Distributed Intellectual Property Rights


By: Nicholas BENTLEY

Mail: Nicholas(at)commonrights.com

May 2004

Distributed Intellectual Property Rights


Abstract 4

1. - Introduction. 5

1.1 - Background. 5

1.2 - Is creativity work?. 6

2. - Intellectual Products. 6

2.1 - How is the intellectual product traded?. 8

2.2 - Regulating the intellectual component 10

3. - Trading rights in intellectual property. 12

3.1 - The DIPR system: 13

3.2 - Author Rights Office (ARO): 15

3.3 - Consumer Rights Office (CRO): 16

3.4 - Issuing identifications: 16

3.5 - Structure of the Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) 17

3.6 -The importance of two unique identifiers: 17

3.7 - Intellectual Property Rules. 18

4. - How does this proposal address today’s copyright issues?. 19

4.1 - Distributed intellectual Property Rights vs. Copyright 19

4.1.1 - Exclusive right to copy. 20

4.1.2 - ‘Fixing’ 20

4.1.3 - Publication. 20

4.1.4 - Archiving. 20

4.1.5 - ‘First sale’ 20

4.1.6 - The social pact 21

4.1.7 - ‘Fair use’ / ‘Fair dealing’ 22

4.2 - Pirate copies. 22

4.3 - Privacy. 24

4.4 - Will it work – Is it feasible?. 25

5. - Conclusions. 25

Appendix 1 – Common Rights / Collective Rights. 27

Appendix 2 – Evolutionary Theory. 29

Theoretical analysis of Distributed Intellectual Property Rights. 29

Digital replicators. 29

Digital environment 30

Simple analysis of some digital replicators. 30

Conclusions from replicator analysis. 31

Extended phenotypes at work. 32

An Evolutionarily Stable Strategy. 33

Virtual ESS – Digital Stability. 33

Appendix 3. – Feasibility Evaluation. 35

A3.1 – Is the proposal technically feasible?. 35

A3.2 - What are the incentives to circumvent legal and technical protections for all parties in the transaction?. 36

A3.3 - What is the burden of monitoring for compliance in the system, and on which parties does this burden fall?. 36

A3.4 - What is the efficiency of the collection and distribution of funds from consumers to rights holders?. 36

A3.5 - What are the impacts on user privacy and fair use?. 36

A3.6 - What is the feasibility of legal enforcement, both domestically and internationally?. 36

End Notes: 39


Distributed Intellectual Property Rights is a proposed system for regulating intellectual property that replaces the copy-based model of Copyright with a rights-based model. A new regime for our digital world that still grants the original author some singular rights for a limited term but also allows consumers to acquire rights to the intellectual product and protects the common right of access for all.

Copyright originated in an age where the expression of the intellectual product in physical form, such as a book, intrinsically helped to limit and regulate the copying of the creative product. This allowed the copyright regime, where society grants sole reproduction rights to the author for a limited term, to function successfully over the last two centuries. Today the situation is changing, in this information age where digital information can be easily copied at minimal cost this natural physical limitation to unauthorised copying is removed. It is therefore time to reconsider the principle of the copyright model.

Copyright, by definition, regulates the physical copying of the intellectual product not the use and access to the intangible intellectual content itself. The system proposed here changes the regulatory emphasis to identifying and protecting the creative content, the intangible intellectual component of the intellectual product. This new regime will grant collective rights to an intangible intellectual product and the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights (DIPR) system will regulate access to these collective rights. The 'social contract' is upheld by ensuring common rights to the intellectual content both during the term of the authors controlling interest and after the product passes into the public domain.

The DIPR regulatory environment is created by two sets of administrative offices on the Internet with the interests of those who create intellectual products represented in the 'Author Rights Office' and users rights represented in the 'Consumer Rights Office'. Persistent identifiers, attached to any physical manifestation of an intellectual product, identify the offices that record the rights of these creators and consumers and also locate metadata for the product and even copies of the product. This dual independent office structure provides protection of personal information while at the same time forging the important social links between the author and the consumer.

The change in priorities under DIPR to protecting the identification of an intellectual product rather than the physical copies makes the regulatory task easier and the rules for using the products simpler. The DIPR system also avoids some of the problems and pitfalls of any scheme that attempts to restrict the flow of digital information with controls and encryption. Some of the advantages of the DIPR system would be:

·       Clearly defined rules for using identified digital products.

·       Registered consumer rights to intellectual products.

·       Protection of all personal information.

·       Protection of the common right of access to intellectual works for education and social purposes.

·       Automatic and permanent archives of intellectual works.

·       Avoidance of technically complicated and expensive centralised access control systems.

·       Avoids the need for systems of non-discriminatory taxes on digital media and services that would then be used to provide funds to reward artists.

·       Many new marketing strategies for the rights holders who can form peer-to-peer partnerships with consumers.

·       A technical framework to support all other rights management and metadata systems.

Adopting this new regime does not necessitate abandoning copyright it merely offers authors or their agents the opportunity of publishing their work in a new environment designed for digital products. There are already examples of authors relinquishing some of their copyrights such as the Free Software Foundation and the Creative Commons. There is even evidence that P2P file sharing is not all bad news for authors and media companies; for instance it produces valuable publicity that in turn attracts new customers after they have sampled a product. The collective regime and the DIPR system formalises and extends these developments, emphasises the benefits of group ownership and responsibility for a product, produces a whole new field of business models and has the potential to limit damaging third party abuse of intellectual products.

Distributed Intellectual Property Rights

1. - Introduction

The copyright regime today appears to be troubled by many issues: How do you define a copy of a digital product while it moves through the digital environment? When is 'fair use' not fair? Should media companies be able to monitor every use of a copyrighted product? Will the same companies be forced out of business by pirating? How can we protect the free flow of information and still reward the artist? Is copyright up to the task?

As the authors of The Digital Dilemma have said:

“Given the challenges to the copyright regime posed by digital information, the committee concluded that alternatives to a copy-based model for protection of digital information deserve consideration,….” [1]

In this paper I take a broad view of regulating intellectual property in the current and future digital environments. By analyzing the structure and forms of intellectual products and the rights individuals can claim to these products I am able to propose a system which would grant rights to all, both creators and consumers, and protect the flow of information for the whole of society. This will not involve replacing copyright but rather augmenting it with a new regime which creators can choose to use to publish and distribute their creative works.

1.1 - Background

When I look at the premise of copyright law, that creative work [2] has to be fixed in a tangible form before copyright can be granted and then it is the physical copies that are regulated, I see a fundamental weakness. This premise overshadows the fact that the result of this creative work, the creative product, continues to inhabit the mind in intangible form even after its initial birth in the tangible world and it is this intangible creation which is valuable not solely its physical manifestation. I will argue that when the tangible vehicle for distributing this intangible product was a physical object, such as a book, this weakness was not apparent while today, when the vehicle is often packets of digital information (that appear to have some intangible qualities themselves), this weakness, I allude to, becomes significant.

I propose that it is time to rethink our approach to intellectual property from first principles. Hence, in this paper I analyze the structure of ‘intellectual products’, their tangible and intangible elements, and through this analysis I establish a new rationale for dealing with these products. A rational that suggests it is time to start dealing with the message rather than the medium. I then propose a digital system for implementing this rational and examine how this system can address the copyright troubles mentioned above. This new regime for intellectual products will provide a structured intellectual rights environment to protect the flow of information and provide new business models for trading and distributing intellectual property.

1.2 - Is creativity work?

For the purpose of this discussion I make the assumption that creative work is real work which requires physical time and effort on the part of the creative individual and that society agrees that the creator [3] should be rewarded for that time and effort. At a minimum the result of the creative work should be credited to the creator and in most cases the creator should be able to gain some financial benefit for his or her efforts. Copyright rewards the creators by granting them a limited monopoly over the expression of their ideas while maintaining that the actual ideas are freely available to all. I realise that there are some who argue that the expression of the ideas should also be made available to all, thus totally protecting the free flow of ideas. I do not intend to argue for or against either point of view but to show how my proposed solution guards the balance between information flow and providing incentives for creators and how it has the surprising result of addressing both. My initial discussions focus on identifying and rewarding the creative effort and I ask those with a different philosophy to bear with me for the moment.


2. - Intellectual Products

Copyright law, as it stands, only recognises the intangible [4] creative work once it is fixed in a tangible form and thereafter only regulates the expression of this work through control of the reproduction of its tangible manifestations. I find that this distinction, which copyright makes between the intangible and tangible, is not always clearly recognised and the regulation of tangible copies confuses the issue of dealing with intangible creations. It is often forgotten that it is the intangible message that is important not the distribution medium and the copyright focus on the physical medium reinforces this erroneous view. There is further confusion as to what is at stake because copyright only protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself. My intention in this section is to clarify the situation and in so doing present an improved method for defining 'copyrightable' material. This will lay the groundwork for defining what should and needs to be regulated and how. First I identify the ‘components’ of an ‘intellectual product’ and analyze how these individual components are created, combined, distributed, used, and where and when copyright is applied to this creative work.

I define an Intellectual Product as consisting of two components; the intellectual and the physical. In the case of a book [5] the intellectual component would be the 'story' and the physical components would be the paper, ink, binding, etc,.

Intellectual product  =  intellectual component  +  physical component

The intellectual component is the intangible part of the product that is the result of the creative work – The ideas, concepts, and discoveries and the expression of these elements. (Note, it is only the expression of the intellectual component that is protected by copyright.)

