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What is DRM?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is essentially a software lock on digital media files, which prevents the owner of the content from doing certain things—like playing songs or movies on different devices or copying them.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is essentially a software lock on digital media files, which prevents the owner of the content from doing certain things—like playing songs or movies on different devices or copying them. DRM is a double-edged sword as copyright holders claim that it is the only way to protect their copyright, while consumer advocates say DRM is anticonsumer.

For example, songs bought from Apple’s iTunes store are wrapped with Apple’s ‘Fairplay’ DRM, which means that they can only be played on Apple iPods. While this has undoubtedly protected copyright, it has also given Apple a lion’s share of the digital audio hardware and software market. However, caught off-guard by immense consumer activism on the DRM front, all major music labels have now relented and DRM-free music is available on several large music websites, including iTunes. However, iTunes is still not available in India.

Kushan Mitra