Copyright means the right granted for the protection of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works resulting from the author’s own intellectual creation. Copyright has its root in the privileges, laws and regulations associated with the advent of printing in the fifteenth century.1 The word “Copyright” reflects two expressions firstly right to make a copy and the secondly, to stop others from making a copy. The first expression is positive one and the second is negative in nature. With the beginning of the twentieth century, there came revolutionary changes in the technological advancement which opened new vistas for the exploitation of copyrighted works.But at the same time, it also posed serious challenges for the protection of copyrighted work. Particularly, an advent of the Internet and digital technology in the 2nd half of the twentieth century made it difficult to protect copyrighted work on digital platforms. Digital Rights Management
In the light of forgoing, the present work attempts to examine the technical developments in the field of copyright law and protection of digital copyright work in a digital environment and means of protection of online digital work i.e. Digital Rights Management.
Digital Copying, Technological Protection Measure, Digital Right Management, Right Management Information, Electronic Right Management.
Copying is a very fundamental concept in copyright. In copyright, the work must be original i.e. it must not be copied from some copyright work. Copying means ‘to make something that is exactly like something else or to write something exactly as it is written somewhere else. It means in copyright the work must be original and it must be of author’s own intellectual creation.2
Originality forms the basic element of copyright. The originality requirement sets a threshold that limits the subject matter.2 With the advent of printing press large scale production of unauthorized copying started happening and it led to piracy of Books and other works. It was realized that only the legislative measures are not sufficient to protect the copyrighted work from unauthorized copying. Authors adopted their own techniques to protect their own creation for example using warning on the first page of the book mentioning that unauthorized copying shall be subjected to penal consequences. In the digital era due to an internet, computer and mobile phone digital piracy of the copyrighted work became easier justifying a very higher degree of protection.
Control of Copying
The control of copying provided for in copyright law is a means to an end. The ultimate goal of intellectual property policy and the law is promoting the progress of science and arts, achieve in large measure by providing an incentive to author and inventors, in the belief that the society as a whole will in time benefit from their effort.3 Control of copying is a kind of incentive to the author because by control of copying the author can effectively control his work. Control of reproduction is mechanism, not the goal.3
The concept of Digital copying emerged after the development of the internet. Digital copying means copying digital work in digital format e.g. copying movie from one computer to another computer or downloading movies or songs from internet. ‘Digital’4 generally refers to representation of information including content, as one and zeros (or “bits”). Before internet era authorized works were available in material form or in analog format but in the digital era the authors in order to take more profit from their works used digital or virtual platform. This needed an effective protection of copyright work because it was found that any technically sophisticated person can easily access the digital format of the copyright work. The authors in order to protect their work employed certain protective measures. The protection measures are given the name Technological Protection Measures.
Technological Protection Measure
The Technological Protection Measure (hereinafter TPM) is the method employed by the author themselves or on the behalf of the author for the protection of their authorial works.5 TPM is defined as ‘any technology’ device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or restrict acts, in respect of works or other subject matter, which are not authorized by the right- holder.2A TPM is ‘effective’ where the use of a protected work is controlled by the right holders through application of access control or protection process such as encryption, scrambling or other transformation of the work or a copy control mechanism which achieve the protection objective.2
Digital Rights Management: Meaning and Concept
Digital Rights Management (herein after DRM) is commonly defined as the set of TPM by which right holders prevent the use of digital content they license in way that could compromise the commercial value oftheir product.5 In other words DRM refers to the protection, or management of copyright in digital world. This protection is accomplished through use of any of several technologies that are “used to control access and usage of digital data or hardware”.6 It can be said to be a set of intertwining technologies that may be used to establish a secure channel for digital content distribution or it is a technology that creates certain conditions about how some digital products can be used and shared. It may also include technologies like copy control, digital watermarking,fingerprinting,traitor tracing, authentication and many more.7
Once the Internet becoming widely used, it was easy for pirates to copy and illegally sell a variety of marketed digital information and products. Therefore, this type of technology and system prevents users from doing things with content that the content providers do not wish them to do. Digital Rights Management are technologies designed to automatically manage rights in relation to information. This can include preventing copyright works and other information from being accessed or copied without authorization and establishing and enforcing license terms with individuals. Digital Rights Management is also a form of continual protection that protects works and manages rights at all times. DRM attempts to promote authorized use of a copyright work, in part by precluding the possibility of copyright infringement. Digital Rights Management works by allowing distributors of electronic information to control viewing access to content.
All of the systems for Digital Rights Management are based on the identification and recording of information about the copyright owners and about the copyright associated with the content. The main objective of restrictive measures is to stop piracy.8 DRM is primarily concerned with the management of digital right i.e. protection of online Digital Content. Digital Rights Management may imply following two things -:
- Management of Digital right: The responsibility of expressing and managing the rights to content in electronic or digital form;
- Digital Management of right: The ability to physically manage intellectual property and proprietary right in content by way of electronic system or process associated with copyright management system.9
Goals of Digital Right Management
Technology should be user friendly and if we test DRM on this touchstone we findssome of the main goals of DRMs
Effective protection to the content
DRM technologies used for the protection of the online content should be such that it provides effective protection to the copyright content and it should not be such that a person of ordinary intelligence can break the restrictive measures.
Effective distribution platform
These measures are used for the protection of the content and if the honest user wants to use the content by payment he must be allowed to do so by a secure distribution system.