The physical component is the expression of the work reproduced in a physical medium and includes the physical materials used and the production work involved in creating the physical manifestation of the intellectual component.

Now, consider the sequence of events involved in creating and publishing a book and subsequent use of that book:

If an author composes a story [6] solely in his or her head, I say that they have created the intellectual component, of a new intellectual product, which is intangible, no one else, at this stage, having access to it.

Immediately the author produces a physical component, in the form of a manuscript say, the story and composition become tangible along with the manuscript. At this stage the author can claim copyright for his or her creation and in many copyright regimes, such as in the USA, copyright is established automatically. The copyright granted to the creator will protect the expression of the story in all its physical manifestations. If the one and only manuscript is now destroyed does the copyright for that story still exist? I don’t know, but I do know that the intangible story still ‘exists’ in the author’s head and no tangible copy exists. The author has the right to re-write the manuscript.

The author now exercises his or her copying-rights and publishes the manuscript in the form of a printed book. This book, a complete copy of the intellectual product,  is sold to someone else whom I call the consumer [7] . The consumer can to do the following things with this book they have purchased:

·       They can read the book and in so doing transfer the intellectual component of the intellectual product into their head.

·       They are allowed ‘fair use’ to the intellectual product such as quoting short sections of it.

·       They own the physical component of the product and can do the following with it:

o      Destroy the book.

o      Write over the pages.

o      Under the ‘first sale’ rule they can lend the book or sell it to another consumer.

Do they own the intellectual component? Not in the sense that the author owns the copyright to the original work but they appear to have some ‘right’ to hold this intellectual work in their head since they bought the book and were allowed to read it. The idea behind the story is unregulated and therefore there is no rights issue with respect to the idea but there is an issue in respect to the expression of the idea.

When this consumer subsequently sells the book they give up all access to the physical component of the intellectual product but they retain the intellectual component in their head. This consumer could have a photographic memory and so could, in theory, retain a perfect copy in their head.

The first point I make here is that this copy in the consumer’s head is intangible, just as the story was initially intangible in the author’s head. This fact is highlighted if you think of the author suddenly dying and at the same instant all the copies of the manuscript and book were destroyed. There would only be one copy left, in the head of this one consumer, and it would be intangible. This forms my argument that an intellectual product always consists of an intangible component, the intellectual component, plus, usually but not necessarily, a tangible physical component. The importance of maintaining this distinction will become clear as my theory evolves.

The second issue is that the consumer possesses this intangible copy but there is nothing to say that they bought or own any right to this copy.

In theory consumers could keep buying, reading and selling this book until everyone in the world has read it and transferred the intellectual component to their heads. Everyone would then have the ‘right’ to hold the intangible intellectual component in their head although, of course, only one of them, plus the author, would have access to the whole intellectual product to refresh their head-held copy. In other circumstances consumers could just keep lending this one-and-only book indefinitely with the same result but with no money changing hands.

Therefore, in the current circumstances and with the above definition of an intellectual product everyone has the ‘right’ to an intangible copy of the intellectual component. I call this ‘right’ the ‘common right’ to the intellectual product and it is available to all. Copyright already recognises that the idea is unprotected but I would say that the 'expression' of that idea in intangible form is also unprotected.

In practice, because of wear and tear, time scales and other conditions, one printed book does not travel around the world as described above and a good story will sell many copies but I suspect there is still plenty of lending and reselling going on.

In this section I have identified the two components of an intellectual product, the intellectual and physical components, and I have demonstrated how the intellectual component remains a separate entity even when it is reproduced in a physical manifestation and how, in practice, everyone is given a common right to the intangible intellectual component providing they can obtain a legal physical copy at some stage.

2.1 - How is the intellectual product traded?

Now I examine how current copyright law regulates the intellectual product and its components.

Copyright regulates the copying of the physical component of the intellectual product by granting the copyright holder exclusive right to copy for the term of the copyright period. Assuming this regulation is enforced and enforceable, all trading of the intellectual product involves trading of physical objects that are produced by the rights holder or their agent. These physical objects are the physical manifestation of the intellectual product. The principles of trading physical objects, such as a teapot, are well recognised and these principles work in just the same manner for the physical manifestation of an intellectual product such as a printed book.

In the case of printed books these physical trading conditions work quite well in the cause of copyright because society is relatively successful at applying the copying regulations to books. Books are expensive and difficult to produce, needing special equipment and materials, and few people will be able to undertake illegal reproduction. Enforcing the regulations with only a small number of offenders is therefore relatively easy. Others have identified these self-regulating effects:

“In the past, the very nature of the distribution media limited fraudulent dissemination (i.e. copy degradation, reproduction costs, trace ability, etc).” [8]

“Digital copies are also perfect replicas, each a seed for further perfect copies. One consequence is an erosion of what were once the natural barriers to infringement, such as the expense of reproduction and the decreasing quality of successive generations of copies in analogue media. The average computer owner today can easily do the kind and the extent of copying that would have required a significant investment and perhaps criminal intent only a few years ago.” [9]

Consider now that this ‘book’ is published in digital form on a compact disk (CD). In this case it is a very special CD that protects its content in such a way that it can never be copied and only ever viewed by one consumer at a time. The physical trading conditions described above for the printed book would also apply to this CD. In fact, regulating this special, copy protected, CD should be more successful than the printed book that could have been illegally copied from time to time. Is it possible to create a special CD such as this?  I think not.

Now consider this same ‘book’ published in digital form on the Internet. There are now no physical characteristics that inhibit copying of the digital manifestation of the intellectual product. I argue that the same conditions exist for this product as in the two cases above except for the fact that regulating the copying of the product becomes very difficult. The fact that multiple copies [10] have to be allowed for the system to operate further complicates the regulatory process. Many consumers will be tempted to hang-on to a digital copy, after they have traded it on, so that they won’t have to go to the bother of borrowing the product back when they want to refresh their memories. Further copies will tend to rest in computer memory or backup systems if not specifically deleted.

It seems to me that these digital copies, the physical manifestation of the intellectual product, have suddenly taken on some of the characteristics of the intangible intellectual component - they rest with each consumer as the intellectual product as a whole is traded, lent, or otherwise distributed through society.

This is to say that, today it is so easy to make a digital copy and sometimes difficult to delete all temporary and backup copies that the consumer can be forgiven for thinking that the digital copy equates to the intangible copy in their head. The digital copy equates to the intangible copy that they appear to be allowed to keep. The fact that most individuals also find it difficult to completely remove an idea from their mind, once they have heard of it, only reinforces the parallel.

My definition, in the section above, of the intellectual product is:

Intellectual product  =  intellectual component  +  physical component

Now the digital manifestation of the intellectual product tends to equate solely to the intellectual component and only appears to have the traditional physical characteristics at some point during a transfer from one individual to another:

Digital product = intellectual component + (ephemeral physical component)

The Digital Object Identifier Handbook alludes to these less tangible manifestations - “A DOI can also be used to identify less tangible manifestations, the digital files that are the common form of all intellectual property in the network environment.” [11]

No wonder that the copyright system is under pressure in these digital times when the physical component it attempts to regulate all but disappears – it tends to become intangible. Current efforts to improve the digital copyright situation, from the producer’s point of view, are aimed at increasing the ‘inefficiencies’ [12] or barriers in the digital distribution system to try to make copying of the digital product more difficult, make the product more tangible, and therefore make regulation easier. These inefficiencies take the form of encrypting files, adding watermarks, and centralised hardware and software control systems. In many economic models reducing the efficiency of information distribution adds a social-welfare [13] cost and this on the whole, I believe, is not a good result.  In addition these artificial barriers to copying will probably only have a short term impact because there will always be someone who will devise a method of bypassing the restrictions. [14]

Inefficiencies in the distribution system cost time and money and surely no one wants this. If the digital system involves equivalent costs, delays and inconvenience as obtaining a physical book what is the advantage of going to the digital system?

I have previously shown that it is accepted by society that the intellectual component is available to all as a common right therefore it seems very difficult to understand why the digital manifestation, which has more and more of the same characteristics as the intellectual component, should not also be available to all. [15] This position, which has evolved with the emergence of the digital age, is the crux of the current copyright problem; as the physical component becomes pervasive it becomes less important and copyright control less effective. In the next section I propose a new ‘copyright’ philosophy based the intellectual component of the intellectual property.

2.2 - Regulating the intellectual component

The solution is to look at the roles of all the components of the intellectual product when considering the production, distribution and trading of an intellectual product.

In my view, it is the intellectual creative component that holds the value for this is the ‘thing’ that the creator would want to be rewarded for or at least identified with. If the story could pass directly from the creator’s head to the consumer’s head the costs of producing the physical components would make no sense at all. Therefore the trading in intellectual products should focus on the intellectual component and not on the physical component as it has done in the past. As Jessica Litman has argued:

"Most fundamentally, I would argue, we need to fasten on some measure of a copyright holders' rights other than the familiar reproduction. The act of reproducing is no longer a useful proxy for the question whether a copyright owner's incentives have been injured, or even insulted. We need to consider alternatives to measuring copyright infringement in terms of unauthorized copies." [16]

The regulatory focus should be on the ‘story’ - not the book, disk, or digital copy in an electronic system.

My proposal, to make this transition from trading the physical component to trading the intellectual component, is that we trade the intangible intellectual component in just the same way that society handles other intangibles such as bank accounts and stocks and shares. In all these cases the original owner is registered, the product identified, and when others buy rights to or shares in these products or businesses these transactions are also registered.

