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The "Rights" in Digital Rights Management (09 Sep 2004)
Concern in digital libraries has turned from, How will we digitize materials, store them and make them available? to, How do we manage the rights along with the materials? Before we can answer that, we need a clear idea of what we mean by rights. This turns out to be a much harder question to answer than, What is the ideal compression algorithm for digital images? Rights takes us into areas of law and business that many of us in libraries have studiously avoided in the past. These are also areas that were not necessary for us to understand, at least not in as much detail, when dealing with analog materials.

In this article I reprise the short taxonomy of rights, and technologies that attempt to express those rights, that I introduced in the white paper on digital rights languages produced under contract for the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress [1]. Obtaining clarity on what we mean by rights and the various approaches to those rights will help us in the process of finding solutions that are appropriate to the library context.
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