Saturday, November 04, 2006

Putting a course on content together (7)

Having treated the economic aspect of content, a very important aspect should not be forgotten: legal aspects of content.

In the analogue world content, regardless of its form, is often protected by copyright. Besides it was not easy to copy. This became easier with copying machines. But in the digital era copying has become easier. Especially the music and movie industries have had problems with illegal copying. Kazaa has to dig into ito coffers to pay music publishers. Some newspaper publishers put columns intended for print editions online without consent and compensation.

But the problems become more complex. Deep-linking is one of the problems areas. And Google got under fire recently from European newspaper publishers for its referring news items to the online paper; Microsoft took a precaution and removed all the French and German newspaper links. Traditional publishers are stringently protecting their content.

But there are springing up new ways of protecting content. One of the new ways is creative commons. This regulation makes it possible to use material of authors, filmers, broadcasters and musicians in order to improve artefacts or to make variations on them. A photograph can be borrowed for illustration of an article, while the photographer can decide upon the conditions. Recently the use of photographs, protected under a creative commons licence, was declared illegal, as the photographs could only be used in a non-commercial situation.

In the meantime the legal aspect of content has been translated in digital rights management (DRM) systems. With these DRM systems content can be protected against illegal use; but information can also be promoted; e-books readers can be allowed to read one chapter to wet the appetite. And more legal systems are coming up. The Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) initiative surrounds creation of an automated enabling system by which publishers can grant permissions to search engines to recognise and use their content, bringing legitimacy to the current situation.


Blog Posting Number: 559

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