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What is Digital Rights Management? Definition, Working, Benefits

  • Last Updated : 28 Nov, 2021

The use of technology to limit and manage access to intellectual material is known as digital rights management(DRM). Another definition of DRM is giving over control of digital content to a computer program rather than the person who owns it. DRM protects the copyright holder’s rights by preventing unlawful distribution and alteration of content. In simple words, DRM is a method of safeguarding copyrights in digital material. This strategy entails employing technologies that restrict the copying and use of copyrighted content as well as proprietary software. As digital material expands via peer-to-peer file sharing, torrent sites, and online piracy, DRM is becoming more significant. It assists entertainment and media enterprises in addressing cybersecurity issues that all businesses confront, such as securing consumer data, assuring and showing compliance, improving operational efficiency, and avoiding downtime. Authors, musicians, filmmakers, and other content creators can use DRM to specify and limit what users can and cannot do with their work. It also enables them to preserve their copyrighted content protect the creative and financial commitment they make in their work, and prevent their media from being stolen or redistributed unlawfully. They can, for example, block users from accessing certain assets, avoiding any legal difficulties that may arise from illicit use. This is critical for copyright and intellectual property protection.

How does DRM(Digital Rights Management) works?

Copyright rules encompass the illicit distribution, exchange, and alteration of digital property, but policing the internet to prevent illegal conduct is a difficult undertaking. DRM solves this by erecting obstacles to prevent theft of digital content. DRM often uses codes to prevent content copying or limit the number of devices through which a product may be assessed. Content producers may also utilize apps to limit what consumers can do with their work or encrypt digital files, which can only be accessible by those who have the decryption key. It makes content creators and copyright holders to:

  1. Prevent or limit users from modifying or storing their material or products, sharing and forwarding them, printing them, or capturing screenshots or screengrabs.
  2. Set expiry dates on media to prohibit people from accessing it after that date has passed or to limit the number of times they may view it.
  3. Limit media access to specified devices, IP addresses, or geographic places, such as restricting material to persons in the United States exclusively.
  4. Watermark documents and images to assert ownership and identity of the content.

Benefits of Digital Rights Management

Apart from protecting copyright holders and content creators against piracy, DRM has a number of additional advantages.

  1. Provides Privacy: Businesses may use DRM technology to encrypt critical documents ranging from contracts and strategic plans to secret personnel information. It allows users to restrict access to files and trace who has accessed them, as well as prohibit them from being changed, saved, duplicated, or printed.
  2. Securing ownership: DRM is significant for authors and writers who want to safeguard their work. They can utilize technology to keep control of their material and prevent it from being changed or rebranded. This is also beneficial to scientists who wish to safeguard their discoveries and innovations.
  3. Prevent unauthorized, unintended usage.: DRM technology aids material buyers in adhering to the license information that governs how, when, and even where they can use it and avoids financial penalties.
  4. Ensuring appropriate content access: DRM limits content to targeted audiences and restricts it to certain audiences. Content aimed at those above the age of 18 will, for example, be restricted to adults who can prove their age.
  5. File privacy: DRM facilitates companies in securing sensitive files and safeguarding their privacy. Intruders are unable to access or view confidential or sensitive information as a consequence of this.

Digital Rights Management Use Cases

DRM material may be found in a variety of digital media types, from music to photos to movies to eBooks, as well as proprietary company assets, database subscriptions, and software. The creators and legitimate owners of these works can utilize digital rights management software to protect their assets and material from being duplicated, modified, or used in ways they didn’t intend. Some use cases of DRM are mentioned below:

  • Media Companies: DRM technology aids artists, filmmakers, writers, and other content creators in combating unlawful use of their work in the media sector. If individuals are allowed to distribute this sort of content, artists and producers will find it difficult to make a living from their work.
  • Technology Companies: According to a DataProt survey, 57% of computer users admit to having pirated software in the past. It’s critical for technology businesses to secure their valuable software products against piracy in the age of software-as-a-service (SaaS).
  • Enterprise: Enterprise digital rights management (EDRM) has become its own industry, with Gartner estimating that it will be worth more than $330 million by the end of 2026. DRM material is commonly used by businesses to secure sensitive data, particularly during product design papers and M&A (merger and acquisition) preparations.

Challenges of Digital Rights Management

Digital rights management does not sit well with everyone. Users who pay for music on iTunes, for example, would want to be able to listen to it on any device and use it in whatever way they choose.

Businesses that spend thousands of dollars for a high-value industry study, on the other hand, are ready to utilize DRM to prevent their competitors from obtaining the same information for free. Some DRM detractors argue that this offers an unfair edge for corporations with money to burn because smaller enterprises may be unable to buy the information required to expand their companies.

DRM technology, on the other hand, is not a perfect answer. Even if copyright holders include digital rights management coding in their product, the public may find a way around it. For example, if they only allow their material to be played on one player, some people would undoubtedly try to figure out the decryption keys and then construct another player that can play the protected content. Users then download the updated player in the hopes of getting around the DRM encryption. There are other free programs for removing DRM codes, which, while immoral, are widely available on the internet.

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