Digital Rights Management

Definition: a scheme that controls access to copyrighted material using technological means. DRM removes control of copyrighted material from the user and puts it in the hands of a computer program.

DRM Framework: the digital rights management scheme works on three levels:

  • Establishing a copyright
  • Managing the distribution
  • Controlling what the consumer can do with the digital content

A DRM has to effectively form a relationship between three entities. Namely: user, content and usage rights.

DRM Protection: The digital rights management scheme uses various types of protection including

  • web based permission: when a user installs a software, his computer contacts a license verification program to get permission to install and run a program. Therefore is the software is copied into a friend’s computer and the friend attempts to install the software, the permission program will not re send an installation key.
  • Digital Watermark: DRM makes use of FCC broadcast flag. If a video is set with a broadcast flag, then the video will only be compatible on certain DVD players with the same format. Otherwise, the video will not play on any device.

DRM controversy: Recently there have been many lawsuits by consumers against digital technology providers, because consumers think that the DRM scheme is taken too far. Taking the example of sony-BMG; they were sued because consumers found that the DRM software sent hidden trackers into the consumers device, which could not be detected, and therefore it acted as a spyware. Additionally, DRM is going more and more against fair usage policy.

Why do we need digital rights management? the digital media that consumers use is intellectual property, meaning that humans have put effort and intellect into its production, and therefore they have the right to take credit for it and this is known as copyright protection. Some of these rights include assuring that the digital media is not copied illegally and distributed without the consent of the person that made it. However, due to development in ways of distributing and sharing files, the sharing of intellectual property has become more and more common. The person who made therefore must take measures, so that he or she can control the extent to which the digital material is distributed and used.

4 ways to protect digital files

Encryption: this is the process of encoding documents in such a way that third parties cannot read the content without decoding the document with a key.

Username and Password: having a username as well as a password which is unknown to others and is kept as a secret can be used to access files stored in a restricted area.

Bio-metrics: this is the process of applying physical features unique to a person to store and access files locked in a restricted area.

Hidden Files: these are files that the file system utilities do not display by default.







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