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Past Project

Digital Media Project (DMP)

The Digital Media Project aims to resolve emerging and outstanding problems revealed by recent social and technological change. A simple shift of format – the transition from hard-copy objects like vinyl cds to digitized bits of information like MP3s – has prompted an upheaval of business models, legal principles, and social practices associated with the use, distribution, and control of media. This upheaval has created a void in the digital media world, a void that policymakers, industry representatives, and consumers are scrambling to fill with new laws and technological solutions.

The goal of the Digital Media Project is not to advance a simple agenda but instead to help educate stakeholders – government officials, the media, artists, businesspeople, and the public at large – about the choices and values that can guide law and technology to maximize the potential of digital media for the years ahead.

In its fourth year of investigating how the transition from analog to digital can occur in such a way as to get the benefit of this transfer with as little constraint as possible, the Digital Media Project focused on key areas:

  • Patent law: the tension between the benefits derived from encouraging scientists to produce more research by protecting creators’ work, and the drawbacks that a complicated, expensive patent law system can cause such as increasing barriers, higher cost, and commercialization of science.
  • Scholarly context: How can the benefits of digital media be used in education and how are businesses, laws and technology preventing academics and educators from reaching this potential?
  • Digital Media Exchange: Building on Professor Fisher’s exploration of alternative compensation systems – most explicitly set forth in his book, Promises to Keep – the DME is a web-based, open source platform that enables the distribution and licensing of digital content.
  • Digital Media in Asia, which looks at the evolving interplay of law, technology and business issues as they relate to the creation and dissemination of content in Asia.
  • New tools such as recommendation engines, playlists, blogs and podcasting.
  • The regulatory context of television in its rollover from analog to digital.
  • Digital Media in the EU, which looks at the evolving interplay of law, technology and business issues as they relate to the creation and dissemination of content in the EU.

The Center also collaborates with Gartner on a number of research projects. Examples of recently released reports include an analysis of business models in the Digital Media space, extensions of its widely-noted 100-page review of Apple’s iTunes music service, and an update of our White Paper on Copyright and Digital Media, with new internationalGrokster case that was cited in a concurring opinion, with the help of more than a dozen students. Berkman also continued work related to an amicus brief in Capitol Records v. Alaujan in US Federal District Court, part of an ongoing litigation between the recording industry and alleged digital file-sharers.

This project is sponsored in part by Gartner, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

Our Work 09

Feb 4, 2009

Welcome, Urs Gasser!

As the spring semester begins, we are delighted to officially welcome Professor of Law at the University of St. Gallen Dr. Urs Gasser into his new role as Berkman’s Executive…

May 2, 2008

Mike Doughty cuts through the noise

Charge up your mp3 player. As part of the Berkman Center’s ongoing tenth anniversary celebration, Berkman@10, we’re retrieving some multimedia classics from our past, including,…

Aug 9, 2006

The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age

This foundational white paper reports on a year-long study by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, examining the…

May 30, 2006 @ 12:30 PM

Asia at the Cutting Edge?

Eric Priest

Eric Priest discussed Asia's entertainment industry and abstracted lessons for other markets.

May 7, 2006

Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution

Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution -- a collaboration between Creative Commons and the Berkman Center Clinical Program in Cyberlaw reviewing copyright, trademark and…

Apr 18, 2006 @ 12:30 PM

Educational Uses of Content in the Digital Age

Terry Fisher, Bill McGeveran and Jackie Harlow

Terry Fisher, Bill McGeveran and Jackie Harlow discussed how digitization alters the use of content, difficulties associated with digital learning, and possible reforms to enable…

Dec 8, 2005

Berkman Center and Gartner to Release Report Documenting Importance of Playlists to Music Industry

Cambridge, MA - The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Gartner will release an industry report Tuesday, December 13, documenting the extent of peoples’ use of music…

Dec 3, 2003 @ 2:45 PM

Digital Media

Urs Gasser, Berkman Fellow

Berkman Luncheon Series: 12/3/03 - Urs Gasser on Digital Media

Nov 4, 2003 @ 12:30 PM

Digital Rights Management

Frederick Haber

Berkman Luncheon Series: 11/04/03 - Frederick Haber on Digital Rights Management