Digital Rights Management
Also known as DRM, Digital Rights Management, is a form of technology that aims to control people’s access to music. This is a type of software installed in a device that prevents or limits the number of times a music file can be reproduced or shared to other portable music devices. Several content provider companies such as Apple, Sony, Nokia, Geetune and Microsoft have utilized Digital Rights Management as a means to limit the production of their creative materials.
Companies have recognized this as the only possible means to control the use and spread of their materials since they no longer have any other means of controlling them once they reach the hands of the users.
Hence, this was also the subject of a heated debate between music producers or record companies against music buyers. This then causes the question regarding rights to these music files that you have paid for arise.
Coverage of DRM
When browsing through songs on a given online music store library and you find a song you want, you are often asked to click on a “Buy Song” button. But with the introduction of the DRM technology, it would seem more like leasing a song and having partial access rights to it. Thus, if you subscribe to a leasing service, at least the rights are clearer.
Those music files purchased online using the “Buy Song” that are protected by DRM typically contain the following conditions:
*you are only allowed to access the songs in no more than 3 to 5 computers
*you are only allowed to make 2 to 7 copies of the playlist on a CD
Controversy Over DRM
Issues of music piracy, illegal download and transfer of songs has been the major problem facing record companies when it comes to the online music setup. Therefore, DRM seemed the best possible solution to ensure that people who were responsible for the production and creation of the music are well compensated for every use done on the track.
In modern times wherein a huge percentage of music purchases are done online, it could mean a tremendous loss for the music industry if all other unauthorized file transfers are not accounted for. Hence, users are placed in an odd position of whether all songs purchased were really their own, or is it as good as renting rights for using that music. Even with lack of ability to transfer those files for other users, it also omits the capacity to create back up copies for all your music files.
DRM can also be used to limit access to a song or an entire library by time. That is to say that the tracks will expire after some time, when your subscription is over. This will make more sense to people who wish to listen to a variety of songs without having to buy every single one that they like. Akin to renting, this model is beginning to take off in a big way in the USA and even in Asia.