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Wikipedia

Multilingual free online encyclopedia

This article is about Wikipedia. For Wikipedia's home page, see Main Page. For the English edition, see English Wikipedia. For a list of Wikipedias in other languages, see List of Wikipedias. For other uses, see Wikipedia (disambiguation).

Wikipedia (wik-ih-PEE-dee-ə or wik-ee-) is a free content, multilingual online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteers through a model of open collaboration, using a wiki-based editing system. Individual contributors, also called editors, are known as Wikipedians. It is the largest and most-read reference work in history,[3] and consistently one of the 15 most popular websites ranked by Alexa; as of 2021,[update] Wikipedia was ranked the 13th most popular site.[3][4] A visitor spends an average time on Wikipedia of 3 minutes and 45 seconds each day.[5] It is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American non-profit organization funded mainly through small donations.[6]

Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, by Jimmy Wales[7] and Larry Sanger; Sanger coined its name as a blending of "wiki" and "encyclopedia".[8] Initially available only in English, versions in other languages were quickly developed. Its combined editions comprise more than 57 million articles, attracting around 2 billion unique device visits per month, and more than 17 million edits per month (1.9 edits per second).[10][11] In 2006, Time magazine stated that the policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the "biggest (and perhaps best) encyclopedia in the world", and is "a testament to the vision of one man, Jimmy Wales".[12]

Wikipedia has received praise for its enablement of the democratization of knowledge, extent of coverage, unique structure, culture, and reduced amount of commercial bias, but criticism for exhibiting systemic bias, particularly gender bias against women and alleged ideological bias.[13][14]Its reliability was frequently criticized in the 2000s, but has improved over time and has been generally praised in the late 2010s and early 2020s.[3][13][15] Its coverage of controversial topics such as American politics and major events such as the COVID-19 pandemic has received substantial media attention. It has been censored by world governments, ranging from specific pages to the entire site. It has become an element of popular culture, with references in books, films and academic studies. In 2018, Facebook and YouTube announced that they would help users detect fake news by suggesting fact-checking links to related Wikipedia articles.[16][17]

History

Main article: History of Wikipedia

Nupedia

Main article: Nupedia

Logo reading "Nupedia.com the free encyclopedia" in blue with the large initial "N"
Wikipedia originally developed from another encyclopedia project called Nupedia.

Other collaborative online encyclopedias were attempted before Wikipedia, but none were as successful.[18] Wikipedia began as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online English-language encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process.[19] It was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, a web portal company. Its main figures were Bomis CEO Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia.[1][20] Nupedia was initially licensed under its own Nupedia Open Content License, but even before Wikipedia was founded, Nupedia switched to the GNU Free Documentation License at the urging of Richard Stallman.[21] Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia,[22][23] while Sanger is credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal.[24] On January 10, 2001, Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a "feeder" project for Nupedia.[25]

Launch and early growth

The domainswikipedia.com (later redirecting to wikipedia.org) and wikipedia.org were registered on January 12, 2001,[26] and January 13, 2001,[27] respectively, and Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001[19] as a single English-language edition at www.wikipedia.com,[28] and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list.[22] Its policy of "neutral point-of-view"[29] was codified in its first few months. Otherwise, there were initially relatively few rules, and it operated independently of Nupedia.[22] Bomis originally intended it as a business for profit.[30]

The Wikipedia home page on December 20, 2001

English Wikipedia editors with >100 edits per month[31]

Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing. Language editions were also created, with a total of 161 by the end of 2004.[33] Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former's servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia passed the mark of two million articles on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, surpassing the Yongle Encyclopedia made during the Ming Dynasty in 1408, which had held the record for almost 600 years.[34]

Citing fears of commercial advertising and lack of control, users of the Spanish Wikipediaforked from Wikipedia to create Enciclopedia Libre in February 2002.[35] Wales then announced that Wikipedia would not display advertisements, and changed Wikipedia's domain from wikipedia.com to wikipedia.org.[36][37]

Though the English Wikipedia reached three million articles in August 2009, the growth of the edition, in terms of the numbers of new articles and of editors, appears to have peaked around early 2007.[38] Around 1,800 articles were added daily to the encyclopedia in 2006; by 2013 that average was roughly 800.[39] A team at the Palo Alto Research Center attributed this slowing of growth to the project's increasing exclusivity and resistance to change.[40] Others suggest that the growth is flattening naturally because articles that could be called "low-hanging fruit"—topics that clearly merit an article—have already been created and built up extensively.[41][42][43]

In November 2009, a researcher at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid found that the English Wikipedia had lost 49,000 editors during the first three months of 2009; in comparison, it lost only 4,900 editors during the same period in 2008.[44][45]The Wall Street Journal cited the array of rules applied to editing and disputes related to such content among the reasons for this trend.[46] Wales disputed these claims in 2009, denying the decline and questioning the study's methodology.[47] Two years later, in 2011, he acknowledged a slight decline, noting a decrease from "a little more than 36,000 writers" in June 2010 to 35,800 in June 2011. In the same interview, he also claimed the number of editors was "stable and sustainable".[48] A 2013 MIT Technology Review article, "The Decline of Wikipedia", questioned this claim, revealing that since 2007, Wikipedia had lost a third of its volunteer editors, and that those remaining had focused increasingly on minutiae.[49] In July 2012, The Atlantic reported that the number of administrators was also in decline.[50] In the November 25, 2013, issue of New York magazine, Katherine Ward stated, "Wikipedia, the sixth-most-used website, is facing an internal crisis."[51]

Milestones

Cartogramshowing number of articles in each European language as of January 2019.[update]One square represents 10,000 articles. Languages with fewer than 10,000 articles are represented by one square. Languages are grouped by language family and each language family is presented by a separate color.

In January 2007, Wikipedia first became one of the ten most popular websites in the US, according to comscore Networks. With 42.9 million unique visitors, it was ranked #9, surpassing The New York Times (#10) and Apple (#11). This marked a significant increase over January 2006, when Wikipedia ranked 33rd, with around 18.3 million unique visitors.[52] As of March 2020[update], it ranked 13th[4] in popularity according to Alexa Internet. In 2014, it received eight billion page views every month.[53] On February 9, 2014, The New York Times reported that Wikipedia had 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors a month, "according to the ratings firm comScore".[10] Loveland and Reagle argue that, in process, Wikipedia follows a long tradition of historical encyclopedias that have accumulated improvements piecemeal through "stigmergic accumulation".[54][55]

On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia participated in a series of coordinated protests against two proposed laws in the United States Congress—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)—by blacking out its pages for 24 hours.[56] More than 162 million people viewed the blackout explanation page that temporarily replaced its content.[57][58]

On January 20, 2014, Subodh Varma reporting for The Economic Times indicated that not only had Wikipedia's growth stalled, it "had lost nearly ten percent of its page views last year. There was a decline of about two billion between December 2012 and December 2013. Its most popular versions are leading the slide: page-views of the English Wikipedia declined by twelve percent, those of German version slid by 17 percent and the Japanese version lost nine percent."[59] Varma added, "While Wikipedia's managers think that this could be due to errors in counting, other experts feel that Google's Knowledge Graphs project launched last year may be gobbling up Wikipedia users."[59] When contacted on this matter, Clay Shirky, associate professor at New York University and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society said that he suspected much of the page-view decline was due to Knowledge Graphs, stating, "If you can get your question answered from the search page, you don't need to click [any further]."[59] By the end of December 2016, Wikipedia was ranked the 5th most popular website globally.[60]

In January 2013, 274301 Wikipedia, an asteroid, was named after Wikipedia; in October 2014, Wikipedia was honored with the Wikipedia Monument; and, in July 2015, 106 of the 7,473 700-page volumes of Wikipedia became available as Print Wikipedia. In April 2019, an Israeli lunar lander, Beresheet, crash landed on the surface of the Moon carrying a copy of nearly all of the English Wikipedia engraved on thin nickel plates; experts say the plates likely survived the crash.[61][62] In June 2019, scientists reported that all 16 GB of article text from the English Wikipedia had been encoded into synthetic DNA.[63]

Current state

On January 23, 2020, the English-language Wikipedia, which is the largest language section of the online encyclopedia, published its six millionth article.

By February 2020, Wikipedia ranked eleventh in the world in terms of Internet traffic.[64] As a key resource for disseminating information related to COVID-19, the World Health Organization has partnered with Wikipedia to help combat the spread of misinformation.[65][66]

Wikipedia accepts cryptocurrency donations and Basic Attention Token.[67][68][69]

Openness

Differences between versions of an article are highlighted

Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia follows the procrastination principle[note 3] regarding the security of its content.[70]

Restrictions

Due to Wikipedia's increasing popularity, some editions, including the English version, have introduced editing restrictions for certain cases. For instance, on the English Wikipedia and some other language editions, only registered users may create a new article.[71] On the English Wikipedia, among others, particularly controversial, sensitive or vandalism-prone pages have been protected to varying degrees.[72][73] A frequently vandalized article can be "semi-protected" or "extended confirmed protected", meaning that only "autoconfirmed" or "extended confirmed" editors can modify it.[74] A particularly contentious article may be locked so that only administrators can make changes.[75] A 2021 article in the Columbia Journalism Review identified Wikipedia's page-protection policies as "[p]erhaps the most important" means at its disposal to "regulate its market of ideas".[76]

In certain cases, all editors are allowed to submit modifications, but review is required for some editors, depending on certain conditions. For example, the German Wikipedia maintains "stable versions" of articles[77] which have passed certain reviews. Following protracted trials and community discussion, the English Wikipedia introduced the "pending changes" system in December 2012. Under this system, new and unregistered users' edits to certain controversial or vandalism-prone articles are reviewed by established users before they are published.[79]

Wikipedia's editing interface

Review of changes

Although changes are not systematically reviewed, the software that powers Wikipedia provides tools allowing anyone to review changes made by others. Each article's History page links to each revision.[note 4][80] On most articles, anyone can undo others' changes by clicking a link on the article's History page. Anyone can view the latest changes to articles, and anyone registered may maintain a "watchlist" of articles that interest them so they can be notified of changes. "New pages patrol" is a process where newly created articles are checked for obvious problems.[81]

In 2003, economics Ph.D. student Andrea Ciffolilli argued that the low transaction costs of participating in a wiki created a catalyst for collaborative development, and that features such as allowing easy access to past versions of a page favored "creative construction" over "creative destruction".[82]

Vandalism

Main article: Vandalism on Wikipedia

Any change or edit that manipulates content in a way that purposefully compromises Wikipedia's integrity is considered vandalism. The most common and obvious types of vandalism include additions of obscenities and crude humor; it can also include advertising and other types of spam.[83] Sometimes editors commit vandalism by removing content or entirely blanking a given page. Less common types of vandalism, such as the deliberate addition of plausible but false information, can be more difficult to detect. Vandals can introduce irrelevant formatting, modify page semantics such as the page's title or categorization, manipulate the article's underlying code, or use images disruptively.[84]

Obvious vandalism is generally easy to remove from Wikipedia articles; the median time to detect and fix it is a few minutes.[85][86] However, some vandalism takes much longer to detect and repair.[87]

