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Timothy from IL asks:

I ran into the letters DRM the other day and I have no idea what they mean. Can you help?

DRM is short for Digital Rights Management and it mainly deals with copyright protection issues on CDs, DVDs, etc. DRM is the technology that publishers, who are the copyright owners, use to control the access of their data, including software, music, movies and some hardware. As I said before, DRM is associated with copyright protection and also technical protections measures. Both of these technologies work to secure the access of digital media and they both work in reference to the DRM design.

There are other types of DRM as well. One in particular is Enterprise Digital Rights Management (E-DRM). This type doesn’t work so much with controlling digital media, but it’s more on the side of corporate documents, such as Word, PDF, TIFF and AutoCAD files. E-DRM subscribers include Microsoft, Adobe and EMC Corporation. There are also some open source companies that take advantage of it as well.

The biggest thing that surrounds DRM is the controversy over it. Obviously, the music distributors and broadcasting companies object to any sort of copying of the music or whichever data they’re working with. On the other hand, the consumers (you!) think otherwise. Some people think that if they pay their own money to buy the CDs or the DVDs, they should be able to do what they want with them.

If you try to copy any digital media, you may run into some problems, depending on the programs you use. For example, the digital media player software you use, like Windows Media Player, etc. Although copyright protection is making a bigger scene these days than in the past, it just depends on what type of media you buy to know how many problems you’ll run into. There are also programs out there today that help you get past the copyright restrictions, but all of that just makes the controversy rise even higher.

DRM is mainly used in connection with the entertainment industry, but it’s making its way to other media types as well. Even stores like iTunes and e-books have placed DRM restrictions on their material. It’s so easy to duplicate data these days and everyone has to try and keep their information safe. I guess that’s what it all comes down to.

It is one’s own opinion, but be careful what you do when working with DRM protection. Be careful not to dig yourself into a copyright hole!