Digital Rights Management and consumers’ use of music: An activity theory perspective 


This paper explores the many conflicts and contradictions between the control imposed by Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems and the level of access to online resources that users have come to expect (Jackson and Shah (2005).  This paper forms part of an initial contribution to a project designed to gain a better understanding of how people, particularly consumers, actually use digital media. The project, which is being undertaken as part of the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre in Australia will examine the social and legal issues surrounding DRM in different contexts. The overall objective of this project is to provide recommendations for the technical design of DRM systems, based on a user-centred design philosophy. 
 
In this paper, we focus on the context of music access and use, and the increasingly prominent role that technologies such as the Internet plays in music consumers’ activities. We explore the contradictions between DRM technologies and music consumers’ behaviours, and describe how our study data will be further analysed using an activity theory lens. This research is being carried out as part of a wider investigation into media use and digital technologies that aims to develop guidelines for the user-centred design of new digital rights
management systems (DRMs). This paper contributes to developing a better understanding of consumers’ music listening behaviours and beliefs regarding the use of the Internet as a medium for accessing music.