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The spectacular success of electronic commerce in recent years has seen an explosion in the availability of information and entertainment products on the Internet. This distribution of `content' is expected to continue as one of the major sources of growth on the Internet in the years ahead, raising concerns over the protection of content owners' rights. While the complex copyright problems of the Internet have generated plenty of literature and legislative initiatives, many important issues still remain unresolved. Rights holders in the online marketplace thus remain vulnerable to digital piracy and other forms of unauthorised use. Concerns over the effectiveness of the copyright system in a digital environment have inspired content providers to look for alternative protection regimes or strategies. These alternatives, such as the protection afforded by contract law and information technology, comprise important elements of the Electronic Copyright Management System (ECMS), a fully automated system of secure distribution, rights management, monitoring and payment of copyright-protected content currently being developed. Perhaps the largest multidisciplinary study conducted on ECMS