How Does DRM Work?

by on September 27, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I just bought a new computer with Vista Home and am wondering is what Digital rights management technology does? I am also wondering if I download torrents if my IP address will get sent to the RIAA due to this new DRM.

A: Digital Rights Management (DRM) is any technology that controls access to media or information based on copyright restriction. Digital Video, Music, and eBooks are most commonly managed with DRM technology. In order to play or use any item that is protected by DRM, you need to own the rights to use it. For instance, most music purchased through the iTunes Music Store is controlled via Apple’s Fairplay DRM. In order to play these items, you must provide your login credentials for the iTunes Music Store as authorization. You are also only able to play these items on a limited number of iPods and computers. If you have downloaded any items protected by DRM that you do not have the rights to use, you will be unable to play them.

If you have been downloading a lot of items that you do not own licenses to via Torrent sites, using them places you in violation of their respective License Agreements. It stands to reason that if you were reported to the authorities, software companies, RIAA, or MPAA, you could be in a substantial legal trouble. To avoid this, you should investigate purchasing licenses for the software you have downloaded, as well as purchasing legitimate copies of any movies or music you have downloaded.