Digital Rights Management and the Rights of End-Users.
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Digital Rights Management systems (DRM) are frequently used by rightsholders in order to protect their works from the, very high indeed, possibility to be copied, altered or distributed without authorisation by users who take advantage of available state-of-the-art copying techniques. Because DRM are legally protected by anti-circumvention legislation both in the United States and in Europe, a debate goes on more than a decade now regarding their impact to the notion of “balance” among copyright stakeholders that traditionally underpinned copyright law. In this context, this study examines, in turn, the philosophical underpinnings of analogue and digital copyright law focusing of copyright exceptions, the development of a notion of a minimum of lawful personal use for the digital environment based on existing copyright exceptions and users’ expectations of personal use, and the impact of the use of DRM and of the introduction of anti-circumvention legislation to this notion. While the European Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC (EUCD) is the main legal instrument analysed and criticised, the role of other Directives is also examined to the extent they address the relationship between lawful personal use and anticircumvention legislation. Legal developments in the United States could not have been absent from this discussion since anti-circumvention legislation was introduced there much earlier than the EUCD and important case-law and legal commentaries have developed since. Following the identification of problems regarding the operation of a minimum of lawful personal use in digital settings, the proposal to introduce a right to engage in self-help circumvention afforded to users of DRM-protected works for Europe is put-forward. Such a right would not undermine rightsholders incentives to offer works online and develop new business models but would acknowledge the users’ interest to interact and tinker with digital works taking full advantage of the new possibilities offered by digitisation.
- Theses