Community & Digital Rights In the beginning of October I was faced with an interesting situation. I wanted to create a website that allowed for people to upload there own media, but not infringe on copyrights and licenses that I don’t currently own or are not interested in obtaining.

I tried to find a good way to solve this problem, and I figured a community controlled digital rights management system was good. It allows for ANYONE to up load ANYTHING and the community can remove it or rank it. It is a community-trust moderation system.

Of course it is open to abuse and people can easily lie and not delete copyrighted material. But it allows for the community to actually be honest if they want to. It also allows for no limits as to what is contributed. It could be anything from a self published work to a licensed piece, all being legitimate postings, however if something violates a license or a copyright the community can delete this.

One of the problems with Internet communities is that they tend to be very lazy about maintaining legitimacy in regards to copyrights and licensing agreements so. To counter this apathy, I have instated a few moderators that go through and try and pick out copyrighted or non-licensed material.

Another problem with this system is limiting use of the media object to just this website, phones and other devices that can take advantage of ringtones and screensavers. I have attempted to limit the improper use of the uploaded media so that the owner of the media can be sure it is relatively protected from the outside. Now we all know that a jpg/png file or a midi file are never fully protected, however it is easy to attempt to mask the filenames and make it more difficult for a person to download. I would say that this is an example of .security through obscurity. as it can relate to digital rights management. This is why I have placed the much hated a500hacking tag on all uploaded images. I want to stop people from taking images and using them elsewhere when the person who uploaded and choose the image to be on my site meant it to only be on my site.

Even with this system installed it is tough to get every piece of non-licensed or copyrighted material. If a piece of media is not licensed or violates copyright, please contact me and I will remove it.

I am very interested in hearing what you think of this small social experiment. I do think that community sites can and will work. I also have too much trust in my fellow man. I am very interested in what your take on all of this is; especially if you are from BMI, ASCAP, HFA or any of the large licensing firms. Do communtiy DRM systems work? Of course there will be moments when the system will have a violation or two on it, but what about the whole of the system? Will it crumble or will it prevail?