In the case of intellectual property it should be the identified transfer of some limited rights to a unique manifestation of the intellectual product that are traded and this trade in an ‘intangible manifestation’ is registered and regulated.

I am saying that any consumer purchasing a legal copy of a intellectual product should have some identified legal right to the intellectual component even if it is only reading the book once and transferring a single copy to his or her head.

The consumer is recognised as having to have at least some identified intellectual right to adsorb the product into his or her head, whereas, at preset, the purchaser of a physical book, for instance, had no identified right to extract the intellectual component from the book. As I have shown, at the same time, somewhat paradoxically, the intellectual component is ‘unregulated’, as Lawrence Lessig [17] would say, and everyone has the non-identified-right, what I call the common right, to the intellectual component. Anyone can borrow a copy of the book and read it, for example.

Under this new regime, that I am proposing here, everyone will still have the non-identified, unregulated, common right to the intellectual material, the intellectual component of the intellectual product, but will also be able to purchase identified rights to this material. I also refer to these identified rights as collective rights [18] to an intellectual product and I analyze this idea further in the section on ‘Common and Collective Rights’ (see appendix 1.).

What would be the advantages of this new regime? I believe they are many benefits and I will discuss many of the advantages toward the end of this paper. Two particular benefits are:

The ‘recognised’ consumer, who has purchased the product, has what appears to be the minimal benefit of the identified right to absorb the intellectual product into his or her head. This right becomes significant when you consider that, in principle, it provides access to the complete product, on-demand, from the time of purchase onwards. In the digital age, this access should be nearly instantaneous and not dependent on the consumer’s location or the hardware they are using.

The second benefit comes when you consider illegal trading and copying as opposed to general use. The legal and moral situation will be extremely clear [19] . If you have not purchased a registered copy of the intellectual product you have absolutely no rights to do anything with the physical component - not to make copies, lend it, trade it, nothing. For the consumer who has purchased the minimum identified right to the intellectual component they can make unlimited physical copies to protect their access to the intellectual product. Compare this to the current situation that varies from no copies being allowed of some manifestations (books), to maybe one copy for analogue recordings, to an uncountable, but limited number, for digital files.

What system could regulate all these ‘collective rights’ in an intellectual property? I will now describe a practical system which takes advantage of digital techniques, the Internet, and the equivalence between a digital manifestation of an intellectual product and its intellectual component. The system itself does not define any rights, that is left for society to decide, but it allows any rights that are granted to be transferred or traded in a regulated manor.

3. - Trading rights to intellectual property

I name my system ‘Distributed Intellectual Property Rights (DIPR)’ which is slightly longwinded but a more accurate than continuing to use the term copyright. Copying-rights only form a small part of the system.

In addition to recording and regulating the intellectual rights to the intellectual product, as described in the section above, the DIPR system also considers the following requirements to be necessary for an effective scheme.

  • Recognise that it takes work to formulate and present a new idea or intellectual product and that the creator of that product has rights over their creation: the right to have it identified as their work, the right to trade in it with others.
  • Help users to identify the product and its creator and the consumer’s obligation to reward the creator for using the product.
  • Protect the free flow of information.
  • Use technology to make the legal route for obtaining the product easier [20] than the illegal route!
  • Protect the rights and privacy of all parties: creators, artists, producers, distributors, and consumers.
  • Allow the new system to evolve from the today’s practices and standards in such a way that it can accommodate all current digital products as well as new formats. If possible the new system should include existing product identification systems and enhance or extend current Electronic Copyright Management Systems.[43]
  • Use the open standards and interconnectivity of cyberspace to maximum advantage.

The first principle behind the DIPR system is that the acquisition of some identified rights in an intellectual product by a consumer will involve the creator/owner and the consumer exchanging unique identifications. These identifications will form part of the digital manifestation of the product and will also be recorded in secure databases as part of the regulation process. These unique, regulated, physical, identifications will re-establish a true physical component in the digital form of an intellectual product. Thus:

Digital product = intellectual component + physical identifiers

The creator will own one of these unique, tangible, identifiers which will identify them as the author and the principle rights holder and the consumer will own the second which in turn establishes their identified right to access the intangible intellectual component.

The second principle is that, after this exchange has been completed, unlimited copies in the name of this registered consumer are allowed, providing that the identifications and the product remain unmodified and intact.

3.1 - The DIPR system:

The unique identifications for the creator and the consumer will, together, form a Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) field added to the digital copy of the product that in turn will form a unique manifestation of the intellectual product.  The secure databases, which make a record of the identifications, form a system of 'administrative offices' added to the Internet structure.

To see how the above structure will evolve, first regard the following diagram that outlines the distribution of digital products over the Internet today:

Figure 1: Digital Product Distribution Today

The desired product distribution pattern is that digital products move directly from the product owner or via their distributor to the users, or consumers, while payments flow back to reward the creator. The secondary distribution of products between users and the flow of personal user information back to the product owners are less desirable aspects of the current situation.

This next diagram shows product distribution in the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights environment with its system of administrative offices:

Figure 2: Digital Product Distribution DIPR

The fundamental feature of this new system is the administrative offices, of which there are two types (the Author Rights Office and the Consumer Rights Office), and there can be any number of each type of office (In appendix 2. I propose a theory, based on evolutionary principles, that emphasizes the need for the dual office structure and the use of two identifiers for each product manifestation). This office structure helps limit the amount of personal information that flows back to the product owners and ensures that most of the products will be identified with a Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) as I will explain later.

3.2 - Author Rights Office (ARO):

The author rights office will act for the artist, creator, or legal owner of the intellectual product. It will contain details of the product, the owner and a copy of the product. The recorded details should be sufficient to uniquely identify the product and the owner and, possibly, subject to relevant international treaties, could be the official rights record – the point where the intellectual product is published and ‘fixed’ in a tangible form. It is possible that a unique Product Identification code could also be used or applied but this is not essential for effective operation of the DIPR system.

The second function of the author rights office is to accept requests for the allocation of consumer rights to the product and permanently record consumer rights office identification and the consumer rights office local identifier against this product. The structure of these identifiers is defined later.

A third function would be to confirm the valid registered-right from then on – when, for whatever reason, the legal owner of the identified product needs to confirm ownership. A valid registered-right would consist of a complete matching PRD and copy of the intellectual product itself.

In this way the author rights office would hold no details of the consumer, only a reference to a unique identification.

The author rights office functions could be performed as part of a more extensive Electronic Copyright Management System (ECMS) that would handle all additional rights or licensing requests for the intellectual product.

3.3 - Consumer Rights Office (CRO):

The consumer rights office acts solely for the user, or consumer, of the product. It records details of the consumers registered with it and allocates unique licence identification when a user obtains the rights to use a product. It will send this licence identification to the author rights office at this time and, in exchange, will receive and store the associated author rights office identification. It might also receive the product identification, if one exists, and might eventually provide a complete rights database for the user and therefore would also receive further rights information.

As with the author rights office, the consumer rights office will confirm this registration upon request so that the user can establish ownership.

As far as I know there is no equivalent of an ECMS that acts uniquely for the consumer as in this consumer rights office structure. This could promote a whole new development of consumers rights management systems which record supplementary rights purchased by users in addition to the basic identified rights obtained in the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights environment.

3.4 - Issuing identifications:

The unique identifications for the author and consumer rights offices will be in the form of a Persistent Uniform Resource Identifier and the Handle System [21] appears to be the ideal global structure for them.

A secure rights protocol, to be defined and implemented, will allow the administrative offices to exchange the author rights identification and consumer rights identification that will complete the transfer and logging of consumer’s registered-rights. Both offices would keep a transaction record including the date and time of the exchange that would provide an audit trail. The consumer will receive the unique manifestation of the intellectual product with a Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) field that contains both the author and consumer identifications.

As discussed above, in the section that defines the trading of the intellectual component of the intellectual product, the following consumers rights are granted when this uniquely identified product is issued and the identifications registered:

  • The consumer is allowed unlimited copying for their personal use.
  • They have the right to consume the intellectual component of the intellectual product. For example, when users receive a music file with a PRD registered to them they will be allowed to play that music as if they were playing a CD or record they had purchased.

There will be numerous author and consumer rights offices. Creators and distributors will be able to choose which author rights office will protect their intellectual products or even set up their own rights offices. Consumers, likewise, can choose a consumer rights office to record the transfer of product usage rights.

The duplication of the rights transfer and product information in the author and consumer rights offices will provide redundancy in the case of one of the offices' databases being lost. The lost database would become truly virtual but, in theory, could be recreated over time.

This description concerns only the basic rights transfer in the DIPR system and takes no account of the distribution of the product itself and the transfer of payments. It is feasible that one organisation could deal with many aspects of the transfer – say, promotion and sale of the product, distribution, Author Rights Office functions and the granting of additional rights through an Electronic Copyright Management System.

I also foresee that the establishment of a network of rights offices, that are obliged to be secure and provide secure communications, would provide a structure for a secure payment system. The offices could effectively become 'banks' for secure transfer of payments between consumers and providers. A system of ‘Internet banks’ such as this might allow the implementation of micropayment systems, with the low transaction costs that are required, and could even allow novel payment systems such as ‘Microrefunds [22] to operate successfully.

