Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Digital Rights Management and Consumer Acceptability: A Multi-Disciplinary Discussion of Consumer Concerns and Expectations

Helberger, Natali and Kerényi, Kristóf and Krings, Bettina and Lambers, Rik and Orwat, Carsten and Riehm, Ulrich and van Gompel, Stef and Dufft, Nicole (2004): Digital Rights Management and Consumer Acceptability: A Multi-Disciplinary Discussion of Consumer Concerns and Expectations. Published in: INDICARE Project report No. State of the Art (December 2004): pp. 1-147.

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Abstract

The INDICARE project – the Informed Dialogue about Consumer Acceptability of DRM Solutions in Europe – has been set up to raise awareness about consumer and user issues of Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions. One of the main goals of the INDICARE project is to contribute to the consensus-building among multiple players with heterogeneous interests in the digital environment. To promote this process and to contribute to the creation of a common level of understanding is the aim of the present report. It provides an overview of consumer concerns and expectations regarding DRMs, and discusses the findings from a social, legal, technical and business perspective. A general overview of the existing EC initiatives shows that questions of consumer acceptability of DRM have only recently begun to draw wider attention. A review of the relevant statements, studies and reports confirms that awareness of consumer concerns is still at a low level. Five major categories of concerns have been distinguished so far: (1) fair conditions of use and access to digital content, (2) privacy, (3) interoperability, (4) transparency and (5) various aspects of consumer friendliness. From the legal point of view, many of the identified issues go beyond the scope of copyright law, i.e. the field of law where DRM was traditionally discussed. Often they are a matter of general or sector-specific consumer protection law. Furthermore, it is still unclear to what extent technology and an appropriate design of technical solutions can provide an answer to some of the concerns of consumers. One goal of the technical chapter was exactly to highlight some of these technical possibilities. Finally, it is shown that consumer acceptability of DRM is important for the economic success of different business models based on DRM. Fair and responsive DRM design can be a profitable strategy, however DRM-free alternatives do exist too.

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