26 February 2024

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Introduction to Digital rights management

Introduction to Digital rights management

In today’s digital age, misconduct of one’s rights is only a click away. Such rights are digital in nature, implying that technology is involved. Because such rights are intangible, they are often referred to as incorporeal rights. Rapid technical improvements provide a significant difficulty from the standpoint of the law, as their rates of growth are comparable. Data that would otherwise be unauthorised is transferred with the use of torrent sites and programs such as Telegram.

Digital Rights Management (hereafter referred to as DRM) is used to protect digital rights from being violated, copied, and circulated in an unauthorized manner. DRM prevents data from being copied or leaked, but it cannot prevent data that has already been distributed from being disseminated. This essay will go over Digital Rights Management as a new type of copyright in the ‘Go Virtual’ age.

What is DRM

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is the use of technology to regulate and manage access to intellectual information. Simply put, Digital Rights Management governs legal access to digital information. The use of technology to allow software developers and digital media producers to impose access controls on their product(s), such as constraints on usage, replication, modification, and distribution, is becoming the new trend.

Where are DRM systems used

The application arena of Digital Rights Management systems is vast. Here are a few examples of where DRM is important:

  1. Sensitive information: This technique prevents enterprises and companies from duplicating, preserving, or using sensitive information such as trade secrets, employee personal information, and financial details.
  1. Discoveries and inventions: Such methods have proven to be a blessing to the next generation of scientists, researchers, and engineers, as they help protect the inventor’s or discoverer’s patented work.
  1. Artistic work: DRM systems protect music, movies, and other forms of artistic expression from piracy and other forms of unauthorized use.
  1. Business brand and logos: The company’s reputation and goodwill are heavily influenced by its logos and brand name. DRM is useful in preventing unfair and unjustified advantage by other competitors in business.

The mechanism for DRM to function

It is quite difficult to monitor every action on every device in the internet’s vast ocean. As a result, it is easier to safeguard the data at its source, i.e., by limiting and restricting its spread. The Digital Rights Management operates on three basic components:

  • Secured distribution: The author (the owner of the copyrighted data) has the option to restrict the distribution of his or her material. He can give data for consideration for a set amount of time and block users from reviewing, modifying, copying, or sharing it. He can limit the number of licensees and track how such data is used.
  • Encryption: The author can safeguard the data from being read, duplicated, or pirated by storing it in an unreadable format using digital encryption. This data can then be decrypted and transformed back into a readable format. Only the person with the authority to read the data can decrypt the data. This method is widely utilized in WhatsApp Messenger.
  • Watermark: Watermarking is another component that aids in the protection of digital information. It is a unique mark or emblem linked to each piece of data that protects it against unauthorized usage.

Benefits of the Digital Rights Management mechanism

When a certain knowledge, artistic creation, or book was produced in the past, it was shared by making duplicates of it. It was then released to the general public. Only a copy of the original work was available to the end user.  However, in the digital age, this process is obsolete.  Digital Rights Management thus plays an important part in the security of digital data, works of art or literature, or any other secret information.

  • It safeguards the rights and content of content providers, filmmakers, and musicians from live streaming, piracy, and unauthorized usage. 
  • This technology aids with the protection of personal data on social media, such as photos, videos, contact information, and even payment information.
  • It safeguards unique inventions and discoveries by preserving patents in the scientist’s name. It safeguards the intellectual property rights of such scientists. Furthermore, the Author or developer of such information or copyrighted material has a more efficient method of licensing and authorizing the use of his work. He or she can even charge for the authorized usage of such information or work, creating a revenue production opportunity.

Challenges in Digital Rights Management Systems

In addition to these outstanding DRM solutions, there are still several difficulties with their operation and data protection. Several of these difficulties are listed below.

  • Compatibility: In order to function correctly for the security of the data, the device must be compatible with the DRM support system. If there is incompatibility, DRM’s goal is unsuccessful.
  • Interoperability: Similar to incompatibility, DRM should be able to function on modern platforms and technology.
  • Hacking: No matter how sophisticated the security is, certain hackers are still able to access the authorized data. Such hackers constantly outwit the DRM system and discover ways to get through the defenses.
  • Lack of unified DRM systems: In order to completely protect his content from duplication, piracy, and theft due to the lack of a single, unified DRM system, the user must purchase numerous DRM solutions.
  • Public view: The general public’s perception of how DRM functions is divided. To protect the said data, the user often needs to purchase a subscription once a month or once a year. DRM is necessary for content producers who are not financially stable on the one hand. They must be given this technology for free. On the other hand, running a modern company that might offer up-to-date solutions for the newest technology does demand infrastructure and funding.

Digital Rights Management in India

The Copyright Act of 1957 and the Information Technology Act, both passed in 2000, are laws that govern and control the infringement of copyrighted data in India. In some circumstances, intermediaries are excluded from liability under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The DRM service providers are intermediaries in this situation.

digital rights management

Sections 65A and 65B of the 2012 amendment to the Copyrights Act, which was passed in 1957, authorize and defend DRM practices. According to these sections, unauthorized dissemination, change, or modification of the DRM system is punished by up to two years in prison and a fine.

It safeguards the author’s creative, theatrical, musical, and literary creations. The typical copyright expiration date is 60 years following the publishing year. Additionally, it defends the rights of governmental operations, public projects, foreign organizations, etc.

Indian law provides the following basic remedies for copyright infringement:

  1. Civil remedies like damages and injunctions.
  2. Criminal remedies like imprisonment and fines under Chapter XIII of the Copyrights Act, 1957.
  3. Administrative remedies like the detention of such information or data by the authorities concerned.

Also Read: The Importance of Artificial Intelligence Expertise for Engineers in 2023


Digital Rights Management has become increasingly necessary over the last few decades as a result of the development of the internet, new AI-based platforms, and institutions. DRM will be an essential tool for the protection of people and organizations’ incorporeal digital rights because new technological developments are continually being made. A uniform, highly regulated system of digital rights management is required and could develop over time in the near future. 

The European Commission is promoting and encouraging the development of the same, as well as advancing and making it easier for paid users to copy and reuse content legally and preventing the misuse of such data. The legislation governing copyright is likely to advance and tighten up in the next few years. There may be more stringent norms and bye-laws in place globally to safeguard intellectual property, and DRM systems will become more effective at identifying copyright violations.