3.5 - Structure of the Property Rights Descriptor (PRD)

The Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) is the unique identification that is attached to every product manifestation issued in the DIPR system. It consists of, at a minimum, two unique persistent identifiers; One issued by the Author Rights Office (ARO) and the other by the Consumer Rights Office (CRO). It would have the following form:

<PRD>::= <ARO ID> “,” <CRO ID>

where  <ARO ID>::= <primary ARO identifier> “/”  <ARO local identifier>

and      <CRO ID>::= <primary CRO identifier> “/”  <CRO local identifier>

If the two identifiers were to be part of the Handle System then the primary identifiers would be the naming authorities or prefixes and the local identifiers would be the item identifiers or suffixes.

3.6 -The importance of two unique identifiers:

Each manifestation of the intellectual product could be uniquely identified with just one identifier. Why use two? The reason is that each party needs to have exclusive ownership of a product identifier. The two parties, creator and consumer, agree to ‘share’ some rights to a manifestation of the intellectual component of an intellectual product, they are not agreeing to share rights to their identifications of that product. It is the identifications that are the fixed tangible reference to an otherwise ‘intangible’ product manifestation.

A simple example can illustrate the above: A consumer wishes to change his or her consumer rights office, for whatever reason but say to an office which has a faster response time for registering products. All they need to do is change the ‘consumer rights office’ resource associated with their identification of the product. No change to the author rights office associations is required and the creator need not know of the change of consumer office. If there were only a single identification both parties would have to agree to the change and why should this be so when each party owns their rights to the product?

Most products today have only one unique identifier, say a combination of product number and serial number, which is almost certainly owned and controlled by the author or his or her agent. When this single unique identification is applied to a potentially intangible digital product the consumer is at the mercy of the owner of this identification. (See my theoretical analysis of the DIPR system for further arguments supporting the social and environmental needs for this dual office structure – appendix 2.)

3.7 - Intellectual Property Rules


In this section I list the regulations that would have to apply to the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system and the digital intellectual products described above.

As the Author and Consumer Rights Offices make-up the fundamental structure that records and identifies the rights and property ownership of both the creators and the consumers they would require high levels of security and maximum legal protection against fraudulent use or attack. Some of the legal requirements would be:

  • Author Rights Offices would have a legal responsibility to register only products that have a legal owner and record only the valid licence identifications they are given during a transaction.
  • Consumer Rights Offices would be required to only licence products to their own registered users and record only the valid product and rights information that is given to them during a rights transaction. Consumer Rights Offices would not subsequently be allowed to change the owner of individual products.
  • Both offices would be required to hold personal and commercial information in confidence.
  • There will be product ownership verification rules that each office will have to adhere to.
  • Secure transactions between offices would also be legally protected.

I foresee that these legal regulations for the administrative offices could be quite onerous, like regulations for banks and stock exchanges, but I also foresee that these stringent regulations should not impinge on the day-to-day use of the system by consumers.

The identified digital manifestations of the intellectual products will also be regulated but in a concise way so that it is clear to everyone what can and cannot be done. For example:

  •       The intellectual component of the digital product is not allowed to be reproduced separately from the PRD. (Although the digital product may be reduced to the PRD alone).
  •       The digital product cannot be traded or used in any commercial form without obtaining express permission from the creator. This, I believe, would be a departure from current copyright law where copyrighted work can be sold-on. This ‘first sale’ article was enacted to promote the dissemination of information. In this digital age there are not the same problems of distributing information as there were 200 years ago. (More on this in the next section under the ‘first sale’ heading).
  •       The consumer who owns an identified manifestation of a digital product may lend a copy to another consumer, who would be identified in the DIPR environment as a consumer claiming their common rights, but this third party has no rights over the physical digital product only the unregulated common right to the intellectual component. The lender would be responsible for identifying the recipient in the DIPR system.
  •       The digital product can be converted form one digital medium to another providing both mediums support the PRD structure and the intellectual content and its PRD are not modified in the process.
  •       Modifying the digital product, which is made up of the intellectual component and a PRD is only allowed if special rules are adhered to.

Today there is a time limit on copyrightable material and this should continue in the DIPR system but I believe the PRD identification should stay with the product indefinitely, either as the original existing PRD, or maybe a better solution would be to have an Author Rights Office available to issue free PRD to products with lapsed copyright or collective right status.

4. - How does this proposal address today’s copyright issues?

In this section I discuss the many issues and concerns involving the copyright process today and analyze how the Distributed Intellectual Property Right system, proposed here, might address some of these issues. First, how does the protection of intellectual property in the DIPR system compare to the protection afforded under traditional copyright? (I have another discussion of rights, copyright, and the DIPR system in 'Rights in Copyright')

4.1 - Distributed intellectual Property Rights vs. Copyright

Copyright protects the expression of an idea or concept not the idea itself and this feature of copyright protection is not changed in the DIPR system. The significant difference between Copyright and DIPR is that Copyright only regulates physical copies while DIPR regulates the expression of the work in both the intangible and tangible form. Now I analyze how this change affects various areas of the copyright regime.

4.1.1 - Exclusive right to copy

Copyright grants the rights holder the exclusive right to copy the physical component of the intellectual product. The DIPR system grants the rights holder the exclusive right to authorise others to copy an identified physical manifestation.

4.1.2 - ‘Fixing’

The intellectual creative work has to be ‘fixed’ in tangible (physical) form before copyright is granted. In the DIPR system the intellectual work is fixed when it is first registered in an Author Rights Office.

4.1.3 - Publication

Fixing the intellectual product in the author rights office is not necessarily publishing the product. The product will only be publicly available once it is available to the rest of the DIPR environment but once this is the case it will fulfil three important characteristics of publication – It will be public, it will be irrevocable, and provides fixed copy. Again, it is the registration in the author rights office that secures these features that are not always available to current digital products. [23]

4.1.4 - Archiving

The author rights office registration of the product will fulfil the important social function of providing a permanent public archive.

4.1.5 - ‘First sale’

Under copyright a consumer may sell-on or lend their physical copy of the intellectual product. Under the DIPR system the consumer may not sell or trade in any way their copy of the intellectual product. They could obtain special rights from the rights holder to do so but that is a different matter. Others have argued that the first sale rule has already been undermined in the digital age:

“The problem affects policy makers, because the traditional first-sale rule of copyright, an important element of public policy, is undermined by information in digital form. That rule works in the world of physical artefacts because they are not easily reproduced by individuals and are not accessible to multiple, distant viewers. But neither of these limitations holds for digital works. Consumers are affected as well, because access is accomplished by copying, and in the digital world copyright's traditional control of copying would mean control of access as well.” [24]

As I see it, the first sale rule under traditional copyright achieved two purposes – it guarded the right of an individual to trade a physical object they owned (the book) and it assisted the cause of providing ‘common rights’, to the intellectual work, for society as a whole. Under DIPR system there is no physical object to trade! The consumer only owns rights-of-access to an intangible intellectual component of an intellectual product. The physical digital manifestations of the product are only a means of transporting the intellectual component from one person to another. (As discussed above these digital manifestations tend to have intangible qualities anyway).

Nor will the consumer be allowed to sell, trade, or pass-on their unique identification to an intellectual product; it is theirs for eternity. To be fair, neither will the rights holder be allowed to relinquish their unique identification to the product. If the rights holder sells their primary right to another rights holder, say a publisher, a new rights identification will be created.

As for protecting the common right access to the product the DIPR system has no problems achieving this even if the rights holder is the only one given the right to sell copies of the intellectual work. Any identified consumer may ‘lend’ (i.e. provide temporary access without receiving any reward) a copy of the intellectual component to anyone else. In the digital age it would only need one philanthropist or public body that is prepared to lend the product to anyone with a social need and it would fulfil this common right of access. It should be noted that the lender would not be allowed to charge even marginal reproduction costs when they lend the product.

4.1.6 - The social pact

What is the status of the social pact between society and creators in the DIPR system? The aim of this pact is to encourage the creation and dissemination of information for the ultimate benefit for society.

As described in the ‘first sale’ section above the common rights of society are upheld and even improved in the DIPR environment and, in addition, there will be no need for encrypting or other protection mechanisms that hamper access to the intellectual products. The protection of common rights under the DIPR system would be of major benefit to the poor and developing countries. John Barton, a law professor at Stanford University, wants to see both rich and poor countries start thinking of IPR more as a development tool, and for them to reconsider the notion that strongly protecting the rights of inventors is automatically good for all. [25]

To earn this benefit all members of society will be obliged, both morally and legally, not to compromise the system by removing product identifiers. A major advantage of the DIPR system is that there is no benefit in removing the identifiers as there is no penalty to using an identified product in comparison to an unidentified one [26] .

In return, creators will be provided with the following benefits:

  •       A permanent public record of their work in the form of the author rights office registration.
  •       All physical copies of their work will be identified as originating with them by the PRD identifiers.
  •       This permanent identification will always allow trade between consumers and creators and help reduce illegal trading of the product that harms both creator and consumer. (I discuss this process below).

4.1.7 - ‘Fair use’ / Fair dealing

Fair use or fair dealing, as opposed to the unregulated, common right, to absorb the intellectual component, means being able to reproduce a physical portion of the intellectual product in the course of activities such as research, studies or reviewing the product.

Under the DIPR system, for the consumer who has bought an identified right to the product, fair use is built into the system as they are allowed to reproduce the product as long as its identifications remain intact. There are rules for reproducing a portion of a product.