In the Seigenthaler biography incident, an anonymous editor introduced false information into the biography of American political figure John Seigenthaler in May 2005, falsely presenting him as a suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.[87] It remained uncorrected for four months.[87] Seigenthaler, the founding editorial director of USA Today and founder of the Freedom ForumFirst Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, called Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and asked whether he had any way of knowing who contributed the misinformation. Wales said he did not, although the perpetrator was eventually traced.[88][89] After the incident, Seigenthaler described Wikipedia as "a flawed and irresponsible research tool".[87] The incident led to policy changes at Wikipedia for tightening up the verifiability of biographical articles of living people.[90]

In 2010, Daniel Tosh encouraged viewers of his show, Tosh.0, to visit the show's Wikipedia article and edit it at will. On a later episode, he commented on the edits to the article, most of them offensive, which had been made by the audience and had prompted the article to be locked from editing.[91][92]

Edit warring

Wikipedians often have disputes regarding content, which may result in repeated competing changes to an article, known as "edit warring".[93][94] It is widely seen as a resource-consuming scenario where no useful knowledge is added,[95] and criticized as creating a competitive[96] and conflict-based[97] editing culture associated with traditional masculine gender roles.[98]

Policies and laws

Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws (in particular, copyright laws) of the United States and of the US state of Virginia, where the majority of Wikipedia's servers are located. Beyond legal matters, the editorial principles of Wikipedia are embodied in the "five pillars" and in numerous policies and guidelines intended to appropriately shape content. Even these rules are stored in wiki form, and Wikipedia editors write and revise the website's policies and guidelines.[99] Editors can enforce these rules by deleting or modifying non-compliant material. Originally, rules on the non-English editions of Wikipedia were based on a translation of the rules for the English Wikipedia. They have since diverged to some extent.[77]

Content policies and guidelines

According to the rules on the English Wikipedia, each entry in Wikipedia must be about a topic that is encyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-style.[100] A topic should also meet Wikipedia's standards of "notability",[101] which generally means that the topic must have been covered in mainstream media or major academic journal sources that are independent of the article's subject. Further, Wikipedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized.[102] It must not present original research. A claim that is likely to be challenged requires a reference to a reliable source. Among Wikipedia editors, this is often phrased as "verifiability, not truth" to express the idea that the readers, not the encyclopedia, are ultimately responsible for checking the truthfulness of the articles and making their own interpretations.[103] This can at times lead to the removal of information that, though valid, is not properly sourced.[104] Finally, Wikipedia must not take sides.[105]

Governance

Further information: Wikipedia:Administration

Wikipedia's initial anarchy integrated democratic and hierarchical elements over time.[106][107] An article is not considered to be owned by its creator or any other editor, nor by the subject of the article.[108]

Administrators

Editors in good standing in the community can request extra user rights, granting them the technical ability to perform certain special actions. In particular, editors can choose to run for "adminship",[109][110] which includes the ability to delete pages or prevent them from being changed in cases of severe vandalism or editorial disputes. Administrators are not supposed to enjoy any special privilege in decision-making; instead, their powers are mostly limited to making edits that have project-wide effects and thus are disallowed to ordinary editors, and to implement restrictions intended to prevent disruptive editors from making unproductive edits.[111][112]

By 2012, fewer editors were becoming administrators compared to Wikipedia's earlier years, in part because the process of vetting potential administrators had become more rigorous.[113]

Dispute resolution

Over time, Wikipedia has developed a semiformal dispute resolution process. To determine community consensus, editors can raise issues at appropriate community forums,[note 5] seek outside input through third opinion requests, or initiate a more general community discussion known as a "request for comment".

Arbitration Committee

Main article: Arbitration Committee

The Arbitration Committee presides over the ultimate dispute resolution process. Although disputes usually arise from a disagreement between two opposing views on how an article should read, the Arbitration Committee explicitly refuses to directly rule on the specific view that should be adopted. Statistical analyses suggest that the committee ignores the content of disputes and rather focuses on the way disputes are conducted,[114] functioning not so much to resolve disputes and make peace between conflicting editors, but to weed out problematic editors while allowing potentially productive editors back in to participate. Therefore, the committee does not dictate the content of articles, although it sometimes condemns content changes when it deems the new content violates Wikipedia policies (for example, if the new content is considered biased). Its remedies include cautions and probations (used in 63% of cases) and banning editors from articles (43%), subject matters (23%), or Wikipedia (16%).[when?] Complete bans from Wikipedia are generally limited to instances of impersonation and anti-social behavior. When conduct is not impersonation or anti-social, but rather anti-consensus or in violation of editing policies, remedies tend to be limited to warnings.[115]

Main article: Wikipedia community

Each article and each user of Wikipedia has an associated "talk" page. These form the primary communication channel for editors to discuss, coordinate and debate.[116]

Wikipedia's community has been described as cultlike,[117] although not always with entirely negative connotations.[118] Its preference for cohesiveness, even if it requires compromise that includes disregard of credentials, has been referred to as "anti-elitism".[119]

Wikipedians sometimes award one another "virtual barnstars" for good work. These personalized tokens of appreciation reveal a wide range of valued work extending far beyond simple editing to include social support, administrative actions, and types of articulation work.[120]

Wikipedia does not require that its editors and contributors provide identification.[121] As Wikipedia grew, "Who writes Wikipedia?" became one of the questions frequently asked there.[122] Jimmy Wales once argued that only "a community ... a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" makes the bulk of contributions to Wikipedia and that the project is therefore "much like any traditional organization".[123] In 2008, a Slate magazine article reported that: "According to researchers in Palo Alto, one percent of Wikipedia users are responsible for about half of the site's edits."[124] This method of evaluating contributions was later disputed by Aaron Swartz, who noted that several articles he sampled had large portions of their content (measured by number of characters) contributed by users with low edit counts.[125]

The English Wikipedia has 6,410,000 articles, 42,570,406 registered editors, and 125,342 active editors. An editor is considered active if they have made one or more edits in the past 30 days.

Editors who fail to comply with Wikipedia cultural rituals, such as signing talk page comments, may implicitly signal that they are Wikipedia outsiders, increasing the odds that Wikipedia insiders may target or discount their contributions. Becoming a Wikipedia insider involves non-trivial costs: the contributor is expected to learn Wikipedia-specific technological codes, submit to a sometimes convoluted dispute resolution process, and learn a "baffling culture rich with in-jokes and insider references".[126] Editors who do not log in are in some sense second-class citizens on Wikipedia,[126] as "participants are accredited by members of the wiki community, who have a vested interest in preserving the quality of the work product, on the basis of their ongoing participation",[127] but the contribution histories of anonymous unregistered editors recognized only by their IP addresses cannot be attributed to a particular editor with certainty.

Studies

A 2007 study by researchers from Dartmouth College found that "anonymous and infrequent contributors to Wikipedia ... are as reliable a source of knowledge as those contributors who register with the site".[128] Jimmy Wales stated in 2009 that "[I]t turns out over 50% of all the edits are done by just .7% of the users ... 524 people ... And in fact, the most active 2%, which is 1400 people, have done 73.4% of all the edits."[123] However, Business Insider editor and journalist Henry Blodget showed in 2009 that in a random sample of articles, most Wikipedia content (measured by the amount of contributed text that survives to the latest sampled edit) is created by "outsiders", while most editing and formatting is done by "insiders".[123]

A 2008 study found that Wikipedians were less agreeable, open, and conscientious than others,[129][130] although a later commentary pointed out serious flaws, including that the data showed higher openness and that the differences with the control group and the samples were small.[131] According to a 2009 study, there is "evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content".[132]

Diversity

Several studies have shown that most Wikipedia contributors are male. Notably, the results of a Wikimedia Foundation survey in 2008 showed that only 13 percent of Wikipedia editors were female.[133] Because of this, universities throughout the United States tried to encourage women to become Wikipedia contributors. Similarly, many of these universities, including Yale and Brown, gave college credit to students who create or edit an article relating to women in science or technology.[134]Andrew Lih, a professor and scientist, wrote in The New York Times that the reason he thought the number of male contributors outnumbered the number of females so greatly was because identifying as a woman may expose oneself to "ugly, intimidating behavior".[135] Data has shown that Africans are underrepresented among Wikipedia editors.[136]

Language editions

Main article: List of Wikipedias

Most popular edition of Wikipedia by country in January 2021.
Most viewed editions of Wikipedia over time.
Most edited editions of Wikipedia over time.

There are currently 325 language editions of Wikipedia (also called language versions, or simply Wikipedias). As of November 2021, the six largest, in order of article count, are the English, Cebuano, Swedish, German, French, and Dutch Wikipedias.[138] The second and third-largest Wikipedias owe their position to the article-creating botLsjbot, which as of 2013[update] had created about half the articles on the Swedish Wikipedia, and most of the articles in the Cebuano and Waray Wikipedias. The latter are both languages of the Philippines.

In addition to the top six, twelve other Wikipedias have more than a million articles each (Russian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Egyptian Arabic, Japanese, Vietnamese, Waray, Chinese, Arabic, Ukrainian and Portuguese), seven more have over 500,000 articles (Persian, Catalan, Serbian, Indonesian, Norwegian, Korean and Finnish), 44 more have over 100,000, and 82 more have over 10,000.[139][138] The largest, the English Wikipedia, has over 6.4 million articles. As of January 2021,[update] the English Wikipedia receives 48% of Wikipedia's cumulative traffic, with the remaining split among the other languages. The top 10 editions represent approximately 85% of the total traffic.[140]

0.1 0.3 1 3

English 6,410,000

Cebuano 6,061,269

Swedish 2,875,133

German 2,633,307

French 2,374,875

Dutch 2,071,599

Russian 1,771,271

Spanish 1,731,740

Italian 1,726,497

Polish 1,496,868

Egyptian Arabic 1,376,598

Japanese 1,300,979

Vietnamese 1,270,091

Waray 1,265,576

Chinese 1,241,531

Arabic 1,143,365

Ukrainian 1,123,197

Portuguese 1,077,389

Persian 846,650

Catalan 689,772

The unit for the numbers in bars is articles.

Since Wikipedia is based on the Web and therefore worldwide, contributors to the same language edition may use different dialects or may come from different countries (as is the case for the English edition). These differences may lead to some conflicts over spelling differences (e.g. colour versus color)[142] or points of view.[143]

Though the various language editions are held to global policies such as "neutral point of view", they diverge on some points of policy and practice, most notably on whether images that are not licensed freely may be used under a claim of fair use.[144][145][146]

Jimmy Wales has described Wikipedia as "an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language".[147] Though each language edition functions more or less independently, some efforts are made to supervise them all. They are coordinated in part by Meta-Wiki, the Wikimedia Foundation's wiki devoted to maintaining all its projects (Wikipedia and others).[148] For instance, Meta-Wiki provides important statistics on all language editions of Wikipedia,[149] and it maintains a list of articles every Wikipedia should have.[150] The list concerns basic content by subject: biography, history, geography, society, culture, science, technology, and mathematics. It is not rare for articles strongly related to a particular language not to have counterparts in another edition. For example, articles about small towns in the United States might be available only in English, even when they meet the notability criteria of other language Wikipedia projects.

