Distributed Intellectual Property Rights is a system for identifying
copyrights of intellectual properties in today's electronic environments
where intangible digital products can be copied and distributed
at high speed with no perceptible loss of quality. Employing a distributed
structure, Distributed Intellectual Property Rights is ideally suited
to the Internet and could form the basis of sophisticated Copyright
Management Systems (CMSs) of the
future. It also protects the free distribution of information and
guards the privacy of the creators and users of this information.
I will first discuss the shortcomings of today's distribution,
tracking, and copyright systems, exemplified by the mass copying
of music files in MP3 format, and then describe how a digital trading
environment is created by establishing a system of 'rights offices'
on the Internet. The advantages of this new system will be analysed
in an empirical fashion and then submitted to a theoretical analysis
using evolutionary theory of replicating units.
Finally I will discuss the issues involved in implementing such
a wide ranging system, how it changes current thinking on copyright
in a digital environment, and how this system can form the basis
of Electronic Copyright Management Systems of the future.