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DRM Software: What is it and How Does It Help?

Digital rights management, or DRM, refers to technological protection measures that set access control for specific digital documents. DRM can control how documents are saved, edited, and used, and it’s often used to prevent the misuse of copyrighted works. That said, a DRM system can be used to protect files for any reason. While this includes protecting physical media such as on-disc movies, video games, CDs, and other intellectual property from being copied, DRM can also protect sensitive files with encryption. It’s important to note that a DRM tool also protects digital media by limiting the number of devices it can be used on, such as a Kindle ebook being tied to a specific Kindle, for example. Anti-piracy measures may also be employed to prevent piracy, begin with, or identify pirated files via a watermark.

The digital age makes the distribution of content easier than ever before, which means that businesses and content creators have unprecedented opportunities to make money—at least on paper. Unfortunately, malware, hackers, and other dangers mean that safely providing content is easier said than done. Digital rights management is crucial for anyone who creates or publishes digital media to prevent copyright infringement, duplication of property, or the leak of protected files.

How DRM Works

DRM Software

A DRM system has a few basic duties, including establishing the copyright for a protected file or piece of media, controlling the ways the specified media can be shared, and limiting what the end-user can do with the media once it’s in their hands. This last bit is usually detailed in an end-user license agreement (EULA). DRM accomplishes these objectives through four basic ideas.

Encryption: This is a way of “locking” content by making the data appear indecipherable to anyone who lacks the proper encryption key. In order to be effective, this needs to be complex enough to keep people from being able to guess the key.

Governance: These are additional conditions that the DRM technology sets up before the key can be used. These may include engaging with the content in a certain way, such as entering a recognized ID and password, or it may require the purchase of the files which are then freed up by a DRM removal tool.

Authentication: This is the process of allowing the end user access to the files.

Enforcement: These are regular checks to ensure that the end-user still meets all the criteria to access the files. Enforcement could include an annual software license that has to be renewed, for example. It may also check whether subscriptions are up-to-date, the location of the user, and other governance issues.

A common example of DRM can be seen when installing a computer game. The game disc (or digital file) is linked with the serial number of the device it’s installed on, which prevents it from being used the same way on another device. This is meant to prevent one person from buying the software and then attempting to share it with everyone via torrents or websites.

Security at All Times

DRM Software: What Is it and How Does It Help?

The great thing about DRM technology is that, while a viewer may require access to a file or document at a given time, permission and access can be rescinded, even after the end-user downloads everything. Your employees may need access to protected files at work, for instance, and DRM tools can ensure they have access, even outside your virtual data room, while still keeping your files secure.

Let’s say that you have a temporary work project that requires certain team members to look at customer data. Once the project is over, you wouldn’t want to leave that sensitive information out there. With a DRM scheme, you can lock down the files, even after they’ve been downloaded to another device, keeping your important files secure for the long term.

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