Web Extra: DRM: Turning Pirates into Distributors

Digital content control technologies used to be the sole domain of entertainment firms seeking to put digital locks on music, films and books, to protect them from being distributed illegally online. Now, though, companies across industries are looking at the technology—not so much to prevent stealing but to promote themselves to potential customers. CIO Insight Copy Chief Debra D’Agostino chatted recently with Ranjit Singh, an early pioneer of DRM technology, to talk about the new trend. What follows are excerpts of that interview.

Where is DRM in terms of acceptance?

There needs to be a standard for interoperability of rights management systems. And there also have been political and technological barriers. Take the political barriers. Many people don’t want their content to go out on the Internet.

The media companies have expectations that these technologies can protect their content forever. But there is no such thing as security forever, because there are just too many smart people and there is too much computing power available in the world to make those kinds of promises. Anyone who tells you that their digital content controls can protect content forever is probably not telling you the truth.

What these controls can do, however, is help you to choose the appropriate locks you need to put on the content you’re seeking to protect. This determination involves making decisions about the value of content to the corporation. It’s got to do with strategy as much as being clear with people what you can deliver.

From a technology vantage point, this whole issue of interoperability is key and, once again, there’s been a lot of effort to standardize content control processes, but people don’t want to have a disadvantage if another standard is adopted.

People are now looking to get value for their technology through IP, licensing or, say, charging someone a tenth of a penny each time they make an electronic print—what is called content metering. There’s also the idea that because you’re using my technology, you must give me a percentage of the value of the content that my technology is being used to protect.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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