Digital Rights Management (DRM) is important because it offers copyright protection to a piece of digital work.

This includes unauthorized copying, alteration and distribution of the work without the copyright holder being adequately rewarded for the use of their work.

The protection offered by Digital Rights Management is available to all digital works .

This includes video, audio, ebooks, photos and also software.

What Kind of Protection Does Digital Rights Management Offer?

The most common protection offered by Digital Rights Management is limiting the number of devices which can be used to access the digital work.

This is evident in digital video, audio and software.

Take iTunes for instance. Only computers authorised by the system can open a downloaded digital file.

This serves to prevent unlimited distribution of the work.

The whole idea behind this is to ensure owners of digital works are paid for the use of their works.

How Does Digital Rights Management Work?

Digital Rights Management works through the provision of digital watermarks and proprietary file encryption.

DRM technology, however, doesn’t identify those who use copyrighted works illegally. Instead it prevents them from using a piece of work without paying for it and ensures they follow the terms of use of the work.

What are the Common Protection Codes Offered by Digital Rights Management?

As has been explained earlier, one common code is the limiting the number of devices that can access the digital work.

For example if you purchase software, you’re generally allowed to use it over three devices. If you want to use it on more devices, you would have to pay for a multi-license.

Other Forms of Protection Offered by Digital Rights Management?

  • Prevention of editing and alteration of digital content. You can’t modify or change and save the content in a different format.
  • Prevention of printing a digital file or limiting the number of times it can be printed.
  • Prevention of taking a screenshot or a screen grab of the digital content.
  • Prevention of access to the content after a certain period of time or after a certain number of times it has been accessed.
  • Limiting access of content to a particular location. For example. Netflix content is available in North Korea and Syria.

You can see from the above how important is DRM to digital content creators and publishers.

Argument Against Digital Rights Management

From the consumers point of view Digital Rights Management is not a very welcome thing.

As a paying consumer many want ownership of the digital content they purchase.

They feel that they should be entitled to make copies or backups of their works and access the work through multiple platforms instead of through a proprietary platform.

While their argument holds water, Digital Rights Management is important to prevent copyright abuse of digital works and to ensure creators of digital works are adequately rewarded for their efforts.