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Digital media

Digital media encompasses digital audio, digital video, the World Wide Web and other technologies that can be used to create and distribute digital "content".

Digital media represents a profound change from all previous media technologies. Post-production of digital media is cheaper and more flexible than that of analog media, and the end result can be reproduced indefinitely without any loss of quality.

Furthermore, digital content can be combined to make new forms of content. The first signs of this are visible in the use of techniques such as sampling and remixing in the music industry.

Digital media technologies have serious implications for companies that distribute content through physical media. The rise of the Internet has allowed digital media files to be copied in unlimited quantities at zero marginal cost; file sharing software has automated this process.

This presents problems for companies which vertically integrate media creation, processing, marketing and delivery, such as the record industry. Their current approach is to try to use copyright law, together with draconian new laws such as the DMCA to suppress these new technologies, in effect criminalizing their users.

These problems are exacerbated by the fact that the entertainment industry is relatively small compared with other industries such as the telecommunications and computer industries. Implementing restrictions on digital media to defend the entertainment industry would create serious problems for both of these industries, as well as serious implications for free speech.

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