Estimation of contributions shares from different regions in the world to different Wikipedia editions[151]

Translated articles represent only a small portion of articles in most editions, in part because those editions do not allow fully automated translation of articles. Articles available in more than one language may offer "interwiki links", which link to the counterpart articles in other editions.[citation needed]

A study published by PLOS One in 2012 also estimated the share of contributions to different editions of Wikipedia from different regions of the world. It reported that the proportion of the edits made from North America was 51% for the English Wikipedia, and 25% for the simple English Wikipedia.[151]

English Wikipedia editor numbers

Number of editors on the English Wikipedia over time.

On March 1, 2014, The Economist, in an article titled "The Future of Wikipedia", cited a trend analysis concerning data published by the Wikimedia Foundation stating that "[t]he number of editors for the English-language version has fallen by a third in seven years."[152] The attrition rate for active editors in English Wikipedia was cited by The Economist as substantially in contrast to statistics for Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia). The Economist reported that the number of contributors with an average of five or more edits per month was relatively constant since 2008 for Wikipedia in other languages at approximately 42,000 editors within narrow seasonal variances of about 2,000 editors up or down. The number of active editors in English Wikipedia, by sharp comparison, was cited as peaking in 2007 at approximately 50,000 and dropping to 30,000 by the start of 2014.

In contrast, the trend analysis published in The Economist presents Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia) as successful in retaining their active editors on a renewable and sustained basis, with their numbers remaining relatively constant at approximately 42,000.[152] No comment was made concerning which of the differentiated edit policy standards from Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia) would provide a possible alternative to English Wikipedia for effectively ameliorating substantial editor attrition rates on the English-language Wikipedia.[153]

Reception

See also: Academic studies about Wikipedia and Criticism of Wikipedia

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Various Wikipedians have criticized Wikipedia's large and growing regulation, which includes more than fifty policies and nearly 150,000 words as of 2014.[update][154][155]

Critics have stated that Wikipedia exhibits systemic bias. In 2010, columnist and journalist Edwin Black described Wikipedia as being a mixture of "truth, half-truth, and some falsehoods".[156] Articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Journal of Academic Librarianship have criticized Wikipedia's "Undue Weight" policy, concluding that the fact that Wikipedia explicitly is not designed to provide correct information about a subject, but rather focus on all the major viewpoints on the subject, give less attention to minor ones, and creates omissions that can lead to false beliefs based on incomplete information.[157][158][159]

Journalists Oliver Kamm and Edwin Black alleged (in 2010 and 2011 respectively) that articles are dominated by the loudest and most persistent voices, usually by a group with an "ax to grind" on the topic.[156][160] A 2008 article in Education Next Journal concluded that as a resource about controversial topics, Wikipedia is subject to manipulation and spin.[161]

In 2020, Omer Benjakob and Stephen Harrison noted that "Media coverage of Wikipedia has radically shifted over the past two decades: once cast as an intellectual frivolity, it is now lauded as the 'last bastion of shared reality' online."[162]

In 2006, the Wikipedia Watch criticism website listed dozens of examples of plagiarism in the English Wikipedia.[163]

Accuracy of content

Main article: Reliability of Wikipedia

Articles for traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopædia Britannica are written by experts, lending such encyclopedias a reputation for accuracy.[164] However, a peer review in 2005 of forty-two scientific entries on both Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica by the science journal Nature found few differences in accuracy, and concluded that "the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three."[165] Joseph Reagle suggested that while the study reflects "a topical strength of Wikipedia contributors" in science articles, "Wikipedia may not have fared so well using a random sampling of articles or on humanities subjects."[166] Others raised similar critiques.[167] The findings by Nature were disputed by Encyclopædia Britannica,[168][169] and in response, Nature gave a rebuttal of the points raised by Britannica.[170] In addition to the point-for-point disagreement between these two parties, others have examined the sample size and selection method used in the Nature effort, and suggested a "flawed study design" (in Nature's manual selection of articles, in part or in whole, for comparison), absence of statistical analysis (e.g., of reported confidence intervals), and a lack of study "statistical power" (i.e., owing to small sample size, 42 or 4 × 101 articles compared, vs >105 and >106 set sizes for Britannica and the English Wikipedia, respectively).[171]

As a consequence of the open structure, Wikipedia "makes no guarantee of validity" of its content, since no one is ultimately responsible for any claims appearing in it.[172] Concerns have been raised by PC World in 2009 regarding the lack of accountability that results from users' anonymity,[173] the insertion of false information,[174]vandalism, and similar problems.

Economist Tyler Cowen wrote: "If I had to guess whether Wikipedia or the median refereed journal article on economics was more likely to be true after a not so long think I would opt for Wikipedia." He comments that some traditional sources of non-fiction suffer from systemic biases, and novel results, in his opinion, are over-reported in journal articles as well as relevant information being omitted from news reports. However, he also cautions that errors are frequently found on Internet sites and that academics and experts must be vigilant in correcting them.[175]Amy Bruckman has argued that, due to the number of reviewers, "the content of a popular Wikipedia page is actually the most reliable form of information ever created".[176]

Critics argue that Wikipedia's open nature and a lack of proper sources for most of the information makes it unreliable.[177] Some commentators suggest that Wikipedia may be reliable, but that the reliability of any given article is not clear.[178] Editors of traditional reference works such as the Encyclopædia Britannica have questioned the project's utility and status as an encyclopedia.[179] Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has claimed that Wikipedia has largely avoided the problem of "fake news" because the Wikipedia community regularly debates the quality of sources in articles.[180]

Wikipedia's open structure inherently makes it an easy target for Internet trolls, spammers, and various forms of paid advocacy seen as counterproductive to the maintenance of a neutral and verifiable online encyclopedia.[80][182] In response to paid advocacy editing and undisclosed editing issues, Wikipedia was reported in an article in The Wall Street Journal, to have strengthened its rules and laws against undisclosed editing.[183] The article stated that: "Beginning Monday [from the date of the article, June 16, 2014], changes in Wikipedia's terms of use will require anyone paid to edit articles to disclose that arrangement. Katherine Maher, the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation's chief communications officer, said the changes address a sentiment among volunteer editors that, 'we're not an advertising service; we're an encyclopedia.'"[183][184][185][186][187] These issues, among others, had been parodied since the first decade of Wikipedia, notably by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.[188]

A Harvard law textbook, Legal Research in a Nutshell (2011), cites Wikipedia as a "general source" that "can be a real boon" in "coming up to speed in the law governing a situation" and, "while not authoritative, can provide basic facts as well as leads to more in-depth resources".[189]

Discouragement in education

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Most university lecturers discourage students from citing any encyclopedia in academic work, preferring primary sources;[190] some specifically prohibit Wikipedia citations. Wales stresses that encyclopedias of any type are not usually appropriate to use as citable sources, and should not be relied upon as authoritative.[193] Wales once (2006 or earlier) said he receives about ten emails weekly from students saying they got failing grades on papers because they cited Wikipedia; he told the students they got what they deserved. "For God's sake, you're in college; don't cite the encyclopedia," he said.[194]

In February 2007, an article in The Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that a few of the professors at Harvard University were including Wikipedia articles in their syllabi, although without realizing the articles might change.[195] In June 2007, former president of the American Library AssociationMichael Gorman condemned Wikipedia, along with Google,[196] stating that academics who endorse the use of Wikipedia are "the intellectual equivalent of a dietitian who recommends a steady diet of Big Macs with everything".

In contrast, academic writing[clarification needed] in Wikipedia has evolved in recent years and has been found to increase student interest, personal connection to the product, creativity in material processing, and international collaboration in the learning process.[197]

Medical information

See also: Health information on Wikipedia

On March 5, 2014, Julie Beck writing for The Atlantic magazine in an article titled "Doctors' #1 Source for Healthcare Information: Wikipedia", stated that "Fifty percent of physicians look up conditions on the (Wikipedia) site, and some are editing articles themselves to improve the quality of available information."[198] Beck continued to detail in this article new programs of Amin Azzam at the University of San Francisco to offer medical school courses to medical students for learning to edit and improve Wikipedia articles on health-related issues, as well as internal quality control programs within Wikipedia organized by James Heilman to improve a group of 200 health-related articles of central medical importance up to Wikipedia's highest standard of articles using its Featured Article and Good Article peer-review evaluation process.[198] In a May 7, 2014, follow-up article in The Atlantic titled "Can Wikipedia Ever Be a Definitive Medical Text?", Julie Beck quotes WikiProject Medicine's James Heilman as stating: "Just because a reference is peer-reviewed doesn't mean it's a high-quality reference."[199] Beck added that: "Wikipedia has its own peer review process before articles can be classified as 'good' or 'featured'. Heilman, who has participated in that process before, says 'less than one percent' of Wikipedia's medical articles have passed."[199]

Quality of writing

Screenshot of English Wikipedia's article on Earth, a featured-class article

In a 2006 mention of Jimmy Wales, Time magazine stated that the policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the "biggest (and perhaps best) encyclopedia in the world".[200]

In 2008, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that the quality of a Wikipedia article would suffer rather than gain from adding more writers when the article lacked appropriate explicit or implicit coordination.[201] For instance, when contributors rewrite small portions of an entry rather than making full-length revisions, high- and low-quality content may be intermingled within an entry. Roy Rosenzweig, a history professor, stated that American National Biography Online outperformed Wikipedia in terms of its "clear and engaging prose", which, he said, was an important aspect of good historical writing.[202] Contrasting Wikipedia's treatment of Abraham Lincoln to that of Civil War historian James McPherson in American National Biography Online, he said that both were essentially accurate and covered the major episodes in Lincoln's life, but praised "McPherson's richer contextualization ... his artful use of quotations to capture Lincoln's voice ... and ... his ability to convey a profound message in a handful of words." By contrast, he gives an example of Wikipedia's prose that he finds "both verbose and dull". Rosenzweig also criticized the "waffling—encouraged by the NPOV policy—[which] means that it is hard to discern any overall interpretive stance in Wikipedia history". While generally praising the article on William Clarke Quantrill, he quoted its conclusion as an example of such "waffling", which then stated: "Some historians ... remember him as an opportunistic, bloodthirsty outlaw, while others continue to view him as a daring soldier and local folk hero."[202]

Other critics have made similar charges that, even if Wikipedia articles are factually accurate, they are often written in a poor, almost unreadable style. Frequent Wikipedia critic Andrew Orlowski commented, "Even when a Wikipedia entry is 100 percent factually correct, and those facts have been carefully chosen, it all too often reads as if it has been translated from one language to another then into a third, passing an illiterate translator at each stage."[203] A study of Wikipedia articles on cancer was conducted in 2010 by Yaacov Lawrence of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. The study was limited to those articles that could be found in the Physician Data Query and excluded those written at the "start" class or "stub" class level. Lawrence found the articles accurate but not very readable, and thought that "Wikipedia's lack of readability (to non-college readers) may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing".[204]The Economist argued that better-written articles tend to be more reliable: "inelegant or ranting prose usually reflects muddled thoughts and incomplete information".[205]

Coverage of topics and systemic bias

See also: Notability in the English Wikipedia and Criticism of Wikipedia § Systemic bias in coverage

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Wikipedia seeks to create a summary of all human knowledge in the form of an online encyclopedia, with each topic covered encyclopedically in one article. Since it has terabytes of disk space, it can have far more topics than can be covered by any printed encyclopedia.[206] The exact degree and manner of coverage on Wikipedia is under constant review by its editors, and disagreements are not uncommon (see deletionism and inclusionism).[207][208] Wikipedia contains materials that some people may find objectionable, offensive, or pornographic. The "Wikipedia is not censored" policy has sometimes proved controversial: in 2008, Wikipedia rejected an online petition against the inclusion of images of Muhammad in the English edition of its Muhammad article, citing this policy. The presence of politically, religiously, and pornographically sensitive materials in Wikipedia has led to the censorship of Wikipedia by national authorities in China[209] and Pakistan,[210] amongst other countries.

