Digital Media Project
A research initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
White Paper Update (2005)


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Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World: 2005 Update

The objective of this White Paper, initially released in August 2003 and updated in January 2005, is to provide a foundation for evaluating key questions facing the different stakeholders in the contentious debate over the future of digital media. It explores issues surrounding the current digital media ecosystem, including:

  • The legal and regulatory developments regarding copyright and related intellectual property issues.
  • Business models upset or enabled by digital media distribution.
  • Technological developments driving change across the value chain.
  • Shifts in consumer attitudes and behavior.

Focusing on these topics, the Berkman Center’s Digital Media Team identifies five scenarios that flow from developments in law, technology and society. The five scenarios are outlined at the end of the White Paper. They have provided an analytical structure for a series of conferences and recently published papers as well as research in progress.


What's New in 2005?

This White Paper updates and expands our original report, published in August 2003 (PDF). The new edition includes:

  • Updated business model section that includes new survey data and an overview of "legitimate" P2P stores like Wippit and Weed (Chapter 2)
  • Updated and expanded analysis of legal cases and decisions relevant in the digital media space, including a brief discussion of Grokster and RIAA v. Verizon (Chapter 3)
  • Revised subsection on international enforcement issues like jurisdictional questions among nations (Chapter 3)
  • Updated section on regulatory developments like provisions related to the broadcast flag and digital radio, as well as proposed laws in the U.S. such as the INDUCE Act (Chapter 4)
  • Expanded chapter on DRM systems including new standards, challenges, and policy issues related to the use of DRM (Chapter 5)
  • Updated outlook for the future (Chapter 6)

Both White Papers focus on the fundamental shift in media that digital technology and the internet have caused, as well as tensions exacerbated among copyright holders (individual creators and corporate content providers), technology companies, and consumers.

International Supplement

Along with this updated White Paper, the Berkman Center has also released an International Supplement that deals with international legal and regulatory issues.


Urs Gasser -- ugasser AT
Derek Slater -- slater AT
Meg Smith –- mesmith AT
John Palfrey –- jpalfrey AT
Edward Locke -- elocke AT
Michael McGuire, GartnerG2 -- michael.mcguire AT

Researchers & Contributors

Tim Armstrong
Derek Bambauer
Andrew Bragin
Mary Bridges
Erica George
Blythe Holden
Renny Hwang
Joseph Jackson
Ron Lazebnik
Cyril Rigamonti
Donna Wentworth

Digital Media Project Principal Investigator

William W. Fisher, III

Digital Media Project Coordinator

Meg Smith -- mesmith AT