For the consumer exerting his or her common rights to a product not registered to them the situation is more complicated. Under the DIPR system they have no right to do anything with the physical component but should they not still be allowed to quote or reproduce limited sections in the name of fair use? What it comes down to is that both the primary rights holder and the identified consumer of that particular manifestation have to ‘donate’ fair use rights to this third party. It can be argued that the rights holder is already obliged to give these fair use rights under current copyright conventions but should the identified consumer, who bought the product, be under the same obligation? Maybe the fact that they lend the product to someone means that they also donate fair use rights. A solution might be that a third party claiming fair use has to identify themselves in the DIPR environment so that they can be held accountable for using the product fairly.

4.2 - Pirate copies

I believe the conditions listed above for the proposed DIPR system protect the consumer, whether a legal purchaser or someone claiming their common right to the intellectual content, at least as well as current copyright practices and more so in many instances. The primary question for rights holders, of course, is how will the DIPR system protect their products from illegal and unpaid use.

Currently, anyone can lend or sell a copyrighted digital product, whether they bought it or not, as they only have to have possession of it to be allowed to pass it on. Keeping a copy of the product as they pass it on is illegal but many people do not understand, ignore, or think this rule does not count. "They don't understand it [copyright rules], and I don't blame them: It isn't a particularly easy set of rules to understand, and even when you understand it, it's very hard to argue that the rules make any sense - ….", says Jessica Litman [27] . Many digital products are licensed these days, presumably to bypass the first sale rules, however I am not sure that this is in the spirit of copyright or in the best interest of society.

Under the DIPR system only owners of the PRD identifications are entitled to lend the product and only the rights holder or their agent is allowed to sell the product. Anyone passing on a PRD identified product without owning one of the identifiers is acting illegally and can be challenged. Even stating that they own a product without owning an identifier could be construed as being illegal. This rule is easy to understand and the identifiers are easily verified in the DIPR environment.

There will only be one tier of lending allowed under the DIPR system, an identified consumer can lend his or her identified product to a known acquaintance, which I predict would produce a similar level of un-rewarded distribution as the first-sale rule produces in traditional copyrighted materials (say books). There is no technical impediment to the transfer of a 'common right' product at the individual level when neither party owns either of the PRD identifiers but making these products publicly available on a web site, a peer-to-peer network, or any other public space would be illegal, obvious, and identifiable and therefore could be legally challenged. A public awareness campaign could help firmly establish the principle. [28]

Consumers who hold a valid identified product could also make it publicly available on a web site, say, but the following conditions will tend to dissuade them:

  •      They would have to be prepared to demonstrate their ownership of a PRD identification.
  •      They maybe degrading the value of a product of which they own a collective 'share'.
  •      They would be obliged to identify, to the DIPR environment, all common right users who claim a copy.
  •      They are not allowed to charge or accept anything in exchange for the product they are making available to a third party. This consumer passing on the product would be obliged to cover all the reproduction, distribution, and registration costs.

This new commercial situation under DIPR, I believe, will allow numerous opportunities for the rights owners to promote sales of a product even though consumers holding legal identifications to the product will be allowed to lend many copies. The two identifications in an PRD identified product which is registered to both the creator and the consumer create a peer-to-peer link directly between this creator and consumer and allows the two parties to strike a deal which could take many forms and be of mutual benefit [29] . Such as:

  •      Creators could provide rebates on future products – therefore supporting good clients.
  •      Consumers could earn a partial refund by recommending a product to another consumer. When this second consumer purchases the product the identification of the original consumer would provide the route for the referral bonus. This recommendation process could provide valuable promotion of the creators work as both the creator and consumer have an interest in finding another consumer willing to buy.
  •      Updates and new versions could be provided automatically.
  •      The creator could provide a physical product only available to licensed consumers or give identified consumers of music products a chance in a lottery for live concert tickets for example.
  •      Identified consumers could be allowed to vote for or suggest future product enhancements.

The trading conditions listed above could also be listed under the heading ‘business models’. In the ‘Digital Dilemma’ [30] business models are identified as “A third powerful factor in the mix”, the mix of law, technology and business models for providing intellectual property protection. The collective regime and the DIPR system provides the legal and technical framework to allow this third factor, the business model, to take maximum effect.

I should say at this point that I believe that pricing policies will also play an important role in the success of these strategies, as would, easy to use, automatic, payment systems with low transaction costs. To reiterate the argument of others:

“Business models that can contribute to the protection of IP include traditional sales models (low-priced mass-market distribution with convenient purchasing, where the low price and ease of purchase make it more attractive to buy than to copy)” [31]

In addition to the above there are other benefits to owning an identified product some of which I have mentioned before:

  •       The consumer can demonstrate their legal ownership of intellectual products.
  •       Consumers will be able to manage their rights to these products.
  •       Replacement products are always available.
  •       Less likelihood of a virus in an identified product.
  •       There are no restrictions on when, where, or on what playback device they can use for the product.
  • ·       The authenticity of the work is ensured.

Third party illegal trading of an intellectual product, the circumstance which really harms the creator, consumer, and society as a whole, will be easily identified and relatively obvious to any consumer or official. For example, trading a PRD identified product without issuing a new PRD with one of the identifiers registered in the new consumers name would be illegal as would trading a PRD identified product with a false PRD. A legal PRD and its owner can be verified instantly through the administrative office structure on the Internet and why should any consumer pay for an illegal copy when they could probably obtain a free copy under their common rights to any intellectual product.

Removing all traces of the PRD from the intellectual component and then trading it will be the most difficult to recognise because it could be difficult to verify if the product was initially in the DIPR environment. The penalties for this abuse of the product should be severe for three reasons:

1.     It is cheating both the author and the consumer.

2.     Removing the PRD is illegal under the DIPR system.

3.     Trading a PRD identified product, without obtaining the rights to do so, is also illegal.

If using the DIPR system for trading intellectual products became the norm this type of abuse would become easier to detect because it would be unusual to have an unidentified product.

4.3 - Privacy

The copyright regime tends not to concern itself with the protection of individual privacy hence there appears to be a lack of protection of individual rights when Rights Management systems are implemented to track usage of intellectual products. The DIPR system ensures individual anonymity by providing the dual independent rights office structure and by making product tracking on a regular basis unnecessary.

4.4 - Will it work – Is it feasible?

To answer the question – Will the collective regime and the DIPR system proposed here protect the distribution of intellectual products and compensate the creators? I found the paper 'A Framework for Evaluating Digital Rights Management Proposals' [32] by Rachna Dhamija and Fredrik Wallenberg was a valuable resource. They pose six questions that should be used when evaluating rights management proposals. In Appendix 3., I attempt to answer these questions from the DIPR prospective although I will be the first to admit that more research is required in many areas.

Dhamija and Wallenberg accept that the information contained in an intellectual product has the characteristics of a 'public good' [33] . The DIPR system described here attempts to treat intellectual property as a public good and therefore avoids all the problems associated with trying to make intellectual products 'excludable' or 'rival' as in most rights management systems. DIPR also attempts to avoid the extremes of some other systems that treat intellectual property as a public good. For example, DIPR does not rely entirely on voluntary payments or arbitrary tax schemes. To the contrary, DIPR adopts a regulated social scheme that allows all parties to buy into the public good.

5. - Conclusions

“As usual, the devil is in the details, and by and large the past 200 years of intellectual property history have seen a successful, albeit evolving, balancing of those details. But the evolving information infrastructure presents a leap in technology that may well upset the current balance, forcing a rethinking of many of the fundamental premises and practices associated with intellectual property.” [34]

In this paper I have tried to rethink our approach intellectual property from first principles and I believe I have been successful in presenting a new view of the issues. Although, I believe, I am presenting a new comprehensive scheme I am by no means alone in suggesting change or the direction in which we should go [35] . I have proposed a rights-based model, rather than the traditional copy-based model [36] , that is specifically designed to regulate intellectual property in a digital environment.

Copyright was not designed for the digital age where the physical limits of a digital manifestation of a product are not easily defined in comparison to traditional copyright protected product such as a book. Copyright, by definition, regulates the physical copying of the intellectual product not the use of the intangible intellectual content itself. The collective regime and the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights (DIPR) system, described here, changes the emphasis to regulating the creative content, the intellectual component, of the intellectual product.

The DIPR environment is created by two sets of administrative offices on the Internet with the interests of the creators represented in the 'Author Rights Office' and the consumers rights represented in the 'Consumer Rights Office'. Persistent identifiers, which make up the Property Rights Descriptor field of a physical manifestation of an intellectual product, identify the offices that record the collective rights of these creators and consumers.

I have argued that this new scheme would, at least, regulate the distribution of digital products and provide clear rules for the use of these products and potentially provide many other benefits compared to the current situation. The DIPR system also avoids some of the pitfalls of any proposed scheme that restricts the flow of digital information with controls and encryption. Some of the advantages of the DIPR system would be; clearly defined rules for using identified digital products, registered consumer rights to intellectual products, protection of all personal information, protection of the common right of access to intellectual works, automatic and permanent archives of intellectual works and new marketing strategies for the rights holders who can form peer-to-peer partnerships with consumers.

For many this proposal will be counter intuitive as it challenges some of the traditional principles for protecting intellectual property and reverses many current efforts to limit the distribution of information and creative products but I believe that the digital products of the future should be packaged with information that identifies the source of the creativity not with ciphers that try to bottle-up the flow.

