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As Daniel Gervais notes:"Until and unless a single global identification system can be
agreed upon, electronic copyright management systems must be able to function in a multi-
code environment. And that means that information about information metadata must
be made available in a usable format." (Gervais, 1998) While there are coherent metadata
standards in single cultural heritage sectors, the situation is less clear in other sectors.This
brings us back to the initial discussion about the need to develop coherent metadata
standards as a requirement to uniquely identify digital resources in electronic networks.
Security technologies for rights management
In addition, a fully automated ECMS also needs to include mechanisms that allow to
track copyright infringements and unauthorised use.There are currently two technologies
of relevance to digital information resource services: encryption and digital watermarking.
Encryption: Encryption provides security against unauthorised access or reading.
Most simply, it can be described as converting legible content into content that
cannot be understood.The encrypted content is sent to the customer who
requested it.The customer holds an encryption key that allows him/her to decode
the content back into intelligible form. Encryption technologies include secret key
(i.e. Data Encryption Standard) and public key algorithms, which are currently used
by many systems involving the transfer of high value data. Although popular,
encryption systems do not solve the problem of unauthorised use.Tracking
unauthorised use today is mostly done with watermarking technology.
Watermarking: Before sending out, a digital watermark is attached to the digital
object, either visibly or invisibly, to point to information possession in two ways:
first, to identify whom the material/content originates; and second, identifying the
recipient of the material has been distributed.This second form of recipient
watermark is most commonly used today, as it allows better control of the
redistribution of material.The goal of visible identification is mainly to avoid the
dissemination or unauthorised use of the material a priori. By contrast, applying an
invisible watermark serves the purpose of searching the web to locate distributed
or uses materials without proper authorisation post priori.
Both techniques are used today, yet as expert in the DigiCULT study remarked, are not
yet totally safe against manipulation.
However, the technology alone does not make a fully automated electronic rights
management system.The protection of rights management information requires a synergy
between technology and law, and hence, a fully automated ECMS would also need to
address the following legal issues:
Ownership:Who owns the rights? This may be straightforward with individual
works, but is not such an easy question to answer with respect to genres such as
films or plays.
Which rights are involved? There are a number of different rights that apply in
different parts of the world. It involves moral rights (right of paternity or , right to
oppose to mutilation) and economic rights (reproduction right, right of
communication to the public, right of adaptation).
What rights are conveyed? Addresses the above mentioned rights.
Which country's laws take precedence? There exist different copyright laws in
different territories; therefore, it needs to be clarified which law applies in case of
copyright infringements.