Learning in a digital age/LiDA102/Digital environments/DRM
In this section we explore digital rights management, geoblocking and related examples, highlighting the importance for users to study the terms of reference and licenses when using proprietary software to purchase products reliant on digital technology.
Digital rights management (DRM)
DRM is the practice of imposing technical restrictions (hardware or software) that restrict what users can do with digital content or operation of their equipment. Examples include:
- Film studios which embed software on their DVDs that restricts the number of copies a legal user can make to two.
- Computer games which restrict the number of devices on which the game can be installed requiring server authentication to keep track of the number of installations.
- e-Book publishers who restrict the ability to copy or print the materials.
Geoblocking is a form of DRM which restricts access to content based on geographical location; for example, restrictions associated with media rights for sport coverage or films in different parts of the world because copyright holders sell broadcast and distribution rights to different companies around the world. Frequently, prices for streamed services of the same content will differ from country to country.
In another example, an individual who buys DVD films in one country and then emigrates to another country, may find that the playback of the legally purchased content is restricted by technology means in the new country of residence.