What is Digital rights management (DRM)?

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to methods by which the use (and distribution) of digital media should be controlled. Especially for digital film and sound recordings, but also in software, electronic documents or electronic books.

It permits from the perspective of providers that employ DRM systems control of use of their media, in principle, new billing options, for example, by means of licenses and permissions to use data.


Uncontrolled flow of information, however, inevitably leads to conflicts between the users and the creators of digital content, due to copyright violations which have a negative effect on the underlying business model.

It is therefore essential from the perspective of the authors and exploiters to define barriers that limit access to protected intellectual property and may also limit after passing.

A DRM system  should help by allowing the use of data only within the limits defined by the respective owners (license).

Mechanisms of digital rights management, however, are generally highly controversial. Proponents see in systems of digital rights management mainly the opening of new business models with demand fairer billing (pay-per-view) and the potential elimination of levies on blank media such as CD-R and the associated discharge of the consumer.

In addition, DRMs systems can also be used to protect critical data (Enterprise Rights Management).

Critics warn especially against privacy issues and possible limitations in the usability and archiving, and that it is impossible to make the boundaries of copyright law.

It is seen as problematic that the interoperability of devices and digital content is restricted by using this system.

A serious problem from the perspective of many in the music industry started in the mid-1990s, when affordable CD-burners and personal computers were powerful enough to handle compressed MP3 format music.

The late 1990s also experienced Internet’s ever increasing supply, because Internet users can copy files from the hard drive of other users for free there in principle. Often these are the copyrighted music, movies or software. This led, according to the media industry to some significant sales declines.

Due to the unlimited reproduction options used media companies not enabled by the Internet new digital distribution channels for a long time.

The growing importance of the Internet brought the company but increasingly forced into action, which is in the development of DRM systems (more precisely: Multimedia Rights Management) reflected.

Eventually won only in 2003 with the opening of the iTunes Music Store is a distribution channel with integrated digital rights management of commercial importance.

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