A system for controlling the distribution and use of digital works using digital tickets. In the present invention, a “digital ticket” is used to entitle the ticket holder to exercise some usage right with respect to a digital work. Usage rights are used to define how a digital work may be used or distributed. Each usage right may specify a digital ticket which must be present before the right may be exercised. Digital works are stored in repositories which enforce a digital works usage rights. Each repository has a “generic ticket agent” which punches tickets. In some instances only the generic ticket agent is necessary. In other instances, punching by a “special ticket agent” residing on another repository may be needed.