Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Rights Management (DRM) covers a variety of technologies
that are employed in
the control of access rights to information and various media
such as e-books, music, movies, software and digital
By controlling access rights (the rights of a user to access
view or utilize the media), sharing of the media can be
controlled to regulate licensing and unauthorized
redistribution. Such control can be applied for the purpose
protecting copyright or intellectual property, commercial or
military security and compliance to privacy regulations.
DRM solutions typically consist of
security measures and are applied according to authorized group level
governed by database records that determine the correct policy
to apply to each file and individual user. The security
mechanizations and rights database records are typically
protected by a cryptographic layer that is usually comprised of the
most secure encryption methods of the day.
The use of DRM has been controversial. While its users argue that it is necessary for copyright holders to protect their livelihood, the public who generally wants everything for free, opposes anything that gets in the way and strongly supports such opponents as the Free Software Foundation. Unfortunately, this is mostly comprised of people who have never had an original thought and depend on an employer or others’ ideas for their living.
Because DRM is designed to prevent plagiarism, the Electronic
Frontier Foundation and other opponents that are incapable of
creating new ideas and innovation, conveniently consider DRM
systems to be anti-competitive practices. Just who and what resources are behind the cracks can be mind
boggling when one hears the irony that Microsoft recently awarded a
Russian software developer with a gold partner shield -- when
their most recent achievement was the development of software
that cracks PDF password protection.
As a consequence of the all-in war against
protecting one's livelihood, all widely-used DRM systems have been
targeted and most have been circumvented. Millions of dollars
has gone into the research and development of restricting the
copying of audio-visual media but without proprietary
equipment to record and play the media, nothing can be 100%
Digital documents in their normal format can be easily copied
and exported from the workplace, both physically and
electronically. Printed documents
can be kept secure if they can be kept away from photocopiers
and the original can be secured at all times. But most
documents today are in digital format and fewer get converted
to paper, making it more difficult to secure them.
Encryption can secure a document while in transit, but once the
password has been given out or when the document is decrypted, the
contents are no longer secure and can then be copied and redistributed
The DRM Solution
example of how DRM further enhances the security of an encrypted
document can be best explained by describing the process used
when accessing a CopySafe PDF document when DRM has been
When DRM is applied to CopySafe PDF documents, they cannot
shared or accessed by unauthorized users.
Each document can be encrypted with unique
requirements that other readers cannot influence. The
DRM solution used for CopySafe identifies
each user by their unique computer signature
to enable access to those approved by the
document author, and according to the
privileges allowed such as print, number of copies that can be printed, how many times the document can be opened, date after which the document will expire, and so on.
So, while copies can still be distributed, if DRM has been
applied to the document, then it can be most secure because the
end recipient will not have permission to access the document.
They will not even be able to open it! The only person who can
open that document will be the intended one.
Portability and Support
A common misunderstanding is that any document can be converted to DRM. Why this can never be true is that any document in its natural file format cannot be protected, even if it is viewable in its natural viewer (ie: Word for .doc, Excel for .xls, etc). The document needs to have policy added and then needs to be encrypted to ensure that the policy remains intact. So for each and every document type, one needs to use a custom viewer (ie, .doc files cannot be opened in Adobe Reader).
Of course it would be much more convenient
to have a single document reader and that is
possible if all types of documents can first
be converted to a common format. Most file
types including images, HTML, PowerPoint,
Excel and Word can easily be converted to
ArtistScope and DRM
Some ArtistScope solutions include DRM while others have allowed for the DRM provided by related solutions such as Content Management Systems (CMS).
Other solutions such as CopySafe Web and the
ArtistScope Site Protection System
(ASPS) do not include DRM as they are
usually used with CMS such as Drupal,
Joomla, Moodle and WordPress which already
have complex membership login and management
systems, and although user logins are not
considered secure DRM (because they can be
shared), those CMS can be modified easily to
include Computer Identification as a
discerning criteria for user access to
mission critical web sites.
ArtisBrowser, which is now
the only browser suitable for copy protected
web sites, is the perfect browser for DRM
web sites, because it can identify each
computer and create a unique signature for
them using an algorithm based upon their
hard drive serial number. This signature (ComputerID)
can then be passed as a server variable to
your web site scripts every time a web page