It is not very easy to modify the content of a physical book and pass it off to unsuspecting consumers as an original the same is not possible in digital work.9
It is important for the participant in physical as well as electronic world that he is ask that any given transaction actually took place. In the physical market the customers will receive a receipt which will be sufficient as a proof of payment. The analogy to the above in the digital world is the Digital Signature.
In order to identify the participant Digital certificate is necessary .They proving the connection between the person in the physical world and other personal information provided by this person.10
Need/Purpose of Digital Right Management
The digital networked environment makes copying and distribution of information much easier for individual. It also greatly reduces the copyright owner cost of distribution of copyrighted works. At the same time it raises issues of security of works and protection against reproduction modification and reproduction of derivative work. DRM is an anti-piracy mechanism that prevents the unauthorized copying and protection of work. These mechanisms provide a high degree of protection and control to the work. It can be designed and use in different ways For example It can limit the public access, and can restrict number of free use in respect of fair use of the copyrighted work etc.11
Digital Rights Management system manages the appropriate use of the content. The major functionality of this system include facilitating the packaging of raw content into an appropriate form for easy distribution and tracking, protecting the content for tamper-proof transmission, protecting content from unauthorized use, and enabling specifications of suitable rights, which define the modes of content consumption.12
- Digital Rights Management enables the owner of the digital content to associate the notion of access right to that content and to enable the user of that content to acquire the necessary rights that enable them to use the content for their free use.11
- Copying and downloading of any DRM protected content is allowed to only those persons or organizations who have taken the necessary permission for the use of that content and not to the intruders. It allows the fair use of copyright work.
- The fee paid by the use of the content user divided between the content provider, publisher and the network provider. There may be a financial agreement between the all three. The DRM system must support accounting and financial aspect, or at least enable to cooperate with external accounting or payment system.11
Basic Components of Digital Rights Management
DRM in its value chain may consist of three or more than three elements i.e. the author, publisher and the consumer.In each role there may be single individual or a group of persons.
The main role in this chain is played by the Producer or the Creator of the work. He himself may be the creator of the work or he may be the person who has the right to distribute or sell the work. He may be the Author, Musician, Director or Record Label. At the other end there is the person who is interested in consuming the work i.e. the consumer.
The consumer may be the home user or it may be an organization. Betweenthe Producer and the consumer there is the role of the publisher. The publisher acts as bridge between the producer and the consumer.11 The Publisher is the person who manages and controls the restrictive technology and provides a secure route between the Author/Producer and the consumer. In modern times most of the restrictive measures are consumer centric.
DRM with its components make it easy to access the desired content and also assure the protection of the digital content. An ordinary Digital Rights Management system from the first point of the chain (i.e. the author) to the last point (i.e. the consumer) contains the group of certain components which provides an easy and secure path for both (author and consumer). A short description of certain Digital Rights Management components is relevant.
Access and Usage Control
Digital Rights Management decides two things, the first one are that who have the right to access the available content? Second one is what is the usage rule for the desired content, or in which manner the desired content can be used.13 For these purposes the commonly used technologies are encryption, password and copy protection.
Protection of Authenticity and Integrity
It protects the content from any change or alteration. Disclaimer is always attached with the content that this content is not subject to any change or alteration however besides disclaimer the techniques like watermarking etc. are used to protect the work.
Problem arose as how to identify the desired content on the internet in this situation Metadata helps the user. A document attached with the content, contains name, address and other necessary description about the content. It is a kind of Right Expression Language (RELs).
Hardware and software devices for end devices
Sometime users involved in the circumvention of Digital Rights Management, damages DRM systems, thus, for the protection of DRM certain kinds of hardware and software are employed. These hardware and software devices protect DRM from user’s attack. The hardware may be USB Dongle or smart card and software may include windows media player etc.
For purchasing the content the consumer has to pay for the content. It includes subscription for a day or a week, a month or for a year. It includes payment from credit card, electronic payment system and micropayment system. The payment system should be such that it should handle the entire pricing model such as pay per use etc.13
Integrated e-commerce system
DRM system must include systems which support contract, negotiation, accounting information and all sorts of business information. This system helps the consumer to purchase the content after negotiation. The technology which supports this system includes Electronic data interchange etc.13
After the combination of these technologies the DRM becomes capable to protect the content.
Working of Digital Rights Management
Working of DRM is a multistep process. The Author of the work gives the work to the publisher to bring the work in the digital format. The author together with DRM put the work on the Digital Platform. The DRM protected content is attached with the license and agreement to use the DRM protected content. These rules are primarily made by the author and attached with the content. The publisher may also put its condition of use in the license. When the consumer wants to use or download any DRM protected content firstly he has to accept the license or term of use of the content this is called ‘Right Expression Language’14 (here in after REL).
There is one more type of Content information file is attached with the protected content this is known as Right Management Information (hear in after RMI). The RMI must contain the particulars like Name of the author or owner, Date of creation of the content, address of the content owner11 Usage rules must be associated with the digital content. When the consumer requests for the protected content firstly he have to accept the term and condition of the use of the content, REL contains the term and condition of the use of the content.
After accepting the content the consumer has to pay for the protected content.After payment the consumer will get the license. Now the consumer can download the content or listen the protected content. The free license is also available for the fair use. License holder is only authorized person who can do the permitted act he is not allowed to share the license key with the person who does not have the permission to do an act.
Digital Rights Management in modern times acts as a secure channel for the content distribution. In the initial stage of Digital Rights Management it was argued that technology like Digital Rights Management can never protect the online digital content, it was felt that it will not work but with the change of time it has become the first choice of the right holder.