APIG DRM Public Inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) held an Inquiry into Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The extended January 13th deadline has now passed.

APIG held an 'oral evidence' hearing on Feb 2nd. Suw Charman took extensive notes (as well as presenting). An official transcript will follow.

On the 5 June 2006 the APIG DRM Report was released to the public.

Along with the submissions made by the various groups.

Presenting Organisations


ORG solicited commentary from the public on the ORG blog - http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2005/12/02/apig-drm-inquiry-overview/ - and submitted a white paper (APIG DRM Inquiry Submission)

Society for Computers and Law

Submitted this paper, their broadly status quo recommendations are:

  • A prominent labelling scheme should be considered to protect and inform consumers
  • Commercial solutions (such as the downloading permissions offered by commercial online services such as iTunes) should be explored and further encouraged.
  • The UK parliament should be at the forefront in encouraging the adoption of common standards

British Library

Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA)

LACA response at [1] See also Libraries fear digital lockdown BBC News 03/02/06 [2]


FFII-UK submission to the APIG DRM inquiry

  • Includes several real-life examples of DRM problems
  • Focuses on how DRM reduces consumer value in practical ways

Share The Vision

A UK network bringing together the voluntary and public sectors to improve library services for blind and partially sighted people. Based at the National Library for the Blind

British Music Rights

British Music Rights submission to the APIG DRM Inquiry Strong pro DRM stance, asking for legally mandated standards, anti-circumvention laws, dismisses concerns over discontinuation, somewhat shamefaced over Sony debacle, scaremongering over Creative Commons.

Arguments are broadly in line with the Digital Content Forum, to the point of suggesting co-operation in their responses.




Subscription based drm free (mp3) music. Why DRM Everything? - by David Pakman, CEO, eMusic.com bit of an advert, but anti-DRM.




anyone know which part of the Beeb?


Can't find their submission, but they have commissioned a report UK TV Content in the Digital Age (Jan 2006) which argues for an annual fee on PVR ownership, and says:

  • (in relation to PVRs) "Second, the platforms could be required to limit programme re-use through DRM technology. However, limiting re-use is likely to deprive consumers of a service they value, and would impose a new cost on the platform with none of the added benefit from improved functionality." (page 47)
  • "The EC is actually keen to see the levy schemes that do exist in Europe made more transparent and replaced by DRM solutions where possible but as explained above it is not clear that DRM based schemes work for free to air output – they also needlessly restrict consumer choice and access." (footnote, page 48)

The Publishers Association

Can not find the Publishers Association submission but it could be a mix up with the name, could it be the Publishers Licensing Society? Submission (pdf)

Submission (html)

The Publishers Licensing Society sees its role to:

  • oversee a collective licensing scheme in the UK for book, journal, and magazine copying
  • stimulate innovation and good practice in rights management
  • clarify the relationship between traditional copyright management practices and those needed in the digital age
  • Pro DRM, but says publishers prefer to trust their customers rather than their technology providers, and thus supports the case for better management of rights metadata.
  • Main point distinguish between digital management of Rights Metadata from Technical Protection Measures as these two issues are conflated unhelpfully in the broader term 'digital rights management'.
  • tools are in their infancy, but have the potential to be helpful to both sellers and consumers
  • Distinguish "Rights Metadata" from "Technical Protection Measures"
  • Recommends education campaign to explain to consumers
  • legislative intervention over technical protection measures market is premature
  • Technical protection measures need informed acceptance by both consumers and producers of content.
  • Libraries and intermediaries do sometimes use technical protection measures to protect digital content.
  • It is essential that the market place works well, and that both sellers and consumers of information can reject products wrapped in technical protection measures that function poorly.
  • In practice publishers have shown very little interest in technical protection measures, and actively work to make publications widely accessible to the broadest possible range of people. This includes provision of copies without any type of technical protection measure to visually impaired users or other disabled users.

The Film Council

National Consumer Council

National Consumer Council - Press Release, Full submission (pdf) BBC Coverage

  • Jill Johnstone, Director of Policy at NCC said; “Because of the current situation, consumers face security risks to their equipment, limitations on their use of products, poor information when purchasing products and unfair contract terms.
  • “Whilst we recognise the value of intellectual property rights, we have little confidence in self-regulation by the industry. We welcome this opportunity to present our concerns to MPs and hope that this will ultimately lead to an improvement the rights of consumers.”


FIPR homepage

FIPR Submission

From this 2-page submission, it appears that FIPR:

  • Is anti-DRM due to issues of market distortion and loss of freedom
  • Believes that regulation should encourage innovation and competition, rather than serving to entrench monopolies
  • Provides specific examples of DRM abuse, particularly after-market parts for mobile phones, printers and automobiles
  • Promotes early yet light regulation rather than trusting the DRM industry to self-regulate

Other Responses

Kevin Marks

blog post, plain html or on this wiki

UK Unix Users' Group

The UK's Unix and Open Systems User Group - a non-profit organization and technical forum for the advocacy of open systems, the promotion of free and open-source software, and the advancement of open programming standards and networking protocols. . Comments from the UKUUG

David Weinberger

Sent in his Copy protection is a Crime essay, and Fair but Wrong, a previously unpublished essay.

Digital Content Forum (DCF)

Respond with an ms-word doc

  • Essentially pro DRM
  • Argues that technology will solve any problems
  • Argues that natural industry standardisation will solve DRM interoperability issues
  • Opposition to government legislation in the area, particularly anything beyond EU legislation
  • Stresses need to get consumers on-side via government information awareness campaigns, and industry being transparent (not doing a Sony).
  • Identifies libraries and disabled groups as needing special attention
  • Does not believe DRM requires new legislation to protect consumer rights
  • Does not believe DRM requires new legislation to prevent technical circumvention of DRM measures - but doesn't specify which particular acts meet this need now.
  • Stresses economic angle at start - 'Creative industry contributes 11.4 billion' - and suggests failure to adopt DRM will undermine this.

Globalisation Institute

Globalisation Institute Home Page

Globalisation Institute Submission 3 page PDF.

  • Anti DRM
  • Argues DRM doomed to failure
  • DRM bad for customers


Intellect Home Page Intellect Submission 4 page PDF

  • Pro DRM
  • DRM is not a uniform system, range of technologies and usage options
  • DRM essential tool for content owners, return on investment
  • DRM enables applications such as digital libraries, for example, which give consumers easy-to-use access and protect publishers against uncontrolled distribution.
  • Perceived problems can be resolved through better awareness, familiarity and market experience

Modern, flexible DRM systems could enable content to be priced in various ways for differing sets of rights. (e.g. a specific song could be sold at a very low price point with minimal rights and at higher price points for the same content with increased rights such as unlimited time and portability.) Initially, consumers may be confused by various pricing schemes, so it is important that content retailers establish good practices and clearly communicate any conditions, environments and limitations. This must be done without cumbersome legal texts and to avoid inaccurate expectations of their offerings.

  • The answer to certain groups’ particular needs lies in the DRM technology itself, not in compromising the technology or limiting licensing choice.


IPN International Policy Network IPN Submission 4 page PDF

  • Pro DRM
  • DRM allows selling goods cheaper
  • Consumers do not need to be further ‘protected’ from vendors of DRM-protected material.
  • if DRM is unpopular people will not buy
  • Rather than whingeing about DRM, those who purport to favour ‘consumer rights’ ought to do more to explain to consumers what rights they actually have.
  • No need for compatibility, content will become obsolete and content unreadable, should not be forced by mandate to

guarantee forward compatibility as this would impose an unnecessary restriction on the development of DRMs


MJR Submission HTML

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