Is Digital Text-Watermarking the Long-Desired User Friendly Digital Rights Management? Copyright and Fundamental Values from a Comparative Perspective

European Intellectual Property Review, published by Sweet & Maxwell, 2016.

21 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2016

See all articles by Jessica C. Lai

Jessica C. Lai

Victoria University of Wellington

Christoph B. Graber

University of Zurich, Faculty of Law; Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Date Written: November 12, 2015

Abstract

Many have argued that technologies used to protect copyrighted works usually go beyond the letter of the law and subsequently impinge on interests relating to freedom of information and expression, privacy and free choice. Classic examples are technologies that prevent CDs or DVDs from being accessed or copied under certain conditions, or that block or filter-out copyright-protected materials. This article assesses digital text-watermarking, which does not restrict users’ access to or use of works, but individualises every user’s copy by changing the formatting or words in a text (e.g. “not visible” for “invisible”). Every purchaser/user receives a unique version of the work, meaning that, if there is any illegal upload or usage, it is possible to determine which user the copy came from. The technology thereby allows legal (and illegal) use to be undertaken, but serves as a tool for enforcement when there is illegal use. This article assesses digital text-watermarking from a comparative law perspective, particularly the Civil Law and the Common Law traditions.

Keywords: digital text-watermarking, copyright enforcement, intellectual property protection, individualisation of work copies

JEL Classification: K10, K11, K42

Suggested Citation

Lai, Jessica C. and Graber, Christoph B., Is Digital Text-Watermarking the Long-Desired User Friendly Digital Rights Management? Copyright and Fundamental Values from a Comparative Perspective (November 12, 2015). European Intellectual Property Review, published by Sweet & Maxwell, 2016., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703815 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2703815

Jessica C. Lai

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington
New Zealand

Christoph B. Graber (Contact Author)

University of Zurich, Faculty of Law ( email )

Treichlerstrasse 10
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.ius.uzh.ch/en/staff/professorships/alphabetical/graber/person.html

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/cgraber

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