The Benefits Of DRM

Anand Ramchandran
With a river of free porn available to surfers, it may not seem advisable to protect your content using Digital Rights Management (DRM), but today I will discuss a few reasons why DRM is important – and a necessary part of the future – as well as provide a closer look at Digital Rights Management.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, DRM is a system that encrypts digital media content and limits access to only those people who have acquired a proper license to play the content. The license can be of many types, and if you are the content provider, you can set the rights so that when a user tries to play the clip, it will ask for and issue one of a variety of licenses, such as a seamless or silent license (where the user is not interrupted or asked for anything), a popup license, a web form, a members area form, or a paid license. You can change the license type anytime you want for a particular movie clip, even after distribution.

DRM For Profit
The reason I say that DRM is the future is because the possibilities are endless, and the only things constraining the growth of Digital Rights Management are lack of supporting software and hardware infrastructure, and the fear of driving away present and potential customers and re-bills by "locking" your video content.

Other than all the usual permutations, such as providing free clips on a limited trial basis, after which the user is asked for a password and locking video content with DRM to stop file sharing by a member, the following can also be applied:

• Content providers could lease content to web site owners based on DRM. Say a webmaster leases some content for a month - After 30 days, if the license is not renewed, then no user or visitor to the webmasters site will be able to view the clip.

• You could put out sample video clips with a popup of your web site included. Someone downloads the clip, he can see the clip, but with pop-ups of any page you wish.

• Sponsors could give out DRM video content to affiliates requiring them to convert at a particular minimum ratio for each clip to keep it active.

I could come up with an unending list, but I'm sure you get the idea and the benefits of using DRM, and why it's going to be the future.

Problems With DRM
There are quite a few creases which need some heavy ironing to get DRM accepted by the industry and by the public. Most prominent being lack of Internet bandwidth to complete the DRM verification process. Also, Open Source advocates see this as one more sword in Microsoft's heavy armor being used against them. More pertaining to the adult industry, webmasters are worried about a fall in membership and re-bills on account of the user not being able to keep the content he's already paid for.

To sum it up, Digital Rights Management is going to be an integral part of media content delivery, at most in a few years' time. Take it or leave it, it's your choice. Once the heavy arm of the Justice Department gets behind this, it will be almost impossible to stop the juggernaut of Microsoft and the US Government. What is badly needed is an open debate on the best way to adapt this technology and its benefits, without damaging any business prospects.