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Copyright, rights management systems and the device paradigm1

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Rights Management Systems rely on, and utilize, copyright law in a (necessarily) formal and technological fashion. In doing so, however, such systems exhibit a use and consideration of copyright law as a mere device, a phrase used by Albert Borgmann to describe technologies that focus only on the end of any technological process, as opposed to involving both the important means and ends. This consideration and use of copyright law is damaging because law is generally, and should be, a focal thing, a phrase used by Borgmann to describe technologies that incorporate both the means to an end and the end in itself. An additional problem with Rights Management Systems is that the subject matter with which they are concerned, digitized information goods, also experiences a shift in their consideration and use, from being considered and used as a focal thing to being considered and used as a device.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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