Appendix 1 – Common Rights / Collective Rights

Applying Collective Rights to Intellectual Products

We all have rights, rights are good. For example, one of the most sort after common right is the right to free speech. There is sometimes a negative connotation to the word 'right' when it is applied to intellectual property and this stems from the fact that, in most copyright regimes, rights are focused on an individual who is granted exclusive reproduction rights to a resource that has no naturally limitations in the physical world. Unlike a parcel of land, which can only support a limited number of individuals, many people can access an intangible intellectual product without physically taking anything away from other users. Therefore, why give individuals rights over this unlimited common resource? The answer has always been that these rights will provide incentives for authors to create new works and then publish them for the good of all. I propose that we maintain this incentive but that we apply rights to intellectual property in a new and more just way, while still granting the author some singular rights for a limited term others should also be able to obtain rights to the creative product.

Here I examine the common rights to intangible intellectual products and how society might apply collective rights to these products once an individual ‘creator’ has mined them.

The potential store of intellectual products waiting to be discovered is infinite and therefore everyone can truly have a common right of access to that infinite store without impinging on anyone else's access to the field. Under our current copyright regime, once an individual discovers or mines one of these products society grants this person sole reproduction rights to the physical expression of this product for a limited time. In theory, the idea or concept contained in this expression rests in the common domain and is available to everyone who can obtain a copy but no one else is allowed to reproduce the product in any form except for some 'fair use' exemptions. After the copyright term expires the expression of this intellectual property passes into the public domain and the intellectual product as a whole regains its common status.

I propose an alternative and, I believe, a more logical approach. Once an individual mines their intellectual product they should be granted a controlling interest in a collective that has rights to this intangible intellectual product. To claim this collective right the author has to produce at least one tangible representation after which he or she has a controlling interest in this collective product for a defined term. From then on they can invite others to share in this product and so join the group that has collective rights to the product. As for any collective group there are rules for each member and I lay these out in detail in my proposal for the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system.

One of the rules of this collective regime is that only the original author can use the product commercially unless they choose to pass on this right to another member of the collective. This, of course, could mean that the author stipulates that others have to pay to join the collective. Where does this leave the common right of access to this particular product for the rest of society? Well, others are still free to rediscover the product completely independently (although this is unlikely to happen for complex intellectual products), or they can join the collective under the terms offered by the author, or any member of the collective can donate [1a] common access to the product to any other member of society. If common access is donated in this fashion society as a whole has to adopt the rule that the recipient of this 'donated common access' has no rights to the product other than access, they cannot copy it, pass it on, or do anything else with it.

Each member of the collective is granted individual and exclusive property rights over their, uniquely identified, physical manifestations of the product. Therefore they are free to make any number of copies of this physical product to protect their interest in the collective intangible product and to protect their access to the product. Note that an individual group member's exclusive control over their uniquely identified physical copy does not conflict in any way with the tangible interests of other members of the collective who have their own unique physical copies.

At the end of the term of special controlling interest in the collective the author will remain in the collective, as do the other collective members, but access to the collective becomes publicly available and restrictions on the use of the product by collective members are relaxed. Effectively the product reverts to the public domain of common rights of access with the advantage over copyright that the system continues to make the product available by ensuring archive copies.

Table A1.1 - Summary of rights under copyright and collective regimes:

Type of Action which can be performed on Intellectual Product

Who has rights under each regime

Copyright Regime

Collective Rights Regime

Create a new intellectual product



Access the intangible content



Access to a tangible copy

Group who purchase copy

Everyone (if known to a collective member)

Reproduce an intangible copy


Collective members

Reproduce a tangible copy


Collective members

Commercial use



Non-commercial derivatives


Collective members

Commercial derivatives

Joint Authors

Joint Authors





The differences between a collective rights regime and a copyright regime are sometimes subtle and sometimes significant. Under the collective scheme the exclusive rights of the author are diminished which gives the impression of not improving the rewards for creative effort but if there are rewards to be had they still go to the author. Also, the common right of access for society as a whole is increased which achieves one of the main aspirations of our intellectual property systems but this still does not appear to benefit the author. The important difference is that the rights of the group that buys into the collective product are vastly increased in comparison to the users who purchase copyrighted works and it is this that will encourage collective membership and in turn improve support for the author.

It can be argued that the individuals who obtain legal physical copies under the copyright regime form a collective group but members of this collective have only one right, namely, to do what they like with their one physical copy. A very small incentive. The individual who obtains an illegal copyrighted work, especially when we consider digital products, has the same or even increased incentives (lower purchase cost) and only a limited risk of legal penalties (how many MP3 file swappers have been prosecuted?). It is important to make the legal product worth having, by granting wide ranging collective rights, and not rely solely on penalties to discourage illegal copies.

In my paper on Distributed Intellectual Property Rights I provide a list of benefits for collective members and examples of how the advantages of collective 'ownership' of an intellectual property can be extended, even to the extent of providing commercial incentives to the group as a whole. All of which would benefit the author and promote creative effort.

Appendix 2 – Evolutionary Theory

Note:  The numerical analysis I use in this section in highly speculative and not based on any firm research but I believe it could form the foundation of a theoretical approach to analyzing the distribution of digital information and how environmental factors can affect the results. Some of the conclusions I draw from this analysis are still valid, in my view, because I am just comparing relative values of very similar products; such as comparing two comparatively large data files, one without identifiers and one with identifiers where they have an insignificant size compared with the data size. The real monetary cost of implementing the DIPR system could well be significant and this needs to be evaluated carefully as I state in appendix 3.


Theoretical analysis of Distributed Intellectual Property Rights

In this section I analyze the proposed Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system from an evolutionary point of view and consider all items of information and intellectual products as replicators or memes [37] . I look at each individual piece of information as a replicator whose sole aim is to reproduce or be copied and its adaptation to its environment is the only thing that affects its success. I will also propose that we consider the whole environment of human interaction throughout cyberspace and analyze this interaction in terms of an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy (ESS).

Digital replicators

In general I define replicators as information, ideas, or an item of intellectual property that can be copied or can be considered to reproduce. Digital replicators are the same ideas or information but produced in a digital form that can be distributed over the Internet or some other medium. I only make the distinction because this paper discusses issues centred on the digital manifestation of replicators. Examples are well known: CDs DVDs, MP3 files, text files, software.

Digital environment

Although focused on the Internet, I extend the idea of the digital environment to include digital products however they are distributed, this includes such items as CDs and DVDs. Human information producers and users are also considered to be part of this extended environment.

Simple analysis of some digital replicators

Richard Dawkins [38] has established three properties that can be used to define a replicator: Fecundity, Copying/Reproduction-Fidelity, and Longevity. A replicator that is successful in all three of these areas will be a very successful replicator and will spread far and wide. Conversely, a replicator that has weak properties will be a poor replicator.

For this analysis I use these three properties as coefficients in an equation that predicts a replicator’s success at reproducing and therefore its success at spreading throughout the environment.

  Replicator success quotient = Fecundity * Fidelity * Longevity

Each coefficient is given a value of zero to one based on the replicator’s performance in that area and the result will predict the replicator’s success. (Zero will mean total failure through to one predicting great success).

For example, a replicator that always copies itself with so many errors that it is unrecognisable will have a fidelity score near zero and will not get far as a replicator.  Equally, a replicator locked in a file with an unknown key will have near zero fecundity and will not spread.

For the Digital replicators mentioned above and a few others for comparison I have estimated values for the three coefficients and produced the table below.

Medium vs replicator coefficient 




Replicator value

Vinyl record





Cassette tape










MP3 file





Music + SDMI





MP3 file + new PRD





Table A2.1 - Medium vs. Replicator Coefficient

The coefficient values are somewhat arbitrary but I believe give a good and interesting indication of the predicted success, as a replicator, of each of the media.

Considering the vinyl record (replicator value 0.14): its fecundity is rated at 0.5 because of the specialised equipment required to produce a record. Its fidelity is rated good at 0.7 when you consider the music quality when a new record is played on a high fidelity system but its longevity is rated poorly at 0.4 because vinyl records can wear quickly and can easily be irreparably damaged.

Looking at the coefficients for the raw MP3 file: Its fecundity on the Internet is very high at 0.95 because of its relatively small compressed size and the ease of its practically free distribution. Being digital, its copying fidelity is good (0.9) and its small digital size makes long-term storage feasible once it has been copied (0.8). This gives it an overall replicator value of 0.684.

Now look at the coefficients of the new MP3 file with a Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) field supported by the distributed rights environment: Its fecundity value (0.7) drops in comparison with the raw MP3 file (0.95) because of higher distribution costs in the rights environment (note that I estimate these costs are still less than obtaining a physical CD (0.45)). Its fidelity is improved (0.95) because many copies are made from a master file and its longevity is ensured (0.95) because any lost files can be replaced from the master through the licence system.

A file that degrades or is inhibited after it has been copied once such as in the SDMI [39] environment will have a much-reduced fecundity (0.5) and therefore is a less successful replicator than some of the other formats. (This is obviously the aim of the SDMI and shows that it will reduce the number of file copies but I will argue later that this is not the desired result.)

The following table goes on to expand this analysis over a slightly wider field.

Medium vs replicator coefficient 




Replicator value

Spoken story















Film cinema





Film broadcast










Digital video on demand *





Digital video on demand + PRD *





Table A2.2 - Medium vs. Replicator Coefficient (extended)

* Assuming sufficient bandwidth is available in the future.

Conclusions from replicator analysis

First off, if you look at the comparison of vinyl records (0.14), cassette tapes (0.189), and CD's (0.385) it shows why CD's have become successful and vinyl records almost obsolete despite the higher costs involved in producing CD's (more complicated technology and new equipment required). Following that it shows why the current rage in MP3 file (0.684) swapping is more successful. It also emphasises the advantage digital replicators have over the analogue equivalents and so demonstrates why the digital environment is going to be ‘the future’.

