Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Legal Case Study of iTunes' business model

Ars Technica (In my opinion this is one of the best tech sites out there, top notch and very authoritative) has links to a Harvard Law School legal case study of the iTunes business model. Now, most people who know me also know that I dislike the iTunes store inspite of all its perceived "coolness". I will over the course of the next few days go through the paper and write up my own summary (of course, the underlying premise being that I can understand the legalities). Until then, you can browse through Ars Technica and read the official report and/or the official summary.

Explore the Ars Technica treasure trove of tech articles [here]

The Ars Technica page hosting the report on the Harvard Law School study can be found [here]

The full 100 page study can be found [here] and a summary can be found [here].

teaser -
"The paper looks at a number of interesting issues, including the convergence of copyright and contract, the legal cushioning that props up Digital Rights Management Technologies (e.g., the DMCA), and fair use. The paper begins by outlining how contracts are being used to restrict the normal freedom given to users by copyright law in general. Contract trumps copyright, at least in the United States and Europe, which means the courts will typically arbitrate disputes based on contract and not intellectual property law per se. This is already an interesting development because of what we tend to call the shrink-wrap phenomenon: digital content is being sold in a manner more akin to software than tangible content, although even there, software buyers typically have more rights. One of the biggest legal questions to arise out of the DMCA and DRM-efforts relates to how these technologies conspire to essentially shut down or make exceedingly difficult the right of second sale of protected content.The paper rightly notes that the US and Europe, acting in order to fulfill the demands of the WIPO, are drafting and enforcing laws designed to trump fair use by making it illegal to circumvent DRM. The chain works loosely as follows: copyright is trumped by contractual law, which seeks to restrict fair use in legal terms, which then backs up that by requiring adherence to the rules that are technologically enforced by DRM, which itself is protected by laws such as the DMCA in the US and the EU Copyright Directive in Europe."

1 comment:

Z said...

Aww, interesting ! I love Ars Technica!