A 2008 study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Palo Alto Research Center gave a distribution of topics as well as growth (from July 2006 to January 2008) in each field:[211]

  • Culture and Arts: 30% (210%)
  • Biographies and persons: 15% (97%)
  • Geography and places: 14% (52%)
  • Society and social sciences: 12% (83%)
  • History and events: 11% (143%)
  • Natural and Physical Sciences: 9% (213%)
  • Technology and Applied Science: 4% (−6%)
  • Religions and belief systems: 2% (38%)
  • Health: 2% (42%)
  • Mathematics and logic: 1% (146%)
  • Thought and Philosophy: 1% (160%)

These numbers refer only to the number of articles: it is possible for one topic to contain a large number of short articles and another to contain a small number of large ones. Through its "Wikipedia Loves Libraries" program, Wikipedia has partnered with major public libraries such as the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to expand its coverage of underrepresented subjects and articles.[212]

A 2011 study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota indicated that male and female editors focus on different coverage topics. There was a greater concentration of females in the "people and arts" category, while males focus more on "geography and science".[213]

Coverage of topics and selection bias

Research conducted by Mark Graham of the Oxford Internet Institute in 2009 indicated that the geographic distribution of article topics is highly uneven. Africa is the most underrepresented.[214] Across 30 language editions of Wikipedia, historical articles and sections are generally Eurocentric and focused on recent events.[215]

An editorial in The Guardian in 2014 claimed that more effort went into providing references for a list of female porn actors than a list of women writers.[216] Data has also shown that Africa-related material often faces omission; a knowledge gap that a July 2018 Wikimedia conference in Cape Town sought to address.[136]

Systemic biases

When multiple editors contribute to one topic or set of topics, systemic bias may arise, due to the demographic backgrounds of the editors. In 2011, Wales claimed that the unevenness of coverage is a reflection of the demography of the editors, citing for example "biographies of famous women through history and issues surrounding early childcare".[48] The October 22, 2013, essay by Tom Simonite in MIT's Technology Review titled "The Decline of Wikipedia" discussed the effect of systemic bias and policy creep on the downward trend in the number of editors.[49]

Systemic bias on Wikipedia may follow that of culture generally,[vague] for example favoring certain nationalities, ethnicities or majority religions.[217] It may more specifically follow the biases of Internet culture, inclining to be young, male, English-speaking, educated, technologically aware, and wealthy enough to spare time for editing. Biases, intrinsically, may include an overemphasis on topics such as pop culture, technology, and current events.[217]

Taha Yasseri of the University of Oxford, in 2013, studied the statistical trends of systemic bias at Wikipedia introduced by editing conflicts and their resolution.[218][219] His research examined the counterproductive work behavior of edit warring. Yasseri contended that simple reverts or "undo" operations were not the most significant measure of counterproductive behavior at Wikipedia and relied instead on the statistical measurement of detecting "reverting/reverted pairs" or "mutually reverting edit pairs". Such a "mutually reverting edit pair" is defined where one editor reverts the edit of another editor who then, in sequence, returns to revert the first editor in the "mutually reverting edit pairs". The results were tabulated for several language versions of Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia's three largest conflict rates belonged to the articles George W. Bush, anarchism, and Muhammad.[219] By comparison, for the German Wikipedia, the three largest conflict rates at the time of the Oxford study were for the articles covering Croatia, Scientology, and 9/11 conspiracy theories.[219]

Researchers from Washington University developed a statistical model to measure systematic bias in the behavior of Wikipedia's users regarding controversial topics. The authors focused on behavioral changes of the encyclopedia's administrators after assuming the post, writing that systematic bias occurred after the fact.[220][221]

Explicit content

See also: Internet Watch Foundation and Wikipedia and Reporting of child pornography images on Wikimedia Commons

"Wikipedia censorship" redirects here. For the government censorship of Wikipedia, see Censorship of Wikipedia. For Wikipedia's policy concerning censorship, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not censored

Wikipedia has been criticized for allowing information about graphic content. Articles depicting what some critics have called objectionable content (such as feces, cadaver, human penis, vulva, and nudity) contain graphic pictures and detailed information easily available to anyone with access to the internet, including children.

The site also includes sexual content such as images and videos of masturbation and ejaculation, illustrations of zoophilia, and photos from hardcore pornographic films in its articles. It also has non-sexual photographs of nude children.

The Wikipedia article about Virgin Killer—a 1976 album from the GermanrockbandScorpions—features a picture of the album's original cover, which depicts a naked prepubescent girl. The original release cover caused controversy and was replaced in some countries. In December 2008, access to the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer was blocked for four days by most Internet service providers in the United Kingdom after the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) decided the album cover was a potentially illegal indecent image and added the article's URL to a "blacklist" it supplies to British internet service providers.[222]

In April 2010, Sanger wrote a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlining his concerns that two categories of images on Wikimedia Commons contained child pornography, and were in violation of US federal obscenity law.[223][224] Sanger later clarified that the images, which were related to pedophilia and one about lolicon, were not of real children, but said that they constituted "obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children", under the PROTECT Act of 2003.[225] That law bans photographic child pornography and cartoon images and drawings of children that are obscene under American law.[225] Sanger also expressed concerns about access to the images on Wikipedia in schools.[226]Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh strongly rejected Sanger's accusation,[227] saying that Wikipedia did not have "material we would deem to be illegal. If we did, we would remove it."[227] Following the complaint by Sanger, Wales deleted sexual images without consulting the community. After some editors who volunteer to maintain the site argued that the decision to delete had been made hastily, Wales voluntarily gave up some of the powers he had held up to that time as part of his co-founder status. He wrote in a message to the Wikimedia Foundation mailing-list that this action was "in the interest of encouraging this discussion to be about real philosophical/content issues, rather than be about me and how quickly I acted".[228] Critics, including Wikipediocracy, noticed that many of the pornographic images deleted from Wikipedia since 2010 have reappeared.[229]

Privacy

One privacy concern in the case of Wikipedia is the right of a private citizen to remain a "private citizen" rather than a "public figure" in the eyes of the law.[230][note 6] It is a battle between the right to be anonymous in cyberspace and the right to be anonymous in real life ("meatspace"). A particular problem occurs in the case of a relatively unimportant individual and for whom there exists a Wikipedia page against her or his wishes.

In January 2006, a German court ordered the German Wikipedia shut down within Germany because it stated the full name of Boris Floricic, aka "Tron", a deceased hacker. On February 9, 2006, the injunction against Wikimedia Deutschland was overturned, with the court rejecting the notion that Tron's right to privacy or that of his parents was being violated.[231]

Wikipedia has a "Volunteer Response Team" that uses Znuny, a free and open-source software fork of OTRS[232] to handle queries without having to reveal the identities of the involved parties. This is used, for example, in confirming the permission for using individual images and other media in the project.[233]

Sexism

Main article: Gender bias on Wikipedia

Wikipedia was described in 2015 as harboring a battleground culture of sexism and harassment.[234][235]

The perceived toxic attitudes and tolerance of violent and abusive language were reasons put forth in 2013 for the gender gap in Wikipedia editorship.[236]

Edit-a-thons have been held to encourage female editors and increase the coverage of women's topics.[237]

A comprehensive 2008 survey, published in 2016, found significant gender differences in: confidence in expertise, discomfort with editing, and response to critical feedback. "Women reported less confidence in their expertise, expressed greater discomfort with editing (which typically involves conflict), and reported more negative responses to critical feedback compared to men."[238]

Operation

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia movement affiliates

Main article: Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia is hosted and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization which also operates Wikipedia-related projects such as Wiktionary and Wikibooks. The foundation relies on public contributions and grants to fund its mission.[239] The foundation's 2013 IRS Form 990 shows revenue of $39.7 million and expenses of almost $29 million, with assets of $37.2 million and liabilities of about $2.3 million.[240]

In May 2014, Wikimedia Foundation named Lila Tretikov as its second executive director, taking over for Sue Gardner.[241] The Wall Street Journal reported on May 1, 2014, that Tretikov's information technology background from her years at University of California offers Wikipedia an opportunity to develop in more concentrated directions guided by her often repeated position statement that, "Information, like air, wants to be free."[242][243] The same Wall Street Journal article reported these directions of development according to an interview with spokesman Jay Walsh of Wikimedia, who "said Tretikov would address that issue (paid advocacy) as a priority. 'We are really pushing toward more transparency ... We are reinforcing that paid advocacy is not welcome.' Initiatives to involve greater diversity of contributors, better mobile support of Wikipedia, new geo-location tools to find local content more easily, and more tools for users in the second and third world are also priorities," Walsh said.[242]

Following the departure of Tretikov from Wikipedia due to issues concerning the use of the "superprotection" feature which some language versions of Wikipedia have adopted, Katherine Maher became the third executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2016.[244] Maher has stated that one of her priorities would be the issue of editor harassment endemic to Wikipedia as identified by the Wikipedia board in December. Maher stated regarding the harassment issue that: "It establishes a sense within the community that this is a priority ... (and that correction requires that) it has to be more than words."[245]

Wikipedia is also supported by many organizations and groups that are affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation but independently-run, called Wikimedia movement affiliates. These include Wikimedia chapters (which are national or sub-national organizations, such as Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimédia France), thematic organizations (such as Amical Wikimedia for the Catalan language community), and user groups. These affiliates participate in the promotion, development, and funding of Wikipedia.

Software operations and support

See also: MediaWiki

The operation of Wikipedia depends on MediaWiki, a custom-made, free and open sourcewiki software platform written in PHP and built upon the MySQL database system.[246] The software incorporates programming features such as a macro language, variables, a transclusion system for templates, and URL redirection. MediaWiki is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and it is used by all Wikimedia projects, as well as many other wiki projects. Originally, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki written in Perl by Clifford Adams (Phase I), which initially required CamelCase for article hyperlinks; the present double bracket style was incorporated later. Starting in January 2002 (Phase II), Wikipedia began running on a PHP wiki engine with a MySQL database; this software was custom-made for Wikipedia by Magnus Manske. The Phase II software was repeatedly modified to accommodate the exponentially increasing demand. In July 2002 (Phase III), Wikipedia shifted to the third-generation software, MediaWiki, originally written by Lee Daniel Crocker.

Several MediaWiki extensions are installed[247] to extend the functionality of the MediaWiki software.

In April 2005, a Lucene extension[248][249] was added to MediaWiki's built-in search and Wikipedia switched from MySQL to Lucene for searching. Lucene was later replaced by CirrusSearch which is based on Elasticsearch.[250]

In July 2013, after extensive beta testing, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) extension, VisualEditor, was opened to public use.[251][252][253][254] It was met with much rejection and criticism, and was described as "slow and buggy".[255] The feature was changed from opt-out to opt-in afterward.

