Digital Rights Management - A current review

Arnab, Alapan and Hutchison, Andrew (2004) Digital Rights Management - A current review, CS04-04-00, Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

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Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems aim to create a secure framework to control access and actions that can be performed by users (both human and machine). DRM technologies have become very important in an increasingly networked world because it promises the owner of the file persistent control over the file even when the file leaves the owner's machine. It is not only useful in combating piracy (which is currently the main use of DRM systems) but also for protecting sensitive documents in enterprises. DRM systems can be seen to fit at various levels on a computer system - at an application layer, which is currently seen in applications like Apple iTunes; at an operating system level like Microsoft's Rights Management System (RMS) in Windows Server 2003 or at a hardware level like Content Scramble System (CSS) in DVD players. However, current DRM systems are mostly not interoperable and in most cases either do not provide all the requirements expected by the customer or do not provide a totally secure framework. DRM systems that are used for copyright enforcement give rise to many legal questions mostly revolving on the amount of control the copyright holder has over their creations once they have been distributed to the users. Many of the legal questions do not affect DRM systems for enterprises, but most of the technical requirements are the same. This report gives a broad overview of current state of DRM systems and their strengths and weaknesses. It starts by looking at the legal requirements of the system to satisfy both the right holders and the end consumers. We then discuss the structure of DRM systems, their characteristics and how well they satisfy the legal requirements. Finally we review three types of DRM systems and how well they satisfy the requirements desired in a DRM system.

Item Type: Technical report
Uncontrolled Keywords: DRM, Digital Rights Management, REL, Rights Management
Subjects: Social and professional topics > Professional topics > Management of computing and information systems
Social and professional topics
Social and professional topics > Computing / technology policy > Intellectual property
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Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2004
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:35

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