IRIS Plus 2005-4: Digital Rights Management from a Consumer's Perspective

Author: Natali Helberger, Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam

Published: 01/08/2005

Place the CD in the CD player, computer or car CD player, press "Play" and listen to the music. It can be as simple as that. Or rather it could. Although we may think this is still the case, in reality it is becoming a thing of the past. Anyone who buys a CD today can no longer be certain that it can be played on their computer, that it can even be played the day after tomorrow or more than 30 times, that it can be copied or that the music it contains can be converted into MP3 format. The fact that things are not as simple as they used to be is more and more a question of "fair" Digital Rights Management (DRM).

People's views on what is fair and what is not in this context still vary considerably, depending on whether they are looking from the perspective of rightsholders or consumers. However, all the parties involved, including consumers' representatives on the one hand and the media industry on the other, wholeheartedly agree that DRM can be the basis for new forms of digital services. The economic success of such services depends, however, on whether they are also acceptable for consumers.

For this reason, this IRIS plus deals with DRM from the consumer's perspective in an effort to enhance people's understanding of this aspect of DRM.