Discovery Guides Areas


Internet Publishing and Digital Rights:
The Changing Balance between Access and Ownership

(Released July 2004)

  by Alison Knight  


Key Citations

Web Sites




BBC: This, the public service British broadcasting organization, was founded in 1922 and is formally known as the British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC services are used by over 90% of the UK population every week, and include a wide range of distinctive program and services, free of commercial interests and political bias. They include television, radio, national, local, children, educational, language and other services for key interest groups. (Based on BBC website:

Campaign for Digital Rights: A group of citizens concerned about control over digital media; they oppose proposed laws, regulations and technological systems that they believe will make digital media more expensive, less useful, less diverse and less democratic. It supports freedom of speech online, positive fair use rights for copyrighted material, narrowing anti-circumvention laws, and honest labelling of copy-protected CDs. (Based on Campaign for Digital Rights website:

Copyright: Legal protection provided to authors and/or publishers against unauthorised copying of their work.

Creative Commons: Creative Commons's current and future projects aim to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules. Creative Commons was founded in 2001 with the support of the Center for the Public Domain. It is led by a Board of Directors that includes cyberlaw and intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll, Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, and Lawrence Lessig, MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson, lawyer-turned-documentary filmmaker-turned-cyberlaw expert Eric Saltzman, documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, Japanese entrepreneur Joi Ito, and public domain web publisher Eric Eldred. Creative Commons is now housed at and receives support from Stanford Law School, and is sustained by the contributions of supporters. (Based on Creative Commons website:

Culture industry: Diverse forms of popular culture, from Hollywood cinema to jazz, were described in the 1940s by The Frankfurt School of Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer as a single culture industry that ensures the continued obedience of the masses to market interests. They described the culture industry as an iron system that occupies consumers leisure time with amusements designed to enable them to bear the exhaustion and boredom of their increasingly rationalized and mechanized work. As culture is used by capitalism to control the individual consciousness, it too becomes "industrialized" and commodified. (Partly based on a web article by Brian Grant The Commodification Of Culture And Its Implications For The Television Industry: An Examination Of The Culture Industry Thesis Available URL:

Digital rights management: A type of server software developed to enable secure distribution, and prevent illegal distribution, of paid content over the Web. Digital rights management (DRM) technologies are being developed as a means of protection against the online piracy of commercially marketed material, which has proliferated through the widespread use of Napster and other peer-to-peer file exchange programs. (Based on Whatis.Coms TargetSearch encyclopaedia website:

Encryption: The coding of data for security purposes, especially when transmitting over telecommunication systems.

Information society: A society in which information becomes the main product or essential to other products, with a recognition that organizations success depends on the ability to exploit information, and most workers depend on information flow to perform their jobs. In practice, information is heavily dependent on computerised processes and the internet.

Intellectual property rights: Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programmes. (Based on World Intellectual Property Organization website:

Moral copyright: Moral rights include the authorsright to be associated with the work by name or pseudonym, the right to remain anonymous, the right not to have their names associated with work the authorsdid not originate, and the right to retain the integrity of the work: that is, to stop the work from being distorted, mutilated or modified, to the prejudice of the authorshonour or reputation, or from being used in association with a product, service, cause or institution.

Napster: This began in 1999 as an idea in the head of US teenager Shaun Fanning and revolutionised the relationships between Internet, the music industry and intellectual property. Napster was then a controversial service that spurred what is still one of the greatest Internet-related debates: just because we can get the music we want without paying for it, should we? The original Napster had to close because it violated copyright, but it is now back in business as a legal, pay-per-song music-download site. Napster is a peer-to-peer system, where each individual computer is both a receiver and a sender of information like MP3 files, dissertations, or recipes. This is a huge difference from traditional Web sites, in which most users only receive information from a central server, a method that makes it easy to keep tabs on content, usage, and payments. But with peer-to-peer computing, once you index each individual's files (which is how Napster operates), you have created a source of information that others can tap into, and in which usage and payments are difficult to track. (Partly based on Napster website:, and on HowStuffWorks website:

Passwords: Words, codes or sets of characters used to identify a user and permit access to a computer system.

Patents: "A patent for an invention is a document granted by a government to the inventor, giving the inventor the right for a limited period to stop others from making, using or selling the invention without the permission of the inventor. When a patent is granted, the invention becomes the property of the inventor, which - like any other form of property or business asset - can be bought, sold, rented or hired. Patents are territorial rights: UK Patent will only give the holder rights within the United Kingdom and rights to stop others from importing the patented products into the United Kingdom. " (From UK Patents website:

Peer-to-peer networks: A file-sharing technique often abbreviated as P2P, a type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities and users have access to the public files on all other workstations. This differs from client/server architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving others. Peer-to-peer networks are generally simpler, but they usually do not offer the same performance under heavy loads.

Plagiarism: Copying or reproducing someone else's work and claiming it is original.

Trademarks and service marks: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes a particular product from others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Note: The glossary was compiled by Peter Ellway, Editorial Manager, A&I Content, East Grinstead. Unless separately acknowledged, the Glossary entries are from, or based on, the definitions in Concise Dictionary of Library and Information Science by Stella Keenan and Colin Johnston, second edition, 2000 (London: Bowker-Saur).