Automated editing

Main article: Wikipedia bots

Computer programs called bots have often been used to perform simple and repetitive tasks, such as correcting common misspellings and stylistic issues, or to start articles such as geography entries in a standard format from statistical data.[256][257][258] One controversial contributor, Sverker Johansson, creating articles with his bot was reported to create up to 10,000 articles on the Swedish Wikipedia on certain days.[259] Additionally, there are bots designed to automatically notify editors when they make common editing errors (such as unmatched quotes or unmatched parentheses).[260] Edits falsely identified by bots as the work of a banned editor can be restored by other editors. An anti-vandal bot is programmed to detect and revert vandalism quickly.[257] Bots are able to indicate edits from particular accounts or IP address ranges, as occurred at the time of the shooting down of the MH17 jet incident in July 2014 when it was reported that edits were made via IPs controlled by the Russian government.[261] Bots on Wikipedia must be approved before activation.[262]

According to Andrew Lih, the current expansion of Wikipedia to millions of articles would be difficult to envision without the use of such bots.[263]

Hardware operations and support

See also: Wikimedia Foundation § Hardware

Wikipedia receives between 25,000 and 60,000-page requests per second, depending on the time of the day.[264][needs update] As of 2021,[update] page requests are first passed to a front-end layer of Varnish caching servers and back-end layer caching is done by Apache Traffic Server.[265]

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Digital rights management

Technology to control access to copyrighted works and prevent unauthorized copying

Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM)[1] are a set of access control technologies for restricting the use of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works.[2] DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works (such as software and multimedia content), as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.[3]

Worldwide, many laws have been created which criminalize the circumvention of DRM, communication about such circumvention, and the creation and distribution of tools used for such circumvention. Such laws are part of the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act,[4] and the European Union's Information Society Directive[5] (the French DADVSI is an example of a member state of the European Union ("EU") implementing the directive).[6]

Common DRM techniques include restrictive licensing agreements: The access to digital materials, copyright and public domain is restricted to consumers as a condition of entering a website or when downloading software.[7]Encryption, scrambling of expressive material and embedding of a tag, which is designed to control access and reproduction of information, including backup copies for personal use.[8] DRM technologies enable content publishers to enforce their own access policies on content, such as restrictions on copying or viewing. These technologies have been criticized for restricting individuals from copying or using the content legally, such as by fair use. DRM is in common use by the entertainment industry (e.g., audio and video publishers).[9] Many online music stores, such as Apple's iTunes Store, and e-book publishers and vendors, such as OverDrive, also use DRM, as do cable and satellite service operators, to prevent unauthorized use of content or services. However, Apple dropped DRM from all iTunes music files around 2009.[10]

Industry has expanded the usage of DRM to more traditional hardware products, such as Keurig's coffeemakers,[11][12]Philips' light bulbs,[13][14]mobile devicepower chargers,[15][16][17] and John Deere's tractors.[18] For instance, tractor companies try to prevent farmers from making DIYrepairs under the usage of DRM-laws such as DMCA.[19]

The use of digital rights management is not always without controversy. DRM users argue that the technology is necessary to prevent intellectual property such as media from being copied, just as physical locks are needed to prevent personal property from being stolen,[1] that it can help the copyright holder maintain artistic control,[20] and to support licensing modalities such as rentals.[21] Critics of DRM contend that there is no evidence that DRM helps prevent copyright infringement, arguing instead that it serves only to inconvenience legitimate customers, and that DRM can stifle innovation and competition.[22] Furthermore, works can become permanently inaccessible if the DRM scheme changes or if the service is discontinued.[23] DRM can also restrict users from exercising their legal rights under the copyright law, such as backing up copies of CDs or DVDs (instead having to buy another copy, if it can still be purchased), lending materials out through a library, accessing works in the public domain, or using copyrighted materials for research and education under the fair use doctrine.[1]

Introduction

The rise of digital media and analog-to-digital conversion technologies has vastly increased the concerns of copyright-owning individuals and organizations, particularly within the music and movie industries. While analog media inevitably lose quality with each copy generation, and in some cases even during normal use, digital media files may be duplicated an unlimited number of times with no degradation in the quality. The rise of personal computers as household appliances has made it convenient for consumers to convert media (which may or may not be copyrighted) originally in a physical, analog or broadcast form into a universal, digital form (this process is called ripping) for portability or viewing later. This, combined with the Internet and popular file-sharing tools, has made unauthorized distribution of copies of copyrighted digital media (also called digital piracy) much easier.

In 1983, a very early implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) was the Software Service System (SSS) devised by the Japanese engineer Ryuichi Moriya. [24] and subsequently refined under the name superdistribution. The SSS was based on encryption, with specialized hardware that controlled decryption and also enabled payments to be sent to the copyright holder. The underlying principle of the SSS and subsequently of superdistribution was that the distribution of encrypted digital products should be completely unrestricted and that users of those products would not just be permitted to redistribute them but would actually be encouraged to do so.

Technologies

Verifications

Product keys

One of the oldest and least complicated DRM protection methods for computer and Nintendo Entertainment System games was when the game would pause and prompt the player to look up a certain page in a booklet or manual that came with the game; if the player lacked access to such material, they would not be able to continue the game. A product key, a typically alphanumerical serial number used to represent a license to a particular piece of software, served a similar function. During the installation process or launch for the software, the user is asked to input the key; if the key correctly corresponds to a valid license (typically via internal algorithms), the key is accepted, then the user who bought the game can continue. In modern practice, product keys are typically combined with other DRM practices (such as online "activation"), as the software could be cracked to run without a product key, or "keygen" programs could be developed to generate keys that would be accepted.

Limited install activations

Some DRM systems limit the number of installations a user can activate on different computers by requiring authentication with an online server. Most games with this restriction allow three or five installs, although some allow an installation to be recovered when the game is uninstalled. This not only limits users who have more than three or five computers in their homes, but can also prove to be a problem if the user has to unexpectedly perform certain tasks like upgrading operating systems or reformatting the computer's storage device.

In mid-2008, the Windows version of Mass Effect marked the start of a wave of titles primarily making use of SecuROM for DRM and requiring authentication with a server. The use of the DRM scheme in 2008's Sporebackfired and there were protests, resulting in a considerable number of users seeking an unlicensed version instead. This backlash against the three-activation limit was a significant factor in Spore becoming the most pirated game in 2008, with TorrentFreak compiling a "top 10" list with Spore topping the list.[25][26] However, Tweakguides concluded that the presence of intrusive DRM does not appear to increase video game piracy, noting that other games on the list such as Call of Duty 4 and Assassin's Creed use DRM which has no install limits or online activation. Additionally, other video games that do use intrusive DRM such as BioShock, Crysis Warhead, and Mass Effect, do not appear on the list.[27]

Persistent online authentication

Main article: Always-on DRM

Many mainstream publishers continued to rely on online DRM throughout the later half of 2008 and early 2009, including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Valve, and Atari, The Sims 3 being a notable exception in the case of Electronic Arts.[28] Ubisoft broke with the tendency to use online DRM in late 2008, with the release of Prince of Persia as an experiment to "see how truthful people really are" regarding the claim that DRM was inciting people to use illegal copies.[29] Although Ubisoft has not commented on the results of the "experiment", Tweakguides noted that two torrents on Mininova had over 23,000 people downloading the game within 24 hours of its release.[30]

Ubisoft formally announced a return to online authentication on 9 February 2010, through its Uplay online game platform, starting with Silent Hunter 5, The Settlers 7, and Assassin's Creed II.[31]Silent Hunter 5 was first reported to have been compromised within 24 hours of release,[32] but users of the cracked version soon found out that only early parts of the game were playable.[33] The Uplay system works by having the installed game on the local PCs incomplete and then continuously downloading parts of the game-code from Ubisoft's servers as the game progresses.[34] It was more than a month after the PC release in the first week of April that software was released that could bypass Ubisoft's DRM in Assassin's Creed II. The software did this by emulating a Ubisoft server for the game. Later that month, a real crack was released that was able to remove the connection requirement altogether.[35][36]

In March 2010, Uplay servers suffered a period of inaccessibility due to a large-scale DDoS attack, causing around 5% of game owners to become locked out of playing their game.[37] The company later credited owners of the affected games with a free download, and there has been no further downtime.[38]

Other developers, such as Blizzard Entertainment are also shifting to a strategy where most of the game logic is on the "side" or taken care of by the servers of the game maker. Blizzard uses this strategy for its game Diablo III and Electronic Arts used this same strategy with their reboot of SimCity, the necessity of which has been questioned.[39]

Encryption

An early example of a DRM system is the Content Scrambling System (CSS) employed by the DVD Forum on DVD movies. CSS uses an encryption algorithm to encrypt content on the DVD disc. Manufacturers of DVD players must license this technology and implement it in their devices so that they can decrypt the encrypted content to play it. The CSS license agreement includes restrictions on how the DVD content is played, including what outputs are permitted and how such permitted outputs are made available. This keeps the encryption intact as the video material is played out to a TV.

In 1999, Jon Lech Johansen released an application called DeCSS, which allowed a CSS-encrypted DVD to play on a computer running the Linux operating system, at a time when no licensed DVD player application for Linux had yet been created. The legality of DeCSS is questionable: one of the authors has been the subject of a lawsuit, and reproduction of the keys themselves is subject to restrictions as illegal numbers.[40]

Encryption can ensure that other restriction measures cannot be bypassed by modifying the software, so sophisticated DRM systems rely on encryption to be fully effective. More modern examples include ADEPT, FairPlay, Advanced Access Content System.

Copying restriction

Further restrictions can be applied to electronic books and documents, in order to prevent copying, printing, forwarding, and saving backups. This is common for both e-publishers and enterprise Information Rights Management. It typically integrates with content management system software but corporations such as Samsung Electronics also develop their own custom DRM systems.[41]

While some commentators believe DRM makes e-book publishing complex,[42] it has been used by organizations such as the British Library in its secure electronic delivery service to permit worldwide access to substantial numbers of rare documents which, for legal reasons, were previously only available to authorized individuals actually visiting the Library's document centre at Boston Spa in England.[43][44][45]

There are four main e-book DRM schemes in common use today, one each from Adobe, Amazon, Apple, and the Marlin Trust Management Organization (MTMO).

  • Adobe's DRM is applied to EPUBs and PDFs, and can be read by several third-party e-book readers, as well as Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software. Barnes & Noble uses a DRM technology provided by Adobe, applied to EPUBs and the older PDB (Palm OS) format e-books.
  • Amazon's DRM is an adaption of the original Mobipocket encryption and is applied to Amazon's .azw4, KF8, and Mobipocket format e-books. Topaz format e-books have their own encryption system.[46]
  • Apple's FairPlay DRM is applied to EPUBs and can currently only be read by Apple's iBooks app on iOS devices and Mac OS computers.[citation needed]
  • The Marlin DRM was developed and is maintained in an open industry group known as the Marlin Developer Community (MDC) and is licensed by MTMO. (Marlin was founded by five companies, Intertrust, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, and Sony.) The Kno online textbook publisher uses Marlin to protect e-books it sells in the EPUB format. These books can be read on the Kno App for iOS and Android.