The first table shows that the new MP3 file format with PRD fields added and supported by rights and licence offices has a similar replicator value to raw MP3 files. You might wonder what is the benefit of introducing the new complicated DIPR system. The significant point is that at least 50% of music in the MP3 format would 'prefer' to take the new system route, where the product and owner of the product will be identified. The second point, I would argue, is that as the new system becomes established its fecundity will improve (costs come down) and so will overtake raw MP3 files as the preferred route. In the same way, any environmental pressure that promotes MP3+PRD reproduction over raw MP3 files, either moral, legal or technical, would further swing the balance in favour of new MP3's plus PRD's.

Regarding the second table: Assuming portable reader technology improves, E-books (digital text) will become very successful replicators and more so if producers were protected in the new digital rights system. Digital video on demand has the same promising future and, again, I would argue that if the rights system were in place the identified version would far out perform the raw version partly because the costs of local long term storage will be that much greater.

In the table below I introduce a further coefficient, the desirability coefficient, which includes a cost factor to obtaining the product. I consider the product to be a music file distributed in three formats, CD, SDMI protected product, and MP3+PRD, and for each format I compare its distribution against a 'free' MP3 file containing the same music. The desirability coefficient of 0.1 is arrived at by assuming 10% of the population who liked that particular piece of music would pay a reasonable cost to be able own and play the file and always have a perfect copy available should they loose their copy.


Replicator coefficient

Desirability coefficient (cost)

Distribution coefficient

Distribution %































Table A2.3 – Percentage Product Distribution

Note the predicted increase of sales of the PRD protected product over the other formats under the same market conditions. Assuming the costs of the electronic MP3+PRD product are less than any physically distributed intellectual products, such as CD's, then the purchase cost could be reduced and you could expect even more sales in the same market. Also, under the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system, most of the MP3 files shown in the last line of the table would in fact include a PRD and so a least the product would be identified and the creator known even if it was not a purchased product.

If you were to perform this analysis on other products which contain information which might be updated regularly or software which is revised or improved regularly the desirability coefficient could be much higher and the PRD identified product would proportionally gain more of an advantage over a non-identified product.

Extended phenotypes at work

As I stated in my main paper, the two fundamental components of the Distributed Rights System proposed here are the Author Rights Office (ARO) and the Consumer Rights Office (CRO). These offices reside on the Internet and work in close collaboration with human internauughts; creators with the rights office and users with the licence office. This close collaboration of the human mind, via the body, with the technological environment has been described by Andy Clark [40] as 'the cognitive equivalent of Dawkins' vision of the extended phenotype'. A phenotype is the bodily manifestation of a genes programming. An extended phenotype is an extension of the genes influence to things outside the physical body.

Hence, a portion of the Internet environment truly becomes an extension of the human operators mind and therefore the brain/technology symbioses allows the Internet to be analyzed as an evolutionary system containing many intelligent individual organisms trading units of information such as the intellectual products described above. The Offices act as unique agents for human users and these agents are always available to act for their hosts. In this way human society is truly extended onto the Internet.

An Evolutionarily Stable Strategy

Dawkins also describes an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy (ESS), a theory developed by Robert Trivers [41] , involving suckers, grudgers, and cheats and describes how these societies evolve into stable states. Suckers are defined as being too trusting and will continuously give away their services regardless of how often they are cheated. Cheats will always cheat others given the chance. Grudgers will retaliate if they are cheated but will quickly forgive and make their services available again.

Dawkins then describes how some organisms thrive and others become extinct. A population of grudgers or a population of cheats are the two attractors of a dynamic differential system such as this and he goes on to state that a population that stabilises at the cheat equilibrium is more likely to go extinct. Grudgers are basically nice guys who play by the rules but will react if someone takes advantage and they are more likely to become the stable population. There is selection between ESS's in favour of reciprocal altruism. The prerequisite of this society is that grudgers can recognise and remember other individuals and therefore hold a grudge or not when necessary.

Therefore, to extend society's moral codes, particularly reciprocal altruism, onto the Internet and into the digital age each individual has a fundamental need for a permanent presence (or agent) to act on their behalf and be able to recognise other agents. Hence the need for each individual to have an 'office' in cyberspace representing their interests. In fact I have proposed two types of office, one for the provider (author rights office) and the other for the user (consumer rights office), instead of one generic type that could handle transactions in both directions. The reason for the two types of office is two fold; first it seems a natural distinction (provider and user) and second, it greatly simplifies the structure of each office and the type of transaction it handles.

I would like to believe that the society in which we live today is truly altruistic and could be modelled as simply as I have done above but even if this is not the case I believe this model does point to the direction that has to be taken:

Both suppliers and consumers have to be represented and each product manifestation has to contain a record of the transaction between the two parties. 

Virtual ESS – Digital Stability

The ESS described above defines the physical donation of services where there is one recipient; once the service is donated that is the end of it except for the memory of it and the obligation on the recipient to repay. In the case where the service is traded immediately for money, goods, or services, the obligation is immediately repaid.

The donation of an item of information is more complicated! The initial trade between two parties can form part of the ESS described above and the offices I have proposed for digital information can directly aid an honest exchange. The complication is that the information is not dissipated on exchange, as a physical service is ‘used-up’, but is available to be passed on any number of times and the initial creator, who put the work into it, might well not know of future dissemination. The digital exchange of information exasperates this situation. As we saw in the section on replication above this information 'wants' to reproduce and spread and does so more easily in digital from.

In the table below I analyze the different conditions under which the information or a digital product could be transferred and the levels of interaction between the creator and the user or recipient:

Information transfer conditions

Creator gives permission for transfer

Creator knows of recipient

Recipient knows creator

Level of interaction





A - best case for fair trade





B - possibility of fair trade















A - good case for fair trade










C – never able to trade





C -

Table A2.4 – Information Transfer Conditions

If the creator is always asked for permission and knows whom the product is going to there is no problem, the rules for reciprocal altruism can be applied (level ‘A’). The worst case is if there is a transfer of a product without the creator knowing it and the recipient does not know who created it either, under these conditions no exchange payment can never be made (level ‘B’).


An intermediate case (‘C’) is where the creator has no knowledge of the transfer but the recipient knows who the creator is. In this case there is always the chance that some will play the game and pay up. The existence of the PRD, attached to the digital product, allows for this possibility and would always allow a recipient to register his or her own legal copy. Remember, as I have shown earlier, the information with the PRD is just as likely to spread as the information without the PRD. There is no penalty imposed on the PRD identified product.

I should emphasise this point: No environmental pressure should be applied that would inhibit the copying of a product with a valid PRD! Even if there are a billion people using the PRD product without purchasing the rights to it, this is still a better situation than an equal number of people using a non-identified product without usage rights. In addition to this, the widespread distribution of the product is of benefit to society as a whole and at a minimum probably good for the creator's reputation.

An interesting situation arises if each legal recipient were to become a part owner of the information and receives a part payment if they passed it on to another known recipient. In this way reciprocal trade conditions can be spread much further through the population. This idea is described further in the referral process in the ‘Business’ section 4.2.

This analysis also highlights the advantages of providing information as a service instead of a product. When the information is part of a service it maintains the one to one trading relationship between two organisms that is so important. In this case the DIPR model provides the environment and structure that records the transfer of rights within the service.


This finally brings me to the end of my argument, albeit in very general terms, that demonstrates the need for this complicated system of both Author Rights Offices and Consumer Rights Offices in the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system. It is the fundamental need for organisms who extend their society onto the Internet to be able to recognise each other, to have their own individual presence, and know who is playing the game or not. (This need to recognise one-another could point to the advantage of each individual having a unique, secure and persistent identification but that is another project).

Appendix 3. – Feasibility Evaluation

To answer the question – Will the collective regime and the DIPR system proposed here protect the distribution of intellectual products and compensate the creators? I found the paper 'A Framework for Evaluating Digital Rights Management Proposals' [42] by Rachna Dhamija and Fredrik Wallenberg was a valuable resource. They pose six questions that should be used when evaluating rights management proposals. I attempt to answer these questions from the DIPR prospective although I will be the first to admit that more research is required in many areas.

A3.1 – Is the proposal technically feasible?

Technically two sets of secure servers operating a common protocol are required with appropriate user applications. Both type of server would be issuing persistent identifiers. The DOI is already issuing millions of persistent identifiers for intellectual products and the DIPR system only expands this process. The Internet already relies on strictly defined protocols to function correctly and is the ideal environment to accept another peer-to-peer protocol although additional standards for identifying all the different file types would also have to be drawn up. Technically complicated but feasibly. Obviously a study would be required to properly asses the costs and impact of implementing the DIPR system.

A3.2 - What are the incentives to circumvent legal and technical protections for all parties in the transaction?

There are no incentives to remove or tamper with the Property Rights Descriptors (PRD) attached to the digital product - why remove a PRD and make the product illegal when person in possession can just keep the legally identified one? The temptation to attack or operate a Rights Office in an illegal fashion would be great. Therefore maximum effort should be directed towards protecting and regulating these offices which is not an insignificant task but more feasible than regulating every manifestation of an intellectual product.


A3.3 - What is the burden of monitoring for compliance in the system, and on which parties does this burden fall?

