Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Rights Management, by definition, controls the purchase and distribution of material accessed on the Internet. The material may be in the form of text, images, videos, or software that is downloaded online; often there is a payment required by the user, in turn the provider compensates the creator for rights to dispense the material. This endless availability to material is made possible with modern technology and DRM protects the material from electronic copyright theft. Once the material is purchased by a user it is still under control of a DRM and may only be compatible with a particular device or service, creating an ethical dilemma. There are ...view middle of the document...
Users, once the material is obtained digitally, find it easier than in the past to share material by sending and receiving it to other users around the world. This creates an issue with the original creators of the material because the potential loss in revenue from unauthorized distribution. DRM offers a management system that prevents users from distributing the material or even using it on other personal devices.
Each provider or device may have specific rules, regulations, and limitations concerning copyright protection on accessed material through the service. For example, a user may purchase material but is limited to viewing or listening features and not modification or copying the material without pre-authorization (Pantalony, 2002). Activity on most material downloaded may be tracked through the DRM and e-commerce tools after a checkout process involving payment by the user. Other ways to protect material from copyright infringements could be to incorporate a logo or imprinted watermark, provide a licensing agreement to be acknowledged by the user, or require a fee to modify, copy, or distribute the material.
Protecting the rights of the creator comes at a price to the consumer, not just financially but with accessibility and functionality too. There is encryption involved with using a DRM; increased file size and download times may decrease the material value as a result of DRM (Sundararajan, 2004). Individuals that use legal services and methods for downloading material are also subjected to the same issues presented with a DRM. A user may purchase song tracks from an online distributor, instead of a local record store, but listening to the audio may be limited to a specific format and device. The restriction places a burden on the user if they have multiple devices with audio features or their current device no longer functions.
A service provider may have more success if they decrease the limitations for downloading, sharing, and copying material but this creates a bigger risk for theft. Apple is an example of a company increasing their market share to 70% after lowering their restrictions on what the user can do with legally downloaded material (Sundararajan, 2004). The goal for a service provider is to find a balance between protections against piracy, even if they use a DRM, and...