Fraunhofer-Institut für Graphische Datenverarbeitung IGD
While the dissemination of multimedia creations over the Internet and the personal presence of authors in content distribution networks has the potential for great convenience and economy for artists and other creators, the proper exploitation of intellectual property rights to such digital representations is a severe issue. Rights holder associations such as the U.S. RIAA note significant reductions in revenue to unauthorized duplication and distribution. At the same time the trading of music via Peer-to-Peer networks attracts an increasing number of participants, prompting predictions of the demise of traditional entertainment industry business models and distribution channels.
The 2001 European directive 2001/29/EG on Copyrights implements the WIPO treaty and has defined a legal framework: While the right for a private copy was reconfirmed as a core concept of the copyright regulation, the legal constraints for digital rights management systems (DRM) are enforced. Attacks on security mechanisms may be persecuted with comparable strength as under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), in some cases such as in the UK even without exemptions for research expressly stipulated in the directive and the WIPO treaty. Regardless of this very favorable legal framework and further legal initiatives affording even further protection to the rights owners, the question remains whether DRM systems can provide adequate mechanisms for countering the threats faced by rights owners?
The CAST-TCW is organizing a Workshop on "Digital Watermarking and Digital Rights Management" and will elaborate this question. Considerations will not be limited to just technical viewpoints on this topic; the event will also stress legal implications and privacy issues. The transition of the European directive to national law is due at the end of 2002. Will the new legal framework respect right holders and content users in the same extend and will it furthermore guarantee "fair use"? Will flat device-dependent royalties become obsolete with DRM systems tracking each and every piece of music we will listen to. Will we be charged for every single usage? And if so - how can that be technically realized without infringing on fundamental privacy and property rights of individuals? The workshop will search for answers on these questions.
One aspect can be foreseen straightforward: Whatever DRM system will be rolled out and win the market, every protection technology based on encryption ends when digital content is decrypted and displayed - even if the output device is itself digital. Complementary protection mechanisms that protect the contents signals (in digital and analog form) are required.
In parallel with the development of DRM systems, digital watermarks have been researched over the past decade. The workshop will also investigate this research and will consider whether this technology is mature enough to be deployed to commercial use - a subject of lively discussion as made evident by the withholding of standardization by the DVD Copy Control Association at the same time legislation to mandate it (the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act) is pushed forward in the U.S.
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