Anti-tampering

The Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, contains a DRM system called the Protected Media Path, which contains the Protected Video Path (PVP). PVP tries to stop DRM-restricted content from playing while unsigned software is running, in order to prevent the unsigned software from accessing the content. Additionally, PVP can encrypt information during transmission to the monitor or the graphics card, which makes it more difficult to make unauthorized recordings.

Bohemia Interactive have used a form of technology since Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, wherein if the game copy is suspected of being unauthorized, annoyances like guns losing their accuracy or the players being turned into a bird are introduced.[47]Croteam, the company that released Serious Sam 3: BFE in November 2011, implemented a different form of DRM wherein, instead of displaying error messages that stop the illicit version of the game from running, it causes a special invincible foe in the game to appear and constantly attack the player until they are killed.[48][49]

Regional lockout

Main article: Regional lockout

Also in 1999, Microsoft released Windows Media DRM, which read instructions from media files in a rights management language that stated what the user may do with the media.[50] Later versions of Windows Media DRM implemented music subscription services that make downloaded files unplayable after subscriptions are cancelled, along with the ability for a regional lockout.[51]

Tracking

Watermarks

Digital watermarks are steganographically embedded within audio or video data during production or distribution. They can be used for recording the copyright owner, the distribution chain or identifying the purchaser of the music. They are not complete DRM mechanisms in their own right, but are used as part of a system for copyright enforcement, such as helping provide prosecution evidence for legal purposes, rather than direct technological restriction.[52]

Some programs used to edit video and/or audio may distort, delete, or otherwise interfere with watermarks. Signal/modulator-carrier chromatography may also separate watermarks from original audio or detect them as glitches. Additionally, comparison of two separately obtained copies of audio using simple, home-grown algorithms can often reveal watermarks.[citation needed]

Metadata

Sometimes, metadata is included in purchased media which records information such as the purchaser's name, account information, or email address. Also included may be the file's publisher, author, creation date, download date, and various notes. This information is not embedded in the played content, like a watermark, but is kept separate, but within the file or stream.

As an example, metadata is used in media purchased from Apple's iTunes Store for DRM-free as well as DRM-restricted versions of their music or videos. This information is included as MPEG standard metadata.[53][54]

Television

The CableCard standard is used by cable television providers in the United States to restrict content to services to which the customer has subscribed.

The broadcast flag concept was developed by Fox Broadcasting in 2001, and was supported by the MPAA and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A ruling in May 2005, by a United States courts of appeals held that the FCC lacked authority to impose it on the TV industry in the US. It required that all HDTVs obey a stream specification determining whether a stream can be recorded. This could block instances of fair use, such as time-shifting. It achieved more success elsewhere when it was adopted by the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), a consortium of about 250 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, and regulatory bodies from about 35 countries involved in attempting to develop new digital TV standards.

An updated variant of the broadcast flag has been developed in the Content Protection and Copy Management group under DVB (DVB-CPCM). Upon publication by DVB, the technical specification was submitted to European governments in March 2007. As with much DRM, the CPCM system is intended to control use of copyrighted material by the end-user, at the direction of the copyright holder. According to Ren Bucholz of the EFF, which paid to be a member of the consortium, "You won't even know ahead of time whether and how you will be able to record and make use of particular programs or devices".[55] The normative sections have now all been approved for publication by the DVB Steering Board, and will be published by ETSI as a formal European Standard as ETSI TS 102 825-X where X refers to the Part number of specification. Nobody has yet stepped forward to provide a Compliance and Robustness regime for the standard (though several are rumoured to be in development), so it is not presently possible to fully implement a system, as there is nowhere to obtain the necessary device certificates.

Implementations

In addition, platforms such as Steam may include DRM mechanisms. Most of the mechanisms above are not DRM mechanisms per se but are still referred to as DRM mechanisms, rather being copy protection mechanisms.

Laws

The 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WCT) requires nations to enact laws against DRM circumvention, and has been implemented in most member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The United States implementation is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), while in Europe the treaty has been implemented by the 2001 Information Society Directive, which requires member states of the European Union to implement legal protections for technological prevention measures. In 2006[update], the lower house of the French parliament adopted such legislation as part of the controversial DADVSI law, but added that protected DRM techniques should be made interoperable, a move which caused widespread controversy in the United States. The Tribunal de grande instance de Paris concluded in 2006, that the complete blocking of any possibilities of making private copies was an impermissible behaviour under French copyright law.[56]

China

In 1998 "Interim Regulations" were founded in China, referring to the DMCA.[57] China also has Intellectual Property Rights, which to the World Trade Organization, was "not in compliance with the Berne Convention".[57] The WTO panel "determined that China's copyright laws do not provide the same efficacy to non- Chinese nationals as they do to Chinese citizens, as required by the Berne Convention". and that "China's copyright laws do not provide enforcement procedures so as to permit effective action against any act of infringement of intellectual property rights".[57]

European Union

For broader coverage of this topic, see Copyright law of the European Union.

On 22 May 2001, the European Union passed the Information Society Directive, an implementation of the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, that addressed many of the same issues as the DMCA.

On 25 April 2007, the European Parliament supported the first directive of EU, which aims to harmonize criminal law in the member states. It adopted a first reading report on harmonizing the national measures for fighting copyright abuse. If the European Parliament and the Council approve the legislation, the submitted directive will oblige the member states to consider a crime a violation of international copyright committed with commercial purposes. The text suggests numerous measures: from fines to imprisonment, depending on the gravity of the offense. The EP members supported the Commission motion, changing some of the texts. They excluded patent rights from the range of the directive and decided that the sanctions should apply only to offenses with commercial purposes. Copying for personal, non-commercial purposes was also excluded from the range of the directive.

In 2012, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favor of reselling copyrighted games, prohibiting any preventative action that would prevent such transaction.[58] The court said that "The first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU. A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy."[59]

In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that circumventing DRM on game devices may be legal under some circumstances, limiting the legal protection to only cover technological measures intended to prevent or eliminate unauthorised acts of reproduction, communication, public offer or distribution.[60][61]

India

India is not a signatory to WIPO Copyright Treaty nor the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.[62] However, as a part of its 2012 amendment of copyright laws, it implemented digital rights management protection.[63] Section 65A of Copyright Act, 1957 imposed criminal sanctions on circumvention of "effective technological protection measures".[64] Section 65B criminalized interference with digital rights management information. Any distribution of copies whose rights management information was modified was also criminalized by Section 65B.[64] The terms used in the provisions were not specifically defined, with the concerned Parliamentary Standing Committee indicating the same to have been deliberate. The Standing Committee noted that similar terms in developed terms were used to considerable complexity and therefore in light of the same, it was preferable to keep it open-ended.[64]

A prison sentence is mandatory under both provisions, with a maximum term of 2 years in addition to fine, which is discretionary. While the statute doesn't include exceptions to copyright infringement, including fair use directly, Section 65A allows measures "unless they are expressly prohibited", which may implicitly include such exceptions.[63] Section 65B however, lacks any exceptions.[65] Further. Section 65B (digital rights management information) allows resort to other civil provisions, unlike Section 65A.[65][64]

It is important to note that the WIPO Internet Treaties themselves do not mandate criminal sanctions, merely requiring "effective legal remedies."[66] Thus, India's adoption of criminal sanctions ensures compliance with the highest standards of the WIPO internet treaties. Given the 2012 amendment, India's entry to the WIPO Internet Treaties appears facilitated,[67] especially since ratification of the WIPO Internet Treaties is mandatory under agreements like the RCEP.[63]

Israel

As of 2019[update] Israel had not ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Israeli law does not currently expressly prohibit the circumvention of technological measures used to implement digital rights management. In June 2012 The Israeli Ministry of Justice proposed a bill to prohibit such activities, but the Knesset did not pass it. In September 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the current copyright law could not be interpreted to prohibit the circumvention of digital rights management, though the Court left open the possibility that such activities could result in liability under the law of unjust enrichment.[68]

United States

Main article: Digital Millennium Copyright Act

In May 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed as an amendment to US copyright law, which criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology that lets users circumvent technical copy-restriction methods. (For a more detailed analysis of the statute, see WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act.)

Reverse engineering of existing systems is expressly permitted under the Act under the specific condition of a safe harbor, where circumvention is necessary to achieve interoperability with other software . See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1201(f). Open-source software to decrypt content scrambled with the Content Scrambling System and other encryption techniques presents an intractable problem with the application of the Act. Much depends on the intent of the actor. If the decryption is done for the purpose of achieving interoperability of open source operating systems with proprietary operating systems, it would be protected by Section 1201(f) the Act. Cf., Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001) at notes 5 and 16. However, dissemination of such software for the purpose of violating or encouraging others to violate copyrights has been held illegal. See Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

The DMCA has been largely ineffective in protecting DRM systems,[69] as software allowing users to circumvent DRM remains widely available. However, those who wish to preserve the DRM systems have attempted to use the Act to restrict the distribution and development of such software, as in the case of DeCSS.

Although the Act contains an exception for research, the exception is subject to vague qualifiers that do little to reassure researchers. Cf., 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1201(g). The DMCA has affected cryptography, because many[who?] fear that cryptanalytic research may violate the DMCA. In 2001, the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov for alleged infringement of the DMCA was a highly publicized example of the law's use to prevent or penalize development of anti-DRM measures. He was arrested in the US after a presentation at DEF CON, and spent several months in jail. The DMCA has also been cited as chilling to non-criminal inclined users, such as students of cryptanalysis including, Professor Edward Felten and students at Princeton University;[70] security consultants, such as Netherlands based Niels Ferguson, who declined to publish vulnerabilities he discovered in Intel's secure-computing scheme due to fear of being arrested under the DMCA when he travels to the US; and blind or visually impaired users of screen readers or other assistive technologies.[71]

International issues

In Europe, there have been several ongoing dialog activities that are characterized by their consensus-building intention:

  • January 2001 Workshop on Digital Rights Management of the World Wide Web Consortium .[72]
  • 2003 Participative preparation of the European Committee for Standardization/Information Society Standardization System (CEN/ISSS) DRM Report.[73]
  • 2005 DRM Workshops of Directorate-General for Information Society and Media (European Commission), and the work of the High Level Group on DRM.[74]
  • 2005 Gowers Review of Intellectual Property by the British Government from Andrew Gowers published in 2006 with recommendations regarding copyright terms, exceptions, orphaned works, and copyright enforcement.
  • 2004 Consultation process of the European Commission, DG Internal Market, on the Communication COM(2004)261 by the European Commission on "Management of Copyright and Related Rights" (closed).[75]
  • The AXMEDIS project, a European Commission Integrated Project of the FP6, has as its main goal automating content production, copy protection, and distribution, to reduce the related costs, and to support DRM at both B2B and B2C areas, harmonizing them.
  • The INDICARE project is an ongoing dialogue on consumer acceptability of DRM solutions in Europe. It is an open and neutral platform for exchange of facts and opinions, mainly based on articles by authors from science and practice.

