What is Digital Rights Management (DRM)? Why is it so crucial?
The increasing creation of digital material has created the need for Digital Rights Management. It refers to the use of technology and systems to limit the use of digital materials protected by copyright. DRM tools are intended to protect the copyright holder’s rights and prevent unauthorized modification or distribution. It is a way of securing digital content in order to prevent unauthorized use and digital media piracy. This mechanism prevents users from copying, redistributing, or converting content in ways that the content provider has not explicitly authorized.
On two fronts, the digitalization of content has put traditional copyright laws to the test. For starters, it has made nearly free reproduction and large-scale distribution of digital content possible. Second, existing digital content can be easily remixed and “mashed-up” with other content to create new works. As a result of these changes, copyright holders have sought increased protection through legal and technological means and this is where Digital Rights Management comes in.
Online piracy has been the bane of copyrighted material since the rise of peer-to-peer file exchange services such as torrent sites. Piracy is not detected by DRM technologies. Instead, they make stealing or sharing the content impossible in the first place. DRM gives power to the hands of publishers and authors to control how the users paying for their content can use it. Implementing digital rights management systems or processes in businesses can help to prevent users from accessing or using specific assets, allowing the organization to avoid legal issues that arise from unauthorized use.
A lot of technological advancements have been tried in the past in order to control the unethical sharing of data. One way used in past was installing hidden or secrets files like rootkits on computer systems whenever a CD or DVD is inserted. These files set a limit to the number of times those software can be used. One of the most controversial examples of this method came to light during 2005, security researchers discovered that Sony had installed rootkits on CDs, making it impossible to copy music but allowing Sony to report back on listener habits. Sony recalled some of the CDs and stopped installing rootkits on future releases in response to public outrage and lawsuits.
There are a variety of approaches to DRM and researchers around the world are trying to develop new ways to improve it. In order to ensure limited use of companies have been adopting methods such as encryption and code embedment. They are capable of controlling the number of times, devices, people, or periods software and content are accessible.
Importance of Digital Rights Management
More and more people have been making efforts to generate new DRM methodology. It is very important to understand the significance of this digital rights management in the growing digital world. So let’s look into few reasons why it is important-
- Efficiency in managing monetization aspect
Widespread content for free hurts the economic aspect for creators pretty badly. If given an option to access content for free, a large chunk of the audience would pick that option despite it being unethical. A lot of investment is put in to create any content and it needs to be financially viable to ensure long-term continuous production. OTT platforms make efforts that consumers around the world can access their content ethically. DRM makes it more convenient and safe. Another significant advantage is the ability to restrict content to specific audiences, such as age-specific content consumption or consumption in accordance with regional censorship laws.
- Implementing copyright laws
There are a wide variety of copyright laws that exist globally as well a country-specific, yet it is very difficult to ensure that those are implemented. Tagging a picture as “not for commercial use” is not enough as it is easily available. Even if the image is copy-protected, someone may take a screenshot and embed it without the necessary attribution/payment. Watermarking is a DRM technique that enforces copyright laws in real-world use cases.
- The ownership tag remains intact
DRM makes tracking down the source of video possible and despite widespread content, ownership is not hampered. This holds highly true for enterprise IP where the source’s authenticity is extremely crucial. In scientific, technical, and industry-specific content assets, it is very difficult to pin ownership and controlling the line of distribution to ensure proper usage. Consumer-facing multimedia is the only source where tagging ownership is easier.
- Third party partnerships are easier
One major concern with third party partnership is data security. Multiple companies face breaches by third party and can harm organization. DRM reduces this threat and allow you to control the level of access you want to give. It helps in forming trustworthy bonds eventually helping you grow.
- Protection from competitors
Your competitors can’t access your information or use your content for their own benefits due to DRM. Companies get to control how their data is circulated and used.
- Raising awareness
With everything easily accessible, it is common for users to be not care about important aspects such as content ownership, accountability of access and revenue generation. As things are easily available, the physical constraints of issuing or borrowing does not hold. Anyone can access and share content in their own name without much difficulty. When users are confronted with DRM restrictions, they gain much-needed knowledge of author rights and fair usage policies.
These are few among the many benefits why Digital Rights management is extremely crucial. With increasing cases of breaches, expansion of digital space and abundance of content on internet the importance of ownership and control is diminishing day by day. DRM is not just limited to commercial benefits but it also ensure safety of your work and ethical use of your content. As a creator, digital right management is very crucial and more work need to be done in order to strengthen the rights.