Digital Rights Management examines the social context of new digital rights management (DRM) technologies in a lively and accessible style. It sets out the scope of DRMs in non-technical terms and then explores the shifts that DRM has produced within the regime of protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). Focusing on the social norms around the protection of IPRs, it examines the music industry and software development sector to ask whether the protections established by DRM are legitimate and socially beneficial. Using these key examples to establish a more general argument, the books central conclusion is that rather than merely re-establishing threatened rights, the development of DRM has extended the rights of intellectual property owners, and that such an extension violates previous carefully balanced political compromises as regards the maintenance of the public domain.

Key Features

  • Places DRM in its political context
  • Sets out the social impact of a new and important technology
  • Accessible and clearly written for a non-technical audience


Information professionals, librarians, copyright lawyers, and technology scholars concerned with society issues around the protection and maintenance of the public domain

Table of Contents

Introduction: Setting the scene; Intellectual property and social norms; Digital rights management: Two trajectories; Digital rights management: Two cases for consideration; Digital rights management, the (over)protection of rights and the expansion of open alternatives.


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© 2007
Chandos Publishing
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About the author

Christopher May

Dr Christopher May is Reader in International Political Economy at the University of the West of England. His books include A Global Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights. The New Enclosures and The Information Society. A Sceptical View. He has published widely on IPRs.