The present invention provides systems and methods for electronic commerce including secure transaction management and electronic rights protection. Electronic appliances such as computers employed in accordance with the present invention help to ensure that information is accessed and used only in authorized ways, and maintain the integrity, availability, and/or confidentiality of the information. Secure subsystems used with such electronic appliances provide a distributed virtual distribution environment (VDE) that may enforce a secure chain of handling and control, for example, to control and/or meter or otherwise monitor use of electronically stored or disseminated information. Such a virtual distribution environment may be used to protect rights of various participants in electronic commerce and other electronic or electronic-facilitated transactions. Secure distributed and other operating system environments and architectures, employing, for example, secure semiconductor processing arrangements that may establish secure, protected environments at each node. These techniques may be used to support an end-to-end electronic information distribution capability that may be used, for example, utilizing the "electronic highway."