Notable lawsuits

Opposition

Many organizations, prominent individuals, and computer scientists are opposed to DRM. Two notable DRM critics are John Walker, as expressed for instance, in his article "The Digital Imprimatur: How Big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle",[76] and Richard Stallman in his article The Right to Read[77] and in other public statements: "DRM is an example of a malicious feature – a feature designed to hurt the user of the software, and therefore, it's something for which there can never be toleration".[78] Stallman also believes that using the word "rights" is misleading and suggests that the word "restrictions", as in "Digital Restrictions Management", be used instead.[79] This terminology has since been adopted by many other writers and critics unconnected with Stallman.[80][81][82]

Other prominent critics of DRM include Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University, who heads a British organization which opposes DRM and similar efforts in the UK and elsewhere, and Cory Doctorow, a writer and technology blogger.[83] The EFF and similar organizations such as FreeCulture.org also hold positions which are characterized as opposed to DRM.[84] The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has criticized DRM's effect as a trade barrier from a free market perspective.[85]

Bill Gates spoke about DRM at CES in 2006. According to him, DRM is not where it should be, and causes problems for legitimate consumers while trying to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate users.[86]

There have been numerous others who see DRM at a more fundamental level. This is similar to some of the ideas in Michael H. Goldhaber's presentation about "The Attention Economy and the Net" at a 1997 conference on the "Economics of Digital Information".[87] (sample quote from the "Advice for the Transition" section of that presentation:[87] "If you can't figure out how to afford it without charging, you may be doing something wrong.")

The Norwegian consumer rights organization "Forbrukerrådet" complained to Apple Inc. in 2007, about the company's use of DRM in, and in conjunction with, its iPod and iTunes products. Apple was accused of restricting users' access to their music and videos in an unlawful way, and of using EULAs which conflict with Norwegian consumer legislation. The complaint was supported by consumers' ombudsmen in Sweden and Denmark, and is currently[when?] being reviewed in the EU. Similarly, the United States Federal Trade Commission held hearings in March 2009, to review disclosure of DRM limitations to customers' use of media products.[88]

Valve president Gabe Newell also stated "most DRM strategies are just dumb" because they only decrease the value of a game in the consumer's eyes. Newell suggests that the goal should instead be "[creating] greater value for customers through service value". Valve operates Steam, a service which serves as an online store for PC games, as well as a social networking service and a DRM platform.[89]

At the 2012 Game Developers Conference, the CEO of CD Projekt Red, Marcin Iwinski, announced that the company will not use DRM in any of its future releases. Iwinski stated of DRM, "it's just over-complicating things. We release the game. It's cracked in two hours, it was no time for Witcher 2. What really surprised me is that the pirates didn't use the GOG version, which was not protected. They took the SecuROM retail version, cracked it and said 'we cracked it' – meanwhile there's a non-secure version with a simultaneous release. You'd think the GOG version would be the one floating around." Iwinski added after the presentation, "DRM does not protect your game. If there are examples that it does, then people maybe should consider it, but then there are complications with legit users."[90]

The Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers have historically opposed DRM, even going so far as to name AACS as a technology "most likely to fail" in an issue of IEEE Spectrum.[91]

Tools like FairUse4WM have been created to strip Windows Media of DRM restrictions.[92] Websites – such as library.nu (shut down by court order on 15 February 2012), BookFi, BookFinder, Library Genesis, and Sci-Hub – have gone further to allow downloading e-books by violating copyright.[93][94][95][96]

Public licenses

The latest version of the GNU General Public License version 3, as released by the Free Software Foundation, has a provision that "strips" DRM of its legal value, so people can break the DRM on GPL software without breaking laws like the DMCA. Also, in May 2006, the FSF launched a "Defective by Design" campaign against DRM.[97][98]

Creative Commons provides licensing options encouraging the expansion of and building upon creative work without the use of DRM.[99] In addition, Creative Commons licenses have anti-DRM clauses, therefore the use of DRM by a licensee to restrict the freedoms granted by a Creative Commons license is a breach of the Baseline Rights asserted by the licenses.[100]

DRM-free works

In reaction to opposition to DRM, many publishers and artists label their works as "DRM-free". Major companies that have done so include the following:

  • Apple Inc. sold DRM content on their iTunes Store when it launched in 2003, but made music DRM-free after April 2007[101] and has been labeling all music as "DRM-Free" since January 2009.[102] The files still carry tags to identify the purchaser. Other works sold on iTunes such as apps, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows continue to be protected by DRM.[103]
  • Since 2014, Comixology, which distributes digital comics, has allowed rights holders to provide the option of a DRM-free download of purchased comics. Publishers which allow this include Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions, and Zenescope Entertainment.[104]
  • GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games), a digital distributor since 2008, specializes in the distribution of PCvideo games. While most other digital distribution services allow various forms of DRM (or have them embedded), gog.com has a strict non-DRM policy.[105]
  • Tor Books, a major publisher of science fiction and fantasy books, first sold DRM-free e-books in July 2012.[106] Smaller e-book publishers, such as Baen Books and O'Reilly Media, had already forgone DRM previously.
  • Vimeo on Demand is one of the publishers included in the Free Software Foundation's DRM-free guide.[107]

Shortcomings

Reliability

Many DRM systems require authentication with an online server. Whenever the server goes down, or a region or country experiences an Internet outage, it effectively locks out people from registering or using the material. This is especially true for a product that requires a persistent online authentication, where, for example, a successful DDoS attack on the server would essentially make all copies of the material unusable.

Additionally, any system that requires contact with an authentication server is vulnerable to that server's becoming unavailable, as happened in 2007, when videos purchased from Major League Baseball (mlb.com) prior to 2006, became unplayable due to a change to the servers that validate the licenses.[108]

Usability

Discs with DRM schemes are not standards-compliant compact discs (CDs) but are rather CD-ROM media. Therefore, they all lack the CD logotype found on discs which follow the standard (known as Red Book). These CDs cannot be played on all CD players or personal computers. Personal computers running Microsoft Windows sometimes even crash when attempting to play the CDs.[109]

Performance

Certain DRM systems have been associated with performance drawbacks: some computer games implementing Denuvo Anti-Tamper have performed better after that was patched out.[110][111] However, the impact on performance can be minimized depending on how the system is integrated.[112] In March 2018, PC Gamer tested Final Fantasy 15 for the performance effects of Denuvo, which was found to cause no negative gameplay impact despite a little increase in loading time.[113]

Fundamental bypass

Always technically breakable

DRM schemes, especially software based ones, can never be wholly secure since the software must include all the information necessary to decrypt the content, such as the decryption keys. An attacker will be able to extract this information, directly decrypt and copy the content, which bypasses the restrictions imposed by a DRM system.[83] Even with the industrial-grade Advanced Access Content System (AACS) for HD DVD and Blu-ray Discs, a process key was published by hackers in December 2006, which enabled unrestricted access to AACS-protected content.[114] After the first keys were revoked, further cracked keys were released.[115]

Some DRM schemes use encrypted media which requires purpose-built hardware to decode the content. A common real-world example can be found in commercial direct broadcast satellite television systems such as DirecTV and Malaysia's Astro. The company uses tamper-resistant smart cards to store decryption keys so that they are hidden from the user and the satellite receiver. This appears to ensure that only licensed users with the hardware can access the content. While this in principle can work, it is extremely difficult to build the hardware to protect the secret key against a sufficiently determined adversary. Many such systems have failed in the field. Once the secret key is known, building a version of the hardware that performs no checks is often relatively straightforward. In addition user verification provisions are frequently subject to attack, pirate decryption being among the most frequented ones.

Bruce Schneier argues that digital copy prevention is futile: "What the entertainment industry is trying to do is to use technology to contradict that natural law. They want a practical way to make copying hard enough to save their existing business. But they are doomed to fail."[116] He has also described trying to make digital files uncopyable as being like "trying to make water not wet".[117] The creators of StarForce also take this stance, stating that "The purpose of copy protection is not making the game uncrackable – it is impossible."[118]

Analog recording

Main article: Analog recording

All forms of DRM for audio and visual material (excluding interactive materials, e.g., video games) are subject to the analog hole, namely that in order for a viewer to play the material, the digital signal must be turned into an analog signal containing light and/or sound for the viewer, and so available to be copied as no DRM is capable of controlling content in this form. In other words, a user could play a purchased audio file while using a separate program to record the sound back into the computer into a DRM-free file format.

All DRM to date can therefore be bypassed by recording this signal and digitally storing and distributing it in a non DRM limited form, by anyone who has the technical means of recording the analog stream. Furthermore, the analog hole cannot be overcome without the additional protection of externally imposed restrictions, such as legal regulations, because the vulnerability is inherent to all analog means of transmission.[119] However, the conversion from digital to analog and back is likely to force a loss of quality, particularly when using lossy digital formats. HDCP is an attempt to plug the analog hole, although as of 2009, it was largely ineffective.[120][121]

Asus released a soundcard which features a function called "Analog Loopback Transformation" to bypass the restrictions of DRM. This feature allows the user to record DRM-restricted audio via the soundcard's built-in analog I/O connection.[122][123]

In order to prevent this exploit, there has been some discussions between copyright holders and manufacturers of electronics capable of playing such content to no longer include analog connectivity in their devices.[124] The movement, dubbed as "Analog Sunset", has seen a steady decline in analog output options on most Blu-ray devices manufactured after 2010.[124]

Consumer rights implication

Ownership issue after purchase

DRM opponents argue that the presence of DRM violates existing private property rights and restricts a range of heretofore normal and legal user activities. A DRM component would control a device a user owns (such as a digital audio player) by restricting how it may act with regard to certain content, overriding some of the user's wishes (for example, preventing the user from burning a copyrighted song to CD as part of a compilation or a review). Doctorow has described this possibility as "the right to make up your own copyright laws".[125]

An example of this restriction to legal user activities may be seen in Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system in which content using a Protected Media Path is disabled or degraded depending on the DRM scheme's evaluation of whether the hardware and its use are 'secure'.[126] All forms of DRM depend on the DRM-enabled device (e.g., computer, DVD player, TV) imposing restrictions that cannot be disabled or modified by the user. Key issues around DRM such as the right to make personal copies, provisions for persons to lend copies to friends, provisions for service discontinuance, hardware agnosticism, software and operating system agnosticism,[127] contracts for public libraries, and customers' protection against one-side amendments of the contract by the publisher have not been fully addressed. It has also been pointed out that it is entirely unclear whether owners of content with DRM are legally permitted to pass on their property as inheritance to another person.[128]

In one instance of DRM that caused a rift with consumers, Amazon.com in July 2009, remotely deleted purchased copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) from customers' Amazon Kindles after providing them a refund for the purchased products.[129] Commentators have described these actions as Orwellian and have compared Amazon to Big Brother from Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.[130][131][132][133] After Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued a public apology, the Free Software Foundation wrote that this was just one more example of the excessive power Amazon has to remotely censor what people read through its software, and called upon Amazon to free its e-book reader and drop DRM.[134] Amazon then revealed the reason behind its deletion: the e-books in question were unauthorized reproductions of Orwell's works, which were not within the public domain and to which the company that published and sold them on Amazon's service had no rights.[135]

Compulsory bundled software

In 2005, Sony BMG introduced new DRM technology which installed DRM software on users' computers without clearly notifying the user or requiring confirmation. Among other things, the installed software included a rootkit, which created a severe security vulnerability others could exploit. When the nature of the DRM involved was made public much later, Sony BMG initially minimized the significance of the vulnerabilities its software had created, but was eventually compelled to recall millions of CDs, and released several attempts to patch the surreptitiously included software to at least remove the rootkit. Several class action lawsuits were filed, which were ultimately settled by agreements to provide affected consumers with a cash payout or album downloads free of DRM.[136]

Obsolescence

When standards and formats change, it may be difficult to transfer DRM-restricted content to new media, for instance Microsoft's new media player Zune did not support content that uses Microsoft's own PlaysForSure DRM scheme they had previously been selling.[137]

Furthermore, when a company undergoes business changes or even bankruptcy, its previous services may become unavailable. Examples include MSN Music,[138] Yahoo! Music Store,[139] Adobe Content Server 3 for Adobe PDF,[140] Acetrax Video on Demand,[141]etc.

