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Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
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The second phase began in the late 1990s. At this time, the Internet was starting to
play an increasingly central part in all areas of business, and organisations focused on
strategic development of e-commerce
opportunities. Early `digital libraries'
called into question the current standards
on the control and enforcement of intel-
lectual property rights (IPRs), and a
number of companies began development
of technologies to control digital rights.
A number of countries introduced legis-
lation in an attempt to slow the dissemi-
nation of unauthorised digital content
around the Web. It is difficult to say
whether or not the new technologies and
legal frameworks are containing the flow.
Digital Rights Management: An Introduction
The principles of rights management have evolved over several centuries. From the
outset the laws aimed to protect the rights of creators to exploit the economic potential
of their creative acts. It was, and is, a widely held belief that these laws ensured that there
was an economic motivation to underpin and foster creativity. From pirate copies of
books in the 18
th
and 19
th
centuries to illicitly recorded music and film in the 20
th
cen-
tury there have always been individuals prepared to infringe the rights of creators or
their agents (e.g. publishers). Likewise, there have always been individuals prepared to buy
or use illegally produced copies.The digital technologies and the Internet in particular
have made infringement easier and, in the case of audio recordings and increasingly film,
the impact on the income streams of artists, studios and distributors has caused increasing
concern. Intellectual property rights issues are now widely discussed, and companies in
Europe and North America are actively working on developing technologies that will
enable organisations to stop the infringement of their rights and those of the creators
they represent. Content owners are turning to the criminal and civil courts, who could
protect their rights `by making examples' of small numbers of individuals. An increasing
number of vocal activists are pressing the argument that all human knowledge is in the
public domain.
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In fact, much cultural heritage content is in the public domain, having
been bought and paid for by taxpayers or gifted to public institutions for the benefit of
the citizens. Public institutions often restrict visitors from photographing material on dis-
play by claiming that this poses security and conservation risks.This can cause a certain
amount of friction. It is important to protect the taxpayer's rights as well as those of a
work's custodians; the case study on AMICITIA, below, examines this in more depth.
IPR Systems
IPR Systems'
Learning Object Xchange - entry screen for educational
learning content
181 Rights management systems come under a significant amount of criticism, with accusations of privacy
infringements and many of the larger corporations adopting a seemingly Orwellian approach to their jealously
guarded content. In his book of interviews, The Job,William Burroughs writes that `All knowledge all discov-
eries belong to everybody. All knowledge all discoveries belong to you by right. It is time to demand
what belongs to you.'This has been adopted as the motto of the Copyleft movement,
http://www.dsl.org/copyleft/. Burroughs' argument is carried on most prominently and most eloquently
today by campaigner John Perry Barlow.
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