Digital Rights Management for Music Filesharing Communities

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Willms Buhse, AIB TU Munich and Bertelsmann Digital World Services


File Sharing has become the most popular form of online community building in the music industry. Though, chat, instant messaging and other communication tools are offered for virtual communities like Napster, users spend by far more time browsing and sharing content. Nevertheless, this essential and widely adopted system has to be compliant with current copyright legislation. In 1999 and 2000, the concept of digital rights management was developed and implemented by major labels but so far lacked broad consumer acceptance. This paper examines digital rights management technologies in the context of file sharing systems for music. Music labels protect their rights by using digital rights management technology that allows to control the access to music files using encryption or watermarking. In conjunction with peer-to-peer technology consumers also can use a mechanism called Super-Distribution with which they can share and recommend songs among end devices. Looking at the possibilities for a successful implementation of digital rights management technology, a differentiation is made between the PC environment and other entertainment end devices. The paper concludes with a recommendation to music labels and related industries to participate in the effort of broad adoption of file sharing technology combined with digital rights management with a special focus on end devices.


Digital Rights Management for Music Filesharing Communities

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