Computing Applications Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

  1. Article

Technologists today are in a precarious position. On the one hand they’re expected to build consumer electronics and computers that fulfill user desires to tap the Internet’s free-flowing nature, accessing and sharing all it has to offer. On the other hand they’re compelled by content owners and policymakers to build digital rights-enabled systems into these products and services to prevent the free distribution of their copyrighted works. Does a balance exist between fair use and individual rights vs. the interest of content providers?

Our special section spotlights digital rights management and fair use by design. Guest editor Deirdre Mulligan, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley, contends content owners and policymakers have taken technology firms to task for their inability to enforce rules about access to copyrighted works. She’s called on some of the most noted legal voices in the DRM debate to help provide technologists some answers, clarifications, and technical options.

Among the other topics on tap this month, Brian Fitzgerald, Nancy Russo, and Tom O’Kane present a case study on tailoring software development methods as practiced at a Motorola facility, emphasizing the lessons drawn from this experience are applicable to organizations worldwide. Julia Earp and David Baumer share results of a survey investigating consumer privacy concerns and how Web sites can alleviate those fears. And François Pachet contends music content management technologies are an essential element for electronic music distribution.

In "Digital Village," Hal Berghel and Kim Womack examine some of the best-known environments for anonymizing the Internet. In "Staying Connected," Meg McGinity offers the top 10 lessons service providers must learn and practice if they are to regain and maintain a respectable customer base. And in "Viewpoint," Ramesh Jain insists we will not see a closing of the global digital divide until we adopt folk computing, that is, computing for the masses based on respect for each culture’s special viewpoint and needs.

Diane Crawford, Editor

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