Kennedy School of Government
L 213 79 JFK Street
Title of Presentation: Replacing Paper with DRM
Digital Rights Management standard are being developed for a global ubiquitous market for digital content. Yet the question remains, what problems are the systems trying to solve? Most systems are explicitly modeled on copyright and use the metaphors of piracy and author's moral rights to define the design goals. In this work I begin with a return to copyright and consider the functions fulfilled by copyright. I argue that the brilliance of copyright is that it provides attribution, access, and a definition of a fungible right thereby enabling epistemological surety, literacy, and a functioning information market.
Thus I propose that an examination of the origin of copyright and the relationship between copyright and technological change defines a set of requirements for any system which would recreate copyright. This paper is framed by the Western European experience of copyright.
After returning to the creation of copyright and offering a few illustrations of copyright's response to technological forcing functions I turn to various digital rights management systems. I examine each system with respect to its ability to support attribution, access and a fungible right. I close by examining three systems: Giovanni, CSS, and ICE. I conclude that while each has elements of copyright, none solves the set of problems which copyright solved for the dawn of the print age. I conclude by suggesting that the most promising digital rights management system may be the least secure: ICE. I argue that the archival function of Giovanni is its most appealing and unique feature, but none offer the power of copyright. information systems.