The Digital Media Project



Nicholas Bentley


TRU #84 not to apply DRM to a piece of content




Name: Nicholas Bentley
Affiliation/additional information: Active participant
Date submitted: 2004/04/14


# Criteria Description
1. Name of TRU TRU not to apply DRM to a piece of content
2. Summary description of TRU These days, almost every word we write is automatically protected by copyright but this does not mean that we want or need it all automatically protected by DRM. There should be no technical or legal requirement to apply DRM to content if the rights holder does not wish it.
3. Use records of TRU DRM was not available for most of our history while untold numbers of creative works were produced and distributed. Hence most traditional content has not used DRM.
4.  Nature of TRU Traditional Rights and Usage Billions of books, records, tapes, and other analogue works have been produced and distributed without the use of DRM.

Any work in the public domain should be freely available to all (1). The application of DRM might impede access for citizens without the correct technology. Even if a set of DRM standards had widespread acceptance there may still be devices which are outside the standard and so could not render the content. One of the principle aims of copyright is the social benefit of the widespread distribution of creative works.

Poor consumers, without access to any digital technology, should still have access to legal copies of copyrighted works.

The mixing of protected and clear content has always been allowed under copyright to produce such secondary creative results as play lists and mixed media creations.

Authors and artists will always be producing original content as raw data and they should be able to review this content on any device in unprotected form even if at a later date they add DRM to distribute the content.

Legal The legal protection provided by traditional copyright has been considered adequate in the past and it is the author's right to continue to use the substantial protection of copyright law without using technical measures of control.

5. Benefits of TRU The free flow of creative works without the overheads of DRM could be a benefit for both authors and consumers.

Intermediary players aiming to add value to a work might be adversely affected

6. Possible digital support Digital distribution systems and reproduction devices should not inhibit the flow and use of content which does not have DRM applied to it. DRM enabled systems could actively propagate unmarked, public domain, content by reproducing clear content on demand.

Interconnected DRM enabled systems could provide user requested search services to advise the consumer if the unmarked work has had DRM accidentally or illegally removed.

7. Requirements Unprotected or unmarked works should have no restrictions applied to them. DRM devices and systems should allow the mixing of clear and protected content to allow the creative process to continue with such things as the production of inventive play lists for example.
8 References (1) - ... and simultaneously to ensure that as many works entered the public domain as soon as possible, so that the public could make unfettered use of them. Jessica Litman, Sharing and Stealing, page 11.