Compliance falls to the authorities regulating the office structure and monitoring third party abuse of registered products. Authors will have a vested interest in operating a dependable set of ‘Author Rights Offices’ and consumers will have an equal interest in dependable ‘Consumer Rights Offices’ to protect their access to their products. Each type of Office verifies the actions of the other and it is this dual independent structure that makes regulating the system so much more feasible compared to a centralised system where one party has a controlling interest.

A3.4 - What is the efficiency of the collection and distribution of funds from consumers to rights holders?

The DIPR system is not directly concerned with the commercial transactions – each consumer only purchases the products they want directly from the supplier. As mentioned in the main document, the Office network could perform a banking function to help the transfer of funds from consumer to author but this is nothing like regulating some of the proposed tax or levy systems for distributing a common set of funds.

A3.5 - What are the impacts on user privacy and fair use?

 User privacy and fair use are totally assured. Please refer to the main text for a full discussion of these issues.

A3.6 - What is the feasibility of legal enforcement, both domestically and internationally?

The principle question here is whether regulation of all the Rights Offices throughout the world is feasible? Because the persistent identifiers require an international naming authority for the prefixes, which in turn identify individual rights offices, a rouge office could be excluded from the registry thus identifying all its PRD’s as illegal. Even if the physical office, the server or whatever, and its owners were based in a country unable to enforce the rules directly the system would still work providing there is an international consensus.

End Notes:

[1a] By 'donate' I mean that they give away a copy of the product totally for free to an acquaintance. They do not charge for time or materials or accept any payment or trade in exchange.

[1] The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary.

[2] I define the process of creative work as the sum of an individuals intellectual efforts in a particular endeavour. For example, the creative work which resulted in an initial manuscript for a book would include the creative thoughts and ideas in the author’s mind and all his or her research, writing and editing.

[3] Throughout this paper I often assume that the owner of the copyright of an intellectual product is the creator or author of the intellectual property – therefore when I talk of the creator I imply the legal copyright holder or content owner. The fact that the rights holder might have bought the right from the original creator makes no difference to my arguments here.


[4] Intangible: incapable of being touched, Webster’s

[5] Throughout this paper I use the printed book as an example of a copyrighted product to illustrate how the traditional copyright process works or is implemented. The copyrighted book is easy to imagine but the same arguments apply to other forms of copyrightable material such as vinyl records, tapes, CDs, Etc.

[6] As in the book example (see note above), I use the term story as a simple term to represent the creative intellectual idea  and expression behind the intellectual product.

[7] Throughout this paper I refer to consumers and users of intellectual products. For the purpose of this discussion, each term refers equally to an individual or organization which is making use the intellectual product.

[8]   NRC/CSTB/Information Systems Trustworthiness Project, Panel 3, section 2.4 ( Panel created by Rohit Khare & Joseph Reagle, World Wide Web Consortium).

[9]   The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary.

[10] In active computer systems and networks the product is being continuously copied from one electronic storage device or memory to the next. This problem is well recognised:-

“In the digital world, even the most routine access to information invariably involves making a copy: Computer programs are run by copying them from disk to memory, for example (an act that some courts have ruled to be "copying" for the purposes of copyright law), and Web pages are viewed by copying them from a remote computer to the local machine…… , for digital information, access is copying.” The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary

[11] The Digital Object Identifier Handbook, section 2.3.

[12] Efficiency is an economic term used to describe the economic cost of distributing information, it reflects the social benefit of widely spread ideas and it is usually balanced against the costs of implementing and enforcing a property rights regime to encourage creative effort.

[13] Increased social welfare costs reduce the number of ideas available to future authors.

[14]   “In a globally networked world there will always be people who can decrypt content- protection measures and share their bounty with others. The real risk is that if media companies make the customer experience too onerous, it will push more and more otherwise law-abiding people to break the law merely in order to get the conveniences they see to be their right. People who would be willing to pay for their music will have no simple way to do so.” - ‘Tuning Out the Customer’, Fortune.com, Tuesday, October 8, 2002, By David Kirkpatrick

-and -

“Distribution without the right to save and/or print would create a world in which information may be distributed but never easily shared. Some committee members believe that if copyright is truly to be a pact between society and authors to encourage the creation and dissemination of information for society's ultimate benefit, highly constrained models of distribution call this pact into question.” The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary

-and –

"…...and that encryption technologies make no distinctions between fair and unfair uses." – Para. 3.6  The Internet as a “threat” and a “challenge”, Study on Intellectual Property Rights, the Internet, and Copyright, By: Alan Story for the UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights. Alan Story is Lecturer in Intellectual Property Kent Law School, University of Kent.

[15] “Individuals in their daily lives have the capability and the opportunity to access and copy vast amounts of digital information, yet lack a clear picture of what is acceptable or legal”. The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary, page 4.

[16] Jessica Litman, Professor of Law, Wayne State University,  'New Copyright Paradigms'.

[17] “To read is not a fair use; it’s an unregulated use” – Lawrence Lessig’s address to the Open Source Convention, 24 July, 2002. Lawrence Lessig is professor of law at Stanford University.

[18] The term ‘Collective Rights’ as use here refers to the rights of a group which have collective access to an intangible intellectual product and should not be confused with the term ‘collective work’ which is often used to define a work consisting of a number of contributions consisting of independent works.

[19] “Nor is it easy to supply a clear, "bright-line" answer [to what is acceptable or legal], because (among other things) current intellectual property law is complex.”  - and -  “Laws that are simple, clear, and comprehensible are needed, particularly those parts of the IP law that are most directly relevant to consumer behavior in daily life.” - The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),  CSTB, Executive summary, page 4.

[20] Quicker, cheaper, no forms, no shops, the thing to do, instant gratification…

[21] The Handle System technology, developed by the CNRI, provides a global name service for digital objects. For full details see http://www.handle.net/

[22] For a discussion on micro payment systems see an article by Brad Templeton entitled 'Microrefunds and the "Don't Pay" button'  - http://www.templetons.com/brad/dontpay.html

[23] See “Copy Protection Robs the Future” by Dan Bricklin – http://www.bricklin.com/robfuture.htm

[24]   - The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000), Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary.

[25] As reported in – Patently Problematic, By David Sarnoff, Economist.com.

[26] In a separate analysis of digital products as memes in an evolutionary system I show how the DIPR system imposes few penalties on identified products compared to unidentified products.

[27] – Revising Copyright Law for the Information Age, section IV, Jessica Litman, Professor of Law, Wayne State University.

[28] Others have established the need for greater public understanding of the principles of current copyright law and the same arguments would apply to the DIPR system. – Copyright Education, The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary

[29] Many others have argued that creators and their media agents should see the digital revolution as an opportunity not a threat (DIPR would provide the structure and opportunity). For example:

Says Jerry Michalski: "Because media companies see intellectual property as their only asset, they're willing to risk totally alienating their entire customer base in order to protect that asset." He says that instead the companies should learn to view their [the] customers themselves as the asset and figure out ways to partner with them, or treat them as what he calls "co-participants, rather than an inert audience that merely consumes media."

‘Tuning Out the Customer’, Fortune.com, Tuesday, October 8, 2002, By David Kirkpatrick.

[30] The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary.

[31] The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary


[32] http://sims.berkeley.edu/~fredrik/research/papers/EvaluatingDRM.html

[33] 'Public Good -  Economists sometimes refer to certain goods as public. This does not imply that they are in the public domain as defined by intellectual property law. Rather, a public good is a product or service that has two properties. First, it is non-rival, which simply means that consumption by one person doesn’t limit consumption of the next. Second, it is non-excludable, implying that once the product exists, the benefit cannot be limited to those that have paid for it.' - A Framework for Evaluating Digital Rights Management Proposals, by Rachna Dhamija and Fredrik Wallenberg, http://sims.berkeley.edu/~fredrik/research/papers/EvaluatingDRM.html

[34] The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary

[35] 'Revising Copyright Law for the Information Age' and 'New Copyright Paradigms', Jessica Litman, Professor of Law, Wayne State University.

[36] “Given the challenges to the copyright regime posed by digital information, the committee concluded that alternatives to a copy-based model for protection of digital information deserve consideration,….” - The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000),Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), Executive summary

[37] In this discussion I relate Memes to a creative piece of work or intellectual property. Any one meme could have many different manifestations and there can be multiple copies of any particular manifestation especially when we are considering digital manifestations.  See: The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press 1976, ISBN 0-19-286092-5, Memes – Page 192 by Richard Dawkins for the original definition. Or, Meme Central

[38] Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press 1976, ISBN 0-19-286092-5.

[39] Secure Digital Music Initiative  (http://www.sdmi.org)

[40] Andy Clark, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Natural Born Cyborgs? (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/clark/clark_index.html), By Andy Clark (http://www.susx.ac.uk/Units/philosophy/faculty/aclark.html)

[41] Robert L. Trivers, (http://anthro.rutgers.edu/faculty/trivers.shtml)

[42] http://sims.berkeley.edu/~fredrik/research/papers/EvaluatingDRM.html

[43] ECMS - Electronic Copyright Management System - By ECMS I mean systems where rights holders manage the rights they hold and grant to other users of the product. This should not be confused with Digital Rights Management (DRM) that tries to enforce end-to-end control of the use of a digital product.

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© 1999-2004 Nicholas BENTLEY

(PRD; http:/www./commonrights.com/RightsOffice/ARO-122.htm#ARO2 ; http://www.commonrights.com/RightsOffice/CRO-100.htm#CRO2)

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