The Problem of Freedom Override by Digital Rights Management Technologies: The Market Mechanisms and Possible Legal Options


One of the major problems of copyright regulations in the digital and network era is that the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies are overriding the freedom incorporated within the copyright regulations in the analog world. The override problem partly comes from the strict implementation of the DRM systems by the market, and partly from the anti-circumvention regulations that almost blindly protect such implementation. This research reviews the scope of anti-circumvention regulations by introducing Japanese regulations, which are rather modest, and by comparing with the U.S. regulations. It also extensively analyzes the market mechanisms that cause rather strict implementation of DRM systems based on interviews of key persons in the market. At the end, it suggests several legal options to improve the problem of freedom override by DRM technologies, either by direct legal means or through market mechanisms, to keep a better balance of interests between right-holders and users of copyrighted information.


Computer Law | Intellectual Property Law | Internet Law

Date of this Version

May 2006