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What is DRM?

Summary

Digital rights Management is an access control method designed to limit the uses of digital content.

How does DRM work?

DRM is designed to prevent you from modifying, copying or converting digital content in any way other than that permitted by the digital content provider.

DRM works by the application of a sort of "lock" being placed on a digital file, such as an MP3 music file or an AVI video file. When the file is downloaded to a hardware device or software program that can read this lock and work out what the restrictions are, then the file can be accessed and used within any set restrictions.

For example the lock could be a type of encryption and the device or program will need to be able to decrypt the file in order for the user to be able to access it. The decryption component could be built in to the device hardware or firmware, or could be software only such as a media player application.

Further restrictions may be enforced such as limiting the copying or installation of the DRM'd file or media to a specific number of devices. This can be controlled through the internet by accessing an authorisation service.

Last Word

DRM works by adding protection and controls to a digital file or media that can be read and actioned by hardware or software that is DRM aware.

DRM is also known as Digital Restrictions Management.

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Article date: 23rd February 2011

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