray, E-Readers, Smart Phones, and the like, issues regarding DRM become more abundant. There seems to be a need for Digital Rights Management to become utilized where the abuse of copyright infringement needs to exist. Some solutions may be more lenient use restrictions, International digital “trade” laws, and perhaps more enforcement of piracy. It does not seem like there are any particular measures put into place, worldwide, to achieve this goal. The trend seems to be leaning towards “Free-DRM” products and services in hopes to achieve less infringement. As of yet, no research has been done on this trend, so we can only look towards the future to see the results.

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