Based on a paper presented at the 27th UKSG Conference, Manchester, March 2004
In the digital world, access to the ever-increasing amount of published material has never been easier, but it has brought with it a host of new issues and problems. This paper examines some of these, and explores the possibility that digital rights management (DRM) could hold the key to controlling some of the abuses, rather than being seen as a barrier to access. The importance of trust is examined, with the conclusion that whatever models of working may ultimately be established, a trustworthy network and computing environment are going to be essential elements of a functioning online civil society. DRM as we understand it is simply one component of this environment.