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RealTime IT News

DRM Conference to Tackle Content Rights Issues

By Ron Miller

Media industry professionals, academics and intellectual property experts are gathering in New York City this week for Digital Rights Management (DRM) Strategies 2004, a conference focusing on the legal, technical and social implications of DRM.

The three-day event, produced by Jupitermedia (the parent of this Web site), is being held at the Crowne Plaza Times Square.

It focuses on five main themes: DRM overview; DRM markets; legal issues; the economics of DRM (who is going to pay for it); and cutting edge DRM technology.

Conference chair Bill Rosenblatt, president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies and managing editor of DRMWatch.com, thinks DRM is poised to gain mainstream acceptance because of issues of piracy and a desire to control content online.

"If you want to be innovative around what the Internet can do for content distribution -- and it can do a lot compared to traditional media because it's so flexible, cheap and instantaneous -- then you need to include DRM," Rosenblatt said. "Without it, you lose control and everyone can get at your content for free."

The conference is aimed at digital product developers, corporate technical security workers (particularly in financial services and healthcare), intellectual property attorneys and IT and strategy executives from the media world.

It features a mix of speeches, workshops and panel discussions from the DRM luminaries led by keynote speakers, Michael Miron, co-chair of the Board of Directors and CEO at DRM company ContentGuard, and Jupiter Research analysts Peter Sargent and Todd Chanko.

Panel discussion participants include Shira Perlmutter, vice president and associate general counsel for Intellectual Property Policy at Time Warner. In her previous job at the U.S. Copyright Office, Perlmutter advised Congress during the drafting of the controvertial Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

She will be joined on the Digital Copyright debate panel by Robert Kasunic, principal legal advisor, U.S. Copyright Office and Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of communications studies at NYU and author of "The Anarchist in the Library."

Rosenblatt said Vaidhyanathan is a critic of big media's use of copyright law.

"This is going to be fireworks," Rosenblatt said. "These people are not likely to break down into a shouting match because they are reasonable people, but they are also impassioned and very articulate."

Rosenblatt is leading a comprehensive overview of the conference on Monday as part of the pre-conference activities.

"The workshop is really for people who are new to DRM to give them an overview of the field, but it would also be beneficial for people who know something about it, but want to understand the entire show's content. Part of the program is to talk about the conference agenda and put it in some context," Rosenblatt said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the conference is organized by topic with part of each day organized to look into a different aspect of DRM in greater detail.