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Aborigines Create Own DRM

It all began with an archive of photos. They’d been taken by missionaries since the 1930s of the Warumungu aborigine community in the Northern Territory of Australia, according to the BBC.   When Dr. Kimberley Christian, an assistant professor at WSU, digitized the archive and took it to the community for them to view as a slideshow, she noticed something strange: depending on the image, certain people would turn away.   This was based on tradition. Who could view what was limited, with men not able to views women’s rituals, for instance.   "The way people were looking at the photos was embedded in the social system that already existed in the community," Dr. Christian said. "People would come in and out of the area of the screen to look when they could look."   It was, if you like, a kind of social digital rights management. However, it certainly raised a number of issues about access to the archive. How would they be able to ensure people were only given access to material they should see?   The answer was the Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive, “a website that’s not online,” with a full archive of audio, video and pictures, along with digital images of documents and artefacts, all tagged with various restrictions. Anyone trying to log in has to give their age, sex, name and also their standing the community. That determines what they’re allowed to view within the archive.   Given that many in the community are largely computer illiterate, everything is designed to be within a two-click access.