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Digital Rights Management

Published on Apr 02, 2024


During the past decade, computers and the Internet have transformed the way we work, learn, communicate and are entertained. Yet some of technology's potential to do even more has not been fully realized, because of concerns about illegal use of digital information, about confidentiality and about privacy.

For example, e-commerce in music and movies has been slowed, because artists and publishers have been concerned about protecting their copyrighted works from illegal use. More broadly, businesses don't exchange digital information with customers and partners as freely as they might, because they fear it could fall into the wrong hands.

These concerns reflect the increasing need of all businesses and many individual computer users to share a wide range of digital information, yet still control who can use it and how -and it is called "rights management."Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a technology that protects content owners' rights while selling and distributing the content online in a digital form. DRM introduces new possibilities for selling, distributing and consuming content and therefore does not only involve the prevention of piracy.

Traditional rights management of physical materials benefited from the materials' physicality as this provided some barrier to unauthorized exploitation of content. However, today we already see serious breaches of copyright law because of the ease with which digital files can be copied and transmitted. On the Internet, DRM technology is currently used mostly for music, videos, and books. The end-user's terminal is a personal computer or a portable music player that can download DRM protected music from a PC. While there is no industry standard for DRM, IBM, Microsoft and RealNetworks have each introduced their own proprietary software platforms.

Previously, Digital Rights Management (DRM) focused on security and encryption as a means of solving the issue of unauthorized copying, that is, lock the content and limit its distribution to only those who pay.

This was the first-generation of DRM, and it represented a substantial narrowing of the real and broader apabilities of DRM. The second-generation of DRM covers the description, identification, trading, protection, monitoring and tracking of all forms of rights usages over both tangible and intangible assets including management of rights holders relationships. DRM limits what a user can do with that content even when he has possession of it.

Rights management refers to technologies that protect digital content after it is shared or distributed. Specifically, rights management technologies enable a content owner to stipulate a set of rules, or policy rights, that govern how the content may be used, by whom, for how long, etc. The protection, achieved by encrypting the content, may be provided by software or embedded in the hardware device itself - or some combination of the two. Protection needs to be easy to update, to address inevitable system breaches.

Digital Rights Management

Digital rights management (DRM) is a systematic approach to copyright protection for digital media. DRM's purpose is to prevent illegal distribution of paid content over the Internet. DRM products were developed in response to the rapid increase in online piracy of commercially marketed material, which proliferated through the widespread use of Napster and other peer-to-peer file exchange programs. DRM products are available from a number of vendors, including ContentGuard, Digimarc, and InterTrust, to automate the processes involved. In general, DRM products are turnkey packages that include everything needed for the operation, such as, for example, server software and user plug-ins.

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