Wednesday, March 02, 2005

INDICARE Article Flow

The new INDICARE Monitor (No. 9) has been published. The eight articles on DRM and related issues are available online, and there is also a PDF version that bundles them all. Here is an overview of the latest from what is a growing source on DRM and consumer interests:

Obscurity in patent matters by Knud Böhle

Abstract: This editorial presumes that DRM patents are a public policy issue which at the end of the value chain has an impact on the consumer experience with protected digital content. After a brief general characterization of the "social invention" called patents, DRM patents are addressed and open questions are raised which deserve further analysis. Surprisingly even seemingly simple questions like the one what the meaning of "DRM patent" is, have no easy answer.

MPEG-LA’s portfolio license – A jumpstart for DRM-based markets?
Lawrence Horn of MPEG LA interviewed by Thorsten Wichmann

The interview discusses MPEG LA’s upcoming patent portfolio license for essential patents related to OMA’s DRM 1.0 standard as well as its potential implications for the market of DRM technologies and DRM-based products and services. The existence of patents on certain elements of DRM technology is frequently seen as an obstacle to the quick and widespread introduction of DRM solutions. Patent portfolio licenses like those offered by MPEG LA might provide a way out of this dilemma.

Hail to the flag, It’s the 1st of July.
The main arguments against the implementation of the US Broadcast Flag
by Rik Lambers

Abstract: On July first of this year the so-called broadcast flag regime will come into effect in the United States. The broadcast flag seeks to prevent the unauthorized distribution of digital over-the-air television content via p2p-networks. But, replacing the black flag of piracy with the broadcast flag may also prevent fair uses and hinder innovation. The debate about the broadcast flag will be outlined, and the question will be raised if the broadcast flag approach will stretch beyond the US, towards Europe.

Thou shalt not mislead thy customer!
The pitfalls of labelling and transparency
by Natali Helberger

Abstract: The article explains why one should not mislead his customers. And the author is not even talking about rules of decency and fair play; she is talking about legal reasons, as recently confirmed by a court decision in France. The article also explains, however, why the issue of transparency is a tricky one, and under which conditions transparency could turn against the consumer.

Copyright exemptions have to become consumer rights!
Patrick von Braunmühl of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) interviewed by Nicole Dufft

DRM technology and current legislation threaten the original balance of copyright law. The use of DRM technologies may override copyright exemptions - this the more since, for the time being, consumers do not have clear carved-out rights regarding DRM use. Therefore consumer organisations demand that copyright exemptions have to become consumer rights as a prerequisite for effectively enforcing consumers’ legitimate interests.


Need for a comprehensive re-thinking of "DRM" systems and copyright
by Péter Benjamin Tóth

In my previous article (Tóth 2004) "Digital Rights Management or Digital Content Control" I pointed out that as a rule so-called DRM systems (for which I offered a new expression: Digital Content Control Exercise systems or DCCE) do not involve the management of copyright. The technical power offered by these technical tools can exist over any digital content and can prevent any activities regarding these contents. This strong monopoly conflicts with several interests and therefore needs to be examined comprehensively. The focus of this article is on the conflict of DCCE with the statutory exceptions and non-copyrighted content, non-protected works, and non-protected uses.

Report on the 3rd DRM Conference, Berlin, 13th and 14th January 2005
by Carsten Orwat

Abstract: The present conference report is selective as its focus is on consumer issues of DRM. The debate about economic aspects of DRM and alternative compensation schemes is nevertheless taken on board too. While the original purpose of implementing DRM to prevent piracy has not been achieved, and the next objective of DRM to enable new DRM-based business models is still in its infancy, we can observe new reasons to implement DRM, for instance to stifle competition.

Getting the work of MPEG-21 right.
A comment to the first INDICARE state-of-the-art-report
by Chris Barlas of Rightscom Limited

Abstract: This comment is specifically about one of the issues covered in the report, namely the creation of usage rules with RELs. I think that the report has not fully informed itself in this area, particularly with regard to the activities within MPEG-21.


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