Challenges in the Global IT Market: Technology, Creative Content, and Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property and Copyright and Trademark

Article Snapshot


Kevin J. Harrang


Arizona Law Review, Vol. 49, pg. 29, 2007


This paper looks at digital music to show how different business models work.

Policy Relevance

“Closed” and “open” technologies can both exist in the market, serving consumer demand in different ways.

Main Points

  • Content producers or distributors sometimes use technical protection measures (TPMs) to secure created works on electronic players or networks.
    • With TPM, users can make copies, but unauthorized others cannot play them.
    • Digital rights management (DRM) is one form of TMP used by content owners to limit users’ actual copying.

  • Late in 2006, Apple iPod had about 72% of the U.S. market for digital music players and 85% of the U.S. market for legal music downloads.

  • Apple’s system for music distribution is “closed;” Music bought on iTunes only play on iPods.
    • The “closed” content system is not a big moneymaker for Apple; its money comes from selling the hardware.
    • Apple argues that its products work better when they come from the same company.

  • Other media players are “open” systems, like Microsoft’s “Play for Sure.” All the producers get their TPM from one source, but consumers have a choice of hardware and content.

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