Digital Rights Management (DRM)
In the exploding industry of movie downloading digital rights management (DRM) is a hot topic. Essentially DRM applications attempt to control and restrict the use of the content it is applied to. ADRM is also referred to as digital restriction management by organizations like the Free Software Foundation who contend that the technology restricts use of the material in a way that is not covered by copyright laws.
The simplest example of DRM is in the encryption technology used in making DVD of feature films. The idea is that when you buy a DVD of a movie, let’s say “The Godfather” you will not be able to copy the movies, the DRM encryption makes copying the film impossible unless you can break this encryption. This means that someone who wants to make, for example, back-up copies of their own personally owned product that they have purchased is not possible. Many people feel that this is going beyond copyright law and is restricting legitimate use of their personal property.
The movie industry feels that they need these types of controls to prevent pirating of their products. The movie industry in particular is now becoming a huge part of the online downloading industry now. Due to improved internet speeds and the advancements in technology downloading movies has become a feasible endeavor. In the past it just took too long to download a movie, and it was taxing on the available technology. The prevalence of movie downloading has caused Hollywood to take notice and start to apply DRM techniques to the downloading environment.
The goal is to prevent the pirating of their movies, but in the eyes of internet rights protectionists these DRM restrictions go beyond the scope of the law. These people are trying to keep the internet a free and open forum, and feel that the DRM applications go too far.
The other simple fact here is that any DRM application by nature is beatable. It is very difficult to eliminate people’s ability to copy audio and visual material. Furthermore, the copying of a feature film in and of itself breaks no law. So in effect the DRM will be circumvented by sophisticated movie pirates, and legitimate people wanting to make a second copy of a purchased product will be unable to make their copy. The simple fact that every knows that you can beat any DRM attempt means that this attempt will really hurt the uniformed customer, and have little impact on the true pirating of movies and music.
DRM does not seem to be the answer that Hollywood is looking for. Instead, as the music industry has done, they will need to embrace movie download activities and work with the websites for customer friendly solutions.