Determinants in the On-line Distribution of Digital Contents: An exploratory analysis


  • Maurizio Borghi Brunel University
  • Maria Lillà Montagnani Bocconi University
  • Mariateresa Maggiolino Bocconi University
  • Massimiliano Nuccio Leuphana University of Lüneburg



The article discusses the results of an empirical study on about 600 websites which distribute digital media content. For each website, data has been collected on a range of features including the distribution methods, the technical restrictions imposed on content, the right management and licensing systems and the revenue models adopted. Using a 'bottom-up' clusterization technique, the data collected reveal unexpected characteristics of the current landscape for online distribution of digital contents. While it is commonly assumed that the current legislative framework tends to incentivise a system based on strong legal and technological control over the contents, the cluster analysis shows that online distribution has evolved into four main models. Moreover, it reveals that legal factors are not the most relevant ones in shaping a landscape which is mostly determined by technology.


Author Biographies

Maurizio Borghi, Brunel University

Lecturer in intellectual property law at Brunel Law School

Maria Lillà Montagnani, Bocconi University

Associate Professor of Commercial Law at Bocconi University, Milan, Department of Law and faculty member of ASK research centre

Mariateresa Maggiolino, Bocconi University

Assistant Professor of Commercial Law at Bocconi University, Milan, Department of Law

Massimiliano Nuccio, Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Visiting Professor for Culture and Region at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg






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