What is DRM?

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DRM or Digital Rights Management refers to various technology products or services that basically aim to limit or control the use of copyrighted data or content. Any DRM software or technological feature of a certain digital data product will be able to protect its contents by way of controlling how they are viewed, copied, or distributed. This kind of digital protection is intended for the rights of manufacturers, digital content publishers, and copyright holders. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the US which took effect since 1998, people who purposely infringe the rights of digital media publishers and copyright holders will be imposed with criminal penalties and/or liabilities.

Digital Rights Management may be in the form of copying restrictions made specifically for digital content. In the case of movies for example, they are often stored onto official DVDs or Blu-Ray discs and many of these media are installed or equipped with DRM software in order to control the illegal copying and/or distribution after they have been bought by consumers. Some DRM restrictions come in the form of maximum number of copies the consumer or DVD owner can make. A DRM software may also limit the number of devices that a particular movie DVD can be used or played on. DRM may also be implemented on a computer network in the form of access restrictions for confidential data. Company servers for example may be accessed only by high-level officers through DRM software or configuration.

Proponents of DRM-related technology point out the need for the protection of intellectual copyright in the form of digital content or media. Piracy in the movie, music, and eBooks industry is often considered the greatest example in terms of the need for DRM technology. Other people meanwhile criticize some DRM implementations because of the annoyances and inconveniences it may impose on legitimate consumers and users.

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