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This book examines the social context of new digital rights management (DRM) technologies in a lively and accessible style. It sets out the scope of DRM in non-technical terms and then explores the shifts that DRM has produced within the regime of protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs).
Focusing on the social norms around the protection of IPRs, it examines the music industry and software development sector to ask whether the protections established by DRM are legitimate and socially beneficial. Using these key examples to establish a more general argument, the book's central conclusion is that rather than merely re-establishing threatened rights, the development of DRM has extended the rights of intellectual property owners, and that such an extension violates previous carefully balanced political compromises as regards the maintenance of the public domain.