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C-2-C Project

Creator-to-Consumer in a Digital Age

Published Research

Series Two

Book 2.4
Digital Rights Management and Content Creation
Edited by Bill Cope and Robin Freeman

At the beginning of the 21st century our ability to create content, in its many diverse forms, and to circulate that content through media both new and old, has been greatly enhanced by the development and widespread use of new technologies.

But the ease with which that dissemination can be achieved brings with is its own particular set of problems. The rights of creators to an appropriate reward for their efforts and the rights of consumers to free and open access to certain kinds of educational and cultural content must both find protection within a system that potentially allows open and free access to anything stored within it.

The digital rights management solution to this dichotomy requires development of sophisticated techniques such as granularisation of content, automation of content managements and microtransactions within the ecommerce field, to keep in balance the rights of all creative and commercial participants along the supply chain from the creator to the consumer. This book discusses the impact of the digital content creation technologies on the world or writing, the ownership of the writing and the commercial management of that writing.

Just what the role of traditional players will be and how they will need to adjust their businesses in order to participate in the new knowledge economy is currently being worked through, and the future may well see a new order on which certain kinds of writers and certain kinds of writers and certain kinds of publications will prosper enormously within the digital environment.

The material in this volume has been developed as part of a wider collaborative research project entitled 'Future Markets and Future Products in the Book Production Industry: A program of New Knowledge Creation, Supply Chain-wide Awareness and Cultural Change', undertaken by Common Ground Publishing in partnership with RMIT University.

Our research is funded under the Infrastructure and Industry Growth Fund (IIGF) and the Book Production Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS) Grant of the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Science and Resources.


Changes in the book production supply chain throw up critical issues for the production of the content for which books and book-like alternatives are merely media. These fall principally into two areas:

  1. Issues of intellectual property management in a context of the increasing copying of printed books, and the implications of the e-book file sharing along the lines of those faced in the music industry (the Napster scenario).
  2. Issues of text creation: new skills and new knowledge for new formats. For instance, in the online environment the author will increasingly become the typesetter and the metadata creator.

Research tasks for this area of the C-2-C project included:

  1. Mapping the changes occurring in key areas of digital rights management. This will involve documenting relevant cases of litigation, tracking DRM systems available, and identifying gaps and inconsistencies between Australian and international laws.
  2. Analysis of current and emerging IP protection strategies: CAL, user agreements, digital file encryption etc.
  3. New content development skills and processes in the digital print and e-book environments: creator-as-typesetter; author involvement in metadata creation; hypertext, non linear writing and interactive books in the e-book environment, etc.
  4. Implications for the book production process of 'cutting edge' developments at the creator and consumer ends of the supply chain, including: an investigation of the success or otherwise of recent 'dot.com' publishing enterprises; the types of creator and consumer relationships that are emerging in the world of e-text and digital publishing; and the role of intermediaries in the publishing supply chain, including how they change and to what extent the changes impact on the industry as a whole.

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