Automated Rights Management Systems (ARMS)
Technology, law and markets are the main drivers for digital distribution of content. Modern computer and communication technologies make it possible to generate, store, manipulate, transfer and search for data on the massive scale that characterizes the Information Society. Rights management systems allow users to access and use content under automated conditions while facilitating compensation for creators. Appropriately designed ARMS can promote the balance between protection for creators and social values, for example by enabling access to content in formats accessible to VIPs. Increasing the interoperability among different ARMs benefits both creators and the public at large, and helps to bridge the digital divide in the distribution of creative content.
ARMS are recognized in the 1996 WIPO Internet Treaties (WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty), which provide legal protection for technological protection measures and rights management information without, however, mandating their use.
In 2006, WIPO commissioned Nic Garnett to prepare a study on the interplay between automated rights management systems and copyright limitations and exceptions. The study focuses mainly on two types of exceptions and limitations: those for distance education and those for the benefit of the visually impaired.