Selective enforcement

DRM laws are widely flouted: according to Australia Official Music Chart Survey, copyright infringements from all causes are practised by millions of people.[142] According to the EFF, "in an effort to attract customers, these music services try to obscure the restrictions they impose on you with clever marketing."[143]

Economic implication

Lost benefits from massive market share

Jeff Raikes, ex-president of the Microsoft Business Division, stated: "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".[144] An analogous argument was made in an early paper by Kathleen Conner and Richard Rummelt.[145] A subsequent study of digital rights management for e-books by Gal Oestreicher-Singer and Arun Sundararajan showed that relaxing some forms of DRM can be beneficial to digital rights holders because the losses from piracy are outweighed by the increases in value to legal buyers.[146]

Also, free distribution, even if unauthorized, can be beneficial to small or new content providers by spreading and popularizing content. With a larger consumer base by sharing and word of mouth, the number of paying customers also increases, resulting in more profits. Several musicians[who?] have grown to popularity by posting their music videos on sites like YouTube where the content is free to listen to. This method of putting the product out in the world free of DRM not only generates a greater following but also fuels greater revenue through other merchandise (hats, T-shirts), concert tickets, and of course, more sales of the content to paying consumers.

Push away legitimate customer

While the main intent of DRM is to prevent unauthorized copies of a product, there are mathematical models that suggest that DRM schemes can fail to do their job on multiple levels.[147] The biggest failure is the burden that DRM poses on a legitimate customer will reduce the customer's willingness to pay for the product. An ideal DRM would be one which imposes zero restrictions on legal buyers but imposes restrictions on copyright infringers.

In January 2007, EMI stopped publishing audio CDs with DRM, stating that "the costs of DRM do not measure up to the results."[148] In March, Musicload.de, one of Europe's largest internet music retailers, announced their position strongly against DRM. In an open letter, Musicload stated that three out of every four calls to their customer support phone service are as a result of consumer frustration with DRM.[149]

The mathematical models are strictly applied to the music industry (music CDs, downloadable music). These models could be extended to the other industries such as the gaming industry which show similarities to the music industry model. There are real instances when DRM restrain consumers in the gaming industry. Some DRM games are required to connect to the Internet in order to play them.[150]Good Old Games' head of public relations and marketing, Trevor Longino, in agreement with this, believes that using DRM is less effective than improving a game's value in reducing video game infringement.[151] However, TorrentFreak published a "Top 10 pirated games of 2008" list which shows that intrusive DRM is not the main reason why some games are copied more heavily than others. Popular games such as BioShock, Crysis Warhead, and Mass Effect which use intrusive DRM are strangely absent from the list.[27]

Anti-competition practice

[icon]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2019)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) consider the use of DRM systems to be an anti-competitive practice.[152]

Alternatives

Several business models have been proposed that offer an alternative to the use of DRM by content providers and rights holders.[153]

"Easy and cheap"

The first business model that dissuades illegal file sharing is to make downloading digital media easy and cheap. The use of noncommercial sites makes downloading digital media complex. For example, misspelling an artist's name in a search query will often fail to return a result, and some sites limit internet traffic, which can make downloading media a long and frustrating process. Furthermore, illegal file sharing websites are often host to viruses and malware which attach themselves to the files (see torrent poisoning).[154] If digital media (for example, songs) are all provided on accessible, legitimate sites, and are reasonably priced, consumers will purchase media legally to overcome these frustrations.[153]

Comedian Louis C.K. made headlines in 2011, with the release of his concert filmLive at the Beacon Theater as an inexpensive (US$5), DRM-free download. The only attempt to deter unlicensed copies was a letter emphasizing the lack of corporate involvement and direct relationship between artist and viewer. The film was a commercial success, turning a profit within 12 hours of its release. Some, including the artist himself, have suggested that file sharing rates were lower than normal as a result, making the release an important case study for the digital marketplace.[155][156][157]

Webcomic Diesel Sweeties released a DRM-free PDF e-book on author R Stevens's 35th birthday,[158][159][160] leading to more than 140,000 downloads in the first month, according to Stevens.[161] He followed this with a DRM-free iBook specifically for the iPad, using Apple's new software,[162] which generated more than 10,000 downloads in three days.[163] That led Stevens to launch a Kickstarter project – "ebook stravaganza 3000" – to fund the conversion of 3,000 comics, written over 12 years, into a single "humongous" e-book to be released both for free and through the iBookstore; launched 8 February 2012, with the goal of raising $3,000 in 30 days, the project met its goal in 45 minutes, and went on to be funded at more than 10 times its original goal.[164] The "payment optional" DRM-free model in this case was adopted on Stevens' view that "there is a class of webcomics reader who would prefer to read in large chunks and, even better, would be willing to spend a little money on it."[163]

Crowdfunding or pre-order model

In February 2012, Double Fine asked for an upcoming video game, Double Fine Adventure, for crowdfunding on kickstarter.com and offered the game DRM-free for backers. This project exceeded its original goal of $400,000 in 45 days, raising in excess of $2 million.[165][166] In this case DRM freedom was offered to backers as an incentive for supporting the project before release, with the consumer and community support and media attention from the highly successful Kickstarter drive counterbalancing any loss through file sharing.[citation needed] Also, crowdfunding with the product itself as benefit for the supporters can be seen as pre-order or subscription business model in which one motivation for DRM, the uncertainty if a product will have enough paying customers to outweigh the development costs, is eliminated. After the success of Double Fine Adventure, many games were crowd-funded and many of them offered a DRM-free game version for the backers.[167][168][169]

Digital content as promotion for traditional products

Many artists are using the Internet to give away music to create awareness and liking to a new upcoming album. The artists release a new song on the internet for free download, which consumers can download. The hope is to have the listeners buy the new album because of the free download.[153] A common practice used today is releasing a song or two on the internet for consumers to indulge. In 2007, Radiohead released an album named "In Rainbows", in which fans could pay any amount they want, or download it for free.[170]

Artistic Freedom Voucher

The Artistic Freedom Voucher (AFV) introduced by Dean Baker is a way for consumers to support “creative and artistic work.” In this system, each consumer would have a refundable tax credit of $100 to give to any artist of creative work. To restrict fraud, the artists must register with the government. The voucher prohibits any artist that receives the benefits from copyrighting their material for a certain length of time. Consumers can obtain music for a certain amount of time easily and the consumer decides which artists receive the $100. The money can either be given to one artist or to many, the distribution is up to the consumer.[171]

See also

Related concepts

Organizations

References

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  • Multiple GPUs or CPUs capable of OpenCL operations make it easier to identify and select from the OpenCL device dropdown.

Previous Enhancement

  • First of all, more furnished and attractive splines with edge snaps and geometry contents are placed with fast mechanical assembly.
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  • You may love Movavi Video Converter to edit the video with graphic illustration.

Necessary Details of Mocha Pro Activation Key

Publisher:Imagineer Systems Ltd.
Size:109 Megabytes
Price:1496 $
Format:ZIP/RAR
Version:7.5.1
License:Cracked

System Need:

  • At the startup, the main memory: 4 GB.
  • Video format: 1920×1080 or above.
  • As for as, HDD must enroll 2 GBs.
  • Processor: Intel core 2.
  • Operating system: Windows 10, 8, 8.1, Vista, XP, and Windows 7.

How to Crack?

  1. In the start, uninstall the older version if it exists.
  2. Download Mocha Pro full version mac and crack from here
  3. Switched down the security controls.
  4. Open the WinRAR file and start the setup.
  5. Also, drop the crack in the destination folder.
  6. Finally, you have done the task.
  7. So, enjoy it!

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Smart Driver Updater Crack is one of the best and most advanced driver management software out there. It keeps our computer system fully updated, which increases the performance of your computer. Smart Driver Updater Pro Crack allows you to update all drivers or software with one click. In fact, when our computer system contains outdated or outdated drivers or software, we face a major security threat. Anyone can easily steal our information through our system.

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If it happens that the user runs an old console, it will not meet the requirements of its software again, as well as its ability to program at a low rate. Also, by using this software, we can start to continuously update with time and time, and also users can download the latest and best drivers effortlessly. It is true that a wrong driver can make our software not work. If we install this software,  Smart Driver Updater Full Crack Care will create our 100% operational software easily. 

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The applause of Smart Driver Updater offers us a cleaning process, which can make using this program very easy. This program makes our pc a success in free and separate reference. The Smart Driver Updater Product Key is a reliable entry-level device that keeps you up-to-date. Having the most recent form of required drivers is great for the stability, speed and convenience of your tire, as newcomers drivers frequently fix bugs, fix bugs, and ensure the best performance for your PC, both teams. And software.

The Smart Driver Updater Latest Version will quickly scan your window for the entered drivers and display the programs that need updating. You are allowed to decide to update whatever is discovered or just a particular option. Unfortunately, the free preview mod for this tool does not represent any original driver update, it only shows you which drivers are out of date and will be reset if you purchase and register the full form of Smart Driver Updater.

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Since this software is compatible with the latest version of Windows from XP onwards. However, it is not yet available for Linux and Mac OS users. Also, you can get this software from the developer’s website for free with limited features.

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Also, in order to get full access to the rest of the feature, you have to go for the premium version of Smart Driver Updater. The best quality scan engine of Smart Driver Updater Keygen provides high speed while scanning all computer hardware drivers.

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You may also get the full version of >>> Unity Pro Crack

Top Benefits:

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Specifications Required:

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  • 5 MB of free disk space.
  • Minimum RAM 256 MB.
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Smart Driver Updater Full Working Keys:

Activation Key:

879D8-8JH57-D7689-8AD6H-567D8

00G76-G5F76-880GD-886GJ-5769F

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License Key:

N76B7-9SB87-D7F67-DS978-FBFN7-9B9B8

8FD96-75G7D-8DA7D-86DGH-G587S-65NH6

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Smart Driver Updater Serial Key can create a backup in case you update your Windows operating system. The addition of backup and reinstallation features makes it popular and user’s first choice all over the world. Both of these features are a source of saving time and money.

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Thus, it meets all the needs of the driver and pleases all devices. Smart Drivers Updater Crack is a high-quality product that provides a one-click solution to all driver related issues and displays a notification whenever drivers need to be updated.

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Patch Cracks - Page 4 of 127 - Get 2021 Crack